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Euan Semple made a post today about our award. This has created quite a lot of interest in the underlying technology used by our News Room so I thought I would post about it:

Really it is just confluence out of the box. My college Rupert Shanks created a standard global space and gave it a nice theme using the Adaptavist Theme builder.

Confluence RSS feeds are made available which scoop up all news posts with a certain label like Liner (our container business) Logistics, RORO (Roll-On Roll-Off Car Carrier) etc. These feeds are then embedded within sections of the news room home page for visiting staff members to view.

The feeds are also created in Feedburner generates some javascript that we embed in the news room page(s) so the subscriber can enter their email address to sign-up to the feed and receive all new posts via email (still preferred by much of our workforce).

We bought a rather expensive licence from a news corporation that gives us the rights to redistribute industry articles from various news wires so the feeds are a blend of internal and external items relevant to a particular division of our company.

We were keen to be able to measure take-up so we enabled Google Analytics from the start and these metrics are supplemented with those provided by Feedburner.

The enterprise wiki that I deployed and continue to support and develop at NYK has just won an Intranet Innovation Award.  The NYK wiki uses the Confluence platform, a product supplied by the Atlassian company.

We won a gold award in the Communication and Collaboration category for a particular function of our wiki called the NYK News Room.

The annual international awards are run by Step Two Designs, an Australian outfit, and NYK ranks alongside other big name winners like IBM, AEP and SunGuard.

Although I’m responsible for the technical aspects of this deployment and for promoting adoption (working with our corp. comms. guys), credit must also go to my colleague Rupert  Shanks for conceiving the News Room idea and then implementing it. Well done Rupert!

The News Room utilises the basic labelling (tagging), macros and RSS functions found in the out-of-the-box Confluence product, together with additional JavaScript and an external web-based RSS feed burning service.

Details of the award are here: and here:

As predicted in my post of January 19th, Team and Concepts Limited, have discontinued sales of EditGrid (though they state that they will continue to support existing customers).

I learnt today that Atlassian will be disabling the EditGrid server used by the Confluence Enterprise Hosted product on March 30th thereby cutting-off customer’s usage of this feature.

My advice to hosted Confluence customers is to start the switch away from the EditGrid macro now (switch to the Office Connector {Viewfile} macro). If you are not already on Confluence V2.10 you should start the upgrade process now!

Good luck.

I have it on good authority that Team and Concepts Limited, the owners of EditGrid, are considering the discontinuation of this excellent on-line spreadsheet tool.

Atlassian Confluence-hosted product users such as NYK Line, The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo of America, Accenture and Illinois Wesleyan University, face losing this highly important functionality altogether, should they attempt to move their wiki from the Atlassian hosting (where EditGrid is included for free) to in-house servers. Team and Concepts are refusing to sell new licenses of the EditGrid plugin for Confluence. They are even refusing to grant their usual 30 day evaluation license until they reach a decision regarding whether to continue with EditGrid or not.

I wonder if those who already license the Confluence plugin will be left in the lurch regarding support and upgrades, or even worse, could we see a situation where those who rely on the vendor’s EditGrid server in Hong Kong see this service interrupted, rendering the tool and their investment useless?

The situation is made worse by the uncertainty. A contact of mine recently tracked down P K Chan of Team & Concepts Ltd via his cell phone. All that he would say is that they were not certain whether they would continue with EditGrid or not. In the mean time they would not sell the product or grant evaluations until a decision had been reached. It is my experience that the company does not return phone calls, respond to e-mail or to requests made via their website.

At the company I am currently assisting with the migration of an enterprise wiki from Atlassian Hosted to an in-house server. I am converting all instances of EditGrid usage to the [Confluence] built-in Office Connector tool. This seems to work very well though I am a little worried about data loss during concurrent edits of workbooks and the lack of the usual version tracking we normally expect from wiki pages. I aim to explore the use of Office Connector in an imminent blog post.

Come on Team & Concepts, you need to act fast to remedy this unhappy situation.


