Sponsored Development: Three Ways to Enhance InPlace Editor

October 13, 2015
#Confluence
6 min

StiltSoft is a team of Atlassian Experts providing high-quality development and consulting services. Attention to details, in-depth planning, quick and polite responses and great support are their key characteristics. The development of a new feature in their InPlace Editor add-on was very professional with a valuable result. Thanks for your work!

 

Release of InPlace Editor 2.10.2 and 2.11.2 has been coordinated with EPS Software Engineering AG and Verwaltungsrechenzentrum AG St.Gallen companies who wanted to sponsor the prioritized development of several features and enhancements for our add-on. Both companies specialize in software engineering, development and administration of powerful computer science services. Extensive usage of Confluence is a must for them, so the level of efficient collaboration in Confluence depends on many factors, and one of them is quick information accessibility.

InPlace Editor for Confluence is the right tool that allows you to quickly and easily edit long Confluence pages in parts separated by editable heading levels. But, unfortunately, the available features were not enough for our customers to rapidly edit page sections in Confluence. So the customers requested the following features:

  • The first feature is a capability to define the space specific configuration for InPlace Editor add-on.
  • The second feature included customization of the generic add-on behavior in such a way that adjacent heading levels that are disabled for opening with InPlace Editor were not shown in the editor when opening the editable headings.
  • And the third feature is a capability to select individual heading levels for global and space-specific configurations.

Issues to Address

The main issues that the customers have with the add-on were the following ones:

  1. global configuration of the add-on that was propagated for all Confluence spaces. The customers wanted flexibility in add-on configuration, so every space administrator will be able to set the space specific configuration required to the needs of users of this space.
  2. showing too many headings of lower levels in the InPlace Editor form. The add-on included all the heading levels disabled for individual editing and showed them with the heading of the higher level in the pop-up form. On some pages, there was included too much text in InPlace Editor form so it was quite irritating for working with large data amounts especially with instructional texts.
  3. level ranges. The existing mechanism of setting level ranges was quite inconvenient for situations when the administrator needed to have editable headings of the first, second and forth levels. It was not possible to do this in old versions of the add-on.

We have discussed all these issues with customers and provided description of the solutions that we can offer to them. Once all the questions were agreed we proceeded to development of these features.

Setup of Individual Heading Levels

We have added a capability to select individual heading levels that should be editable. Now you can create the flexible configuration instead of using ranges of heading levels. This increases the flexibility and adaptability of the add-on to your workflow in Confluence.

New Space-Specific Configuration

Now you have a capability to set up space specific configuration for each space of you Confluence. If your company is comprised of multiple teams working in different ways with Confluence, you can easily tailor settings of InPlace Editor for each Confluence space.

The space administrator has also a capability to revert the space-specific configuration to the global settings.

Exclusion of Heading Levels for Showing in InPlace Editor Form

We have added the Show only selected headings option for both global and space-specific configuration. All the disabled heading levels with the undergoing text paragraphs will not be displayed in InPlace Editor form when opening the editable heading levels.

inplace_editor_show_only_selected_headings

We at StiltSoft want to thank our supporters for their willingness and help in improving our InPlace Editor add-on. Close communication with the customers allowed us to better understand their actual needs and requirements, so we were able to easily add the missing features into the add-on. If you want to prioritize development of some feature in InPlace Editor or any other add-on of ours, feel free to contact us.You can find details on the already completed sponsored features on our website.

Atlassian Confluence Look & Feel Tricks: Adding Info to the Page Header and Footer

March 25, 2014
#How To#Confluence
5 min
Edit long Confluence pages by parts with InPlace Editor.  Check the demo and try for free.

If you ever wondered how to share some important info with all Confluence users, here’s the answer – try using headers and footers. You can rest assured that a message added to the header will be read by everyone who opens Confluence. And keeping stuff like useful links in the footer is more productive than searching for it in Confluence or in bookmarks.

Follow the steps below to try this out. Please, note that we assume that you’re using the standard theme on Confluence 5.4. Other themes have their own ways of customizing headers and footers. And the code we provide here can be slightly different for other Confluence versions.

Ok, let’s say we want to make some global warning for everyone working with Confluence. To do that, we need to go to Confluence Admin – Look&Feel – Custom HTML and add something like this to the At beginning of the BODY section:

<div>
    <p>
        <span></span>
        <strong>Hey guys!</strong>
    </p>
    <p>Confluence is going to be down from 4pm.</p>
</div>

Save the changes and see how it looks like in Confluence:

Header

If you want to make the message look different from this example, you can choose various message styles in Atlassian AUI.

Being a less prominent part of a pafe than the header, the footer can, however, contain important info you want always be at hand, for example, a privacy policy or help links. Although Atlassian provides some recommendations on changing footers, they involve editing Confluence files and system restarting.

We’d suggest an easier way to change the footer. Again, in Confluence Admin – Look&Feel – Custom HTML, add the code for the Privacy Policy and Support links (lines 4 and 5) to the At end of the BODY section:

<script type="text/javascript">
AJS.toInit(function ($) {
    AJS.$("div#footer .footer-body").prepend("<ul id='footer-custom-links'/>");
    AJS.$("ul#footer-custom-links").append("<li class='noprint'><a href='https://stiltsoft.com'>Privacy Policy</a></li>",
                                           "<li class='noprint'><a href='https://stiltsoft.desk.com/customer/portal/emails/new'>Support</a></li>");
});
</script>

And your footer will look like this:

footer

Please, note that according to the Atlassian EULA you can’t remove the Powered by Atlassian Confluence line from the footer. So be careful about this when experimenting.

