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Archive for the ‘Alek Lotoczko’ Category

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.

UPDATE

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.

“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
Wednesday
. 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.

Every thing is a social network now!”. Leo Laporte.

If you put a new garbage can on Hal Street, within an hour its gona have 150 friends!” Merlin Mann

Both from on MacBreak Weekly 25th June.

“Wikipedia represents something like 100 million hours of thought while Americans alone spend 100 million hours each weekend just watching TV adverts.”
Clay Shirky

Thanks to David Tebbutt (iWR) for this quote and the title of this post.

On Thursday of this week, I attended the Atlassian User Group meeting in London. Here are my rough notes on the proceedings:

Atlassian now have over 11,000 customers. They will open their European office before the autumn. It will be in Amsterdam.

Josh Wold will move from London to Amsterdam. They have a new person in London: Michael Studman.

Turnover is now 35m USD and has been doubling each year.

Confluence 2.8 has been released. It has improvements to the user interface with some good new themes, page ordering and navigation drag & drop. The SharePoint connector will be released very soon. It provides for single sign on (SSO), search across both platforms and ability to embed content from each other.

Atlassian divide their Confluence efforts into three camps:

1. Writer – improving the editor (rumors of an edit-in-MS word function).
2. Discovery – better tools to find info
3. Engine room – back end tech. improvements

Generally, Atlassian are working hard to closely integrate all of their products. The CROWD product (SSO) has rel. 1.4 which offers great user profile management with nested groups and provides a User Self-Management console.

JIRA Studio, a hosted (software) development platform and a on-demand development suite has been launched.

Atlassian see their imminent major challenges as: integration and large (organization) customers.

Sonali Vitarana from StatPro outlined her company’s use of Confluence to bolster their web based offerings (of financial stat. tools) to their external customers. SSO between Confluence and a number of other applications is accomplished by their utilization of Crowd the Atlassian authentication and user management product.

StartPro make use of an Adaptavist remote hosting contract to run their Confluence server. They utilize the Adaptavist Theme Builder product to brand and deliver an enhanced look & feel to their wiki. This gave them a greatly improved Dashboard with the ability to launch all of their other applications. They also utilize the Statistics plug-in from Adaptavist to give them greatly improved user/visitor stats.

A presentation on (JIRA) a highly configurable issue tracker from Atlassian mentioned new releases of the product, a plug-in called Green Hopper to allow the tool to be used for project management using SCRUM/Agile.

There are also a number of workflow/approval plug-ins available.

Adaptavist break-out session:

(Thanks to Dan Hardiker for the clarification post (see below))

The Dashboard’s Recently Updated panel is based on Smart Lists and utilizes the Lucene search / text indexing tool.

Adaptavist stated that the Usage Tracking Plugin ( formally known as the Activity Plugin) can have a negative performance impact where the wiki is dealing with a large number of page hits. The plugin also doesn’t work in a cluster environment.

There are similar alternatives such as the Reporting Plugin which is rather powerful, but can again have performance problems when scaling up to thousands of users generating millions of hits per day.

Adaptavist offer an alternative, the (FOSS) statistics plugin which is built to scale up to cope with billions of hits.

A very interesting video on demand site that runs entirely on Confluence: parleys