As a result of Atlassian’s Jens Schumacher’s comment (below) I felt a clarifying update was appropriate incase readers miss the comment:

1. Even if EditGrid stops working, you will of course be able to access any spread-sheet (attached to a wiki page) using the Office Connector or download and edit the files in Excel etc.

2. The EditGrid server that drives the spreadsheets in Confluence Team and Enterprise Hosted is actually hosted by Atlassian so these customers will not lose EditGrid functionality should EditGrid pull the plug on their server.

3. Versioning: Jens says: “You will still be able to take advantage of attachment versioning using the Office Connector”. I can;t see how this is so. Jens have I missed some configuration step? When I make an edit to a spreadsheet using EditGrid, prior versions of the spread sheet attachment can be accessed/viewed/downloaded etc. via the Page Attachments view (by clicking the side pointing arrowhead to the left of the attachment). Using the office connector to edit the workbook (in Excel) does not result in a new version being saved. Instead WebDAV is used to serve up the attachment as if Excel were opening it from a local drive. After editing and saving the View Attachments page there is only one version of the attachment so changes within the workbook cannot be tracked.

Data Loss

Whenever multiple people happen to be editing the same workbook using EditGrid the product seems to do an excellent job of saving every person’s changes. When I did a simple test using Excel via Office Connector changes made by person A were obliterated when person B did a file-save moments later.

I believe that Atlassian may have a enhancement ticket open to improve these two behaviours of the office connector. I feel that even with these two factors the Office Connect is a superb addition to Confluence and should be used.

I too hope that EditGrid will continue with their first class product.

I am excited to be attending the Future of Creative Technologies conference tomorrow at The Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT), De Montfort University, Leicester.

I don’t often mix with academics or get to hear free thinkers such as these, but this crowd also have a very grounded focus on the small enterprise.
My imagination is sure to be fired many times during the day and I expect that to inspire a few blog posts, so please check back here over the next few days.

Roughly 15 years ago Ward Cunningham started it all with his Wiki
Wiki Web editor. For the next twelve years the wiki was the preserve
of the techie. It was used by teams of developers to comment about code changes and features to be incorporated into the software they were building.

For the last three years people like me have been pushing the virtues
of the wiki for use outside the IT department. Enterprise wikis like
Atlassian’s Confluence make this possible by providing friendly
editors and integration with office suites like Microsoft Office.

Now Beth Stackpole spotlights in this Computerworld article the growth of enterprise wiki use within the IT department as a whole. When I spoke to Beth, I was keen to talk of all the non-IT business uses the Confluence tool was fulfilling but she only wanted to focus on IT use!

Funny how things often go full circle.

“Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

– Winston Churchill

Could one say the same about IT departments?

Thanks to the Radio 4 Today program for bringing this apt quote to my attention.

Stewart author of WikiPatterns and ex-wiki evangelist at Atlassian is in the UK this week to give a couple of workshops now that he has gone solo with his own consulting company.

The first of his sessions is a free (as far as I can tell) evening meeting on 3rd September at WuffleClub entitled Grow Your Wiki and the second, Effective Project Management Using a Wiki is the following morning at the same venue where the cost is a very reasonable 50 quid!

I am very excited to be attending the project management session as I have always felt the wiki was a perfect tool to supplement the more traditional PM tools like MS project. I explored with Mentor Group’s Peter Nightingale using a wiki for the change management and project configuration aspects of a project. I also have used the corporate wiki for project reporting: paste a good quality JPEG of a MS project GANT or PERT into a wiki page and then email the link (or better still rely on the RSS feed) to all interested parties. The recipients do not need to have MS project or any special file viewers and they can use the wiki’s functions to give feedback.

I will endeavor to blog late next week about Stewart’s workshop.

I was pleased to be able to assist with the re-launch of London Wiki
. After an absence of eight months I was able to work with David Terrar of Business 2.0 and WordFrame to organize a meeting, again at NYK. It took place on August 13th and all involved pleged to hold the meetings on a regular (every two
months) basis with the next on likely to be on October 1st. David’s account of the event can be found here.