This post is about Confluence, a software by Atlassian.

Atlassian describes Confluence as an "open and shared workspace". This is a very general description which makes sense, because Confluence can be used for so many things. As an example, I use it for a website currently. The blog on that website looks like Confluence, whereas the homepage doesn't look like Confluence at all. I did hide everything related to Confluence there.
When I first heard of Confluence I remember the commonly used statement "Confluence is a wiki". So, a plattform for sharing knowledge like Wikipedia, but just in the context of a company or department. It is actually very suitable for using it as a wiki. The latest versions of Confluence come with a very nice looking user interfache, a modern appearance and contents can be displayed in a structured way on pages, which are placed in different spaces. Compared to some other internal company wikis I got to know so far I would prefer Confluence even because of its appearance and graphical display of contents. Now, if I would be asked what Confluence is and what it can be used for, I would name the following:

  • Wiki / Knowledge plattform
  • Documentation
  • Collaboration

For sure there are a lot of other fields of application as well. On some of them I surely will write in this blog in the future, maybe also negative examples as for some things Confluence is definitely not the right tool.
However, for the above listed fields of application it is exactly the right tool from my point of view. I would like to explain that with an example here. During my studies I worked as an intern at a large german automotive company. When I started I was instructed in my internship duties by my predecessor. He showed me a folder on the file system, where a MS Word document for each regular task was stored with a detailed step-by-step description and instruction. I read those during my first days and used them again from time to time if I wasn't sure how to do some specific tasks. Sometimes I also updated those documents if something changed or if additional information were required. Everything worked just fine in that way. However, if I imagine that all those information and instructions haven't been stored in word files on the file system, but would have been available in Confluence, this would have brought a lot of advantages.
I would have been able to search over all instructions at once if I was looking for certain key words or contents. Especially in such cases, where I was looking for something where I wasn't sure in which word file to search for it, this could have saved me a lot of time. Interns from other departments with the same tasks could have used those instructions easily as well. Getting the right information would be easier and comparable to websites. This way of getting information is well known from everyday life and thus it would have been a lot more intuitive.
For this example the advantages of Confluence compared to word files are most probably irrelevant as saving time for interns is not decisive for a company's success. However, in other areas this might be different. Especially compared to Microsoft Office, the Atlassian tools offer significant advantages, which I will describe in detail in some other blog posts.

In this post, I wanted to describe what Confluence is and what it - in general - can be used for. If you have any questions or comments to this topic, feel free to write me: