Three years ago, we launched a public facing question and answer community, Atlassian Answers, built on heavily customized open source software to replace our old community forums. After witnessing the runaway growth and success of the site, and hearing requests from our users for the software that powered it, we decided to build a Q&A platform ourselves that could be used in the enterprise. At Atlassian Summit 2013, we realized that vision with the launch of the Confluence Questions beta – a new Confluence add-on that unlocks powerful Question-and-Answer style knowledge sharing within the enterprise.
Our next challenge was to power Atlassian Answers, the site that inspired Confluence Questions, on the new platform. As of Atlassian Summit 2014, we’ve come full circle with a complete migration, less than 12 months after launching the product in beta.
A better experience
As a long time user of Atlassian Answers, I’m very excited to access the power of the Confluence editor when asking and answering questions! Answers will be richer than before with code snippets, images, videos, @ mentioning other users and all the other formatting options available in Confluence. As Confluence Questions continues to grow and mature as a product, Atlassian Answers too will continue to become a more useful and effective resource for our customers, with the public site helping to inform our development of new features.
All your data, no downtime
Using Confluence’s REST API, we were able to migrate 200,000 users accounts, 75,000 questions and 30,000 Atlassian Swag Store vouchers to Confluence Questions from Answers’ previous open source platform. By putting the legacy Answers system into a read-only mode, we were also able to leave the old system up and running, allowing organic searches and referrals to continue to hit the existing content while everything got moved over to the new system.
The next step for Answers
Running Answers on Confluence Questions is a great testament to the rapid maturity of the product. Answers is Atlassian’s third most-trafficked web site, serving almost one million page views per month. With some minor tweaks to our Confluence server’s configuration, we are now getting roughly equivalent performance compared to the old system, and we’re doing it with a couple of gigabytes less of memory! Things certainly have come a long way since late 2011 when we first launched Atlassian Answers to replace our old forums technology.
One of the core strategies the Atlassian support team has employed in order to handle the massive growth in our customer count has been to invest more heavily in self-service and proactive support technologies. Answers has been our biggest and most successful investment so far, and future investment will bring even more improvements.
I can only imagine what 2015 will bring!