For other our posts about Confluence customization, see here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned for future hints and tricks.

Three Ways to Deal With Long Pages in Atlassian Confluence

March 18, 2014
#Confluence
6 min

Making changes to Confluence pages is a pretty straightforward task thanks to a user-friendly Atlassian Confluence editor. However, as implied by this highly voted feature request, many people find it annoying to edit really long pages.

As pages get more complex, scrolling back and forth and hunting for the part you want to edit can be pretty tiresome. Moreover, if someone else is editing the same page simultaneously with you, you’ll have to deal with resolving editing conflicts.

The general idea of solving this problem is to divide a page into several parts and edit them separately. In this post we’ll show some tools that can help you tackle this issue by so called sectional editing.

Include Macro

First solution is easy and doesn’t require installing any third-party tools. You need to compose a page of several shorter children pages that can be edited one by one with the macro Include Page that comes preinstalled with Confluence. On your main page locate Include Page in the list of default Confluence macros:

include macro

Insert the macro for every page you want to include. When you’re done you main page in the Edit mode will look like this:

include macro edit mode

Now, we want to make links that will take us to the Edit mode for every page so that you could quickly start editing a separate page. To do that, go to your children pages’ editors and copy the link from the browser address bar. Then go back to the main page, create a web-link called, for example, Edit and paste the address. It’s important to create a web link, because otherwise Confluence will convert an Edit mode link to a View mode link, and this is not what we want.

Create web links for all children pages and you’ll get something like this:

include macro links

In the View mode you now can click the edit links to jump directly to a page editor.

include macro view mode

This approach, however, has a couple of drawbacks. First, you need to create page sections manually and changing the page layout can be tricky. Second, every time you go to a children page editor you need to navigate back to your main page manually.

Zen Foundation Theme

This last problem is perfectly solved by using the Zen Foundation theme. It’s a custom theme that lets you easily create page sections and is full of other nice features like a drag&drop layout and flexible permission control.

zen theme

But again, you need to create sections manually, and unless you’re a very small team, the prices can scary you off.

InPlace Editor

A cheaper and much easier solution is our InPlace Editor. If your page already contains headings, after installing InPlace Editor you’ll see small icons next to each of them.

editing headings in Confluence

Clicking the icon takes you to the native Confluence editor where you can edit only this section alone. Also, if several people are editing different sections of the same page at the same time, you avoid the risk of editing conflicts, since all changes made in different parts are merged. In a rare case when someone is editing the same section as you are, the standard Confluence merge mechanism is invoked upon saving the changes.

InPlace Editor works out of the box and doesn’t require complex setting up. However, it lets you activate the editor icons only for certain heading levels and disable the add-on completely for selected spaces.

inplace editor settings

To make the editing process even more productive, it would be a good idea to use InPlace Editor along with the default macro Table of Contents. While the former lets you edit a page part, the latter is a nice way to get to this part.

table of contents in Confluence

You can try InPlace Editor in our Live Demo without installing it or generate a 30-day free trial license and evaluate it on your Confluence.

Atlassian Confluence Look & Feel Tricks: Turning Off Table Sorting

February 4, 2014
#How To#Confluence
3 min
Edit long Confluence pages by parts with InPlace Editor.  Check the demo and try for free.

In the previous Confluence How To posts, we focused on the look of Confluence proper. And now we will show you what can be done with your content. Specifically, we are going to share a couple of tricks that can be useful for turning off table sorting in Confluence. By default, there’s no standard way to do that for certain tables which can be painful since some tables don’t make any sense once sorted.

Confluence provides the way to disable the Confluence Sortable Tables plugin though. However, this could be overkill, since sometimes sorting may come in handy.

One of the workarounds might be removing the standard header row and mimicking it with a highlighted first row with bold text in it.

However, if you need the standard header row for some reasons, you may want to insert an empty row right after it and merge all cells in this row. This will prevent the table from being sorted. In fact, if your table contains any merged cells, it can’t be sorted, here we added a dummy row for a nice table look and data consistency.

Another solution might be to add an empty column and merge all its cells with the column before  it. Your table will look like the original one and the number of rows won’t change, however, you should have time and patience for merging cells for each row, so this makes sense only for short tables.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned for future hints and tricks.

Atlassian Confluence Look & Feel Tricks: Tweaking Page Titles

January 20, 2014
#How To#Confluence
3 min
Edit long Confluence pages by parts with InPlace Editor.  Check the demo and try for free.

In on of the previous posts here we showed you how to change the look of the Confluence homepage. Now let’s see what can be done about normal pages. Below is one of our Documentation pages. What we want to do is change its title font and get rid of the line showing page changes (byline).

To do that, select Look and Feel in Space Tools  on the space sidebar and go the Stylesheet tab.

To change the page title font to Tahoma and increase its size to 50px, we add the following lines to the space stylesheet. Note that space stylesheets override the global stylesheet and the changes made in a space stylesheet apply for all pages in this space.

h1#title-text {
 font-size: 50px;
 font-family: tahoma;
}

Ok, now we want to hide the byline and make it pop up only when hovered over. For this, add the following:

.page-metadata ul {
 visibility: hidden;
}
.page-metadata:hover ul {
 visibility: visible;
}

After saving the stylesheet and reloading our page, we get the page that looks like this.

The font has changed and there’s no visible byline unless we move the cursor over it.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned for future hints and tricks.