Today’s an auspicious day for Confluence fans – Confluence 2.9 is out in the wild, with a gaggle of new features, 140 resolved issues and two wickedly cool plug-ins: the Office Connector, which lets users edit Confluence pages with Microsoft Office and OpenOffice clients (free for all customers), and the SharePoint Connector, which allows SharePoint and Confluence to share content and generally get cozy with each other (available as a for pay add-on).

New in 2.9

Confluence 2.9 has a few important and targeted improvements:

  • Improved search: we’ve simplified the Search screen to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, and Confluence by default now searches across all spaces and object types (pages, news items, comments and more). Filtering results – by Space, object type, date or contributor – is a piece of cake.
  • Beautiful charts: we’ve radically refreshed the charting engine and the new charts generated by the Chart macro are simply gorgeous. Lots of formats and chart types are supported, and your friends will now ask if you’re a graphic designer in addition to a financial wizard.
  • Auto save: small but important enhancement to display a time stamp of the last saved draft right by the save button. No more wondering.
  • Build a Gallery: the improved Gallery macro helps you display a pictures sets visually on a page. Easy to use, and comes with a fancy lightbox to view individual photos.
  • Updated Demonstration Space: we added a ton of spit-and-polish to the demonstration space bundled within Confluence. The space includes simple, straightforward demonstrations of Confluence’s capabilities and an easy to follow tutorial for newbies.
  • 140 end user driven fixes and improvements: the dev team has been busy. There’s a complete list of all the other goodies here.

Introducing the Office Connector

Along with Confluence 2.9, today we announced the Office Connector, a completely sweet piece of integration magic. The Office Connector brings Confluence to the masses, and lets anyone participate in creating and editing Confluence pages just using Microsoft Word (or OpenOffice). It does some pretty slick things with Excel and PowerPoint too. In fact, ever heard of SlideShare? Well you could create SlideShare for your company using Confluence and the Office Connector. The technology for the Office Connector comes from Benryan Software, a plugin developer that Atlassian acquired in July, 2008.
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Here’s a video of the Office Connector in action:

SharePoint Connector goes into Production

And finally, we’re pleased to announce the official release of the SharePoint Connector. This connector basically allows Confluence to search across SharePoint TeamSites, and embed content from SharePoint TeamSites into Confluence pages. And conversely, the Connector includes two Confluence-specific WebParts that allows SharePoint to embed Confluence content into TeamSites. One WebPart displays a navigation tree view of a specific Confluence space, and the other displays specific content from a Confluence page (a chart, an image, a section, some text, you name it), or just the entire page. Check it out at http://www.atlassian.com/sharepoint.
Here’s a video of the SharePoint Connector in action:

More to come

These plug-ins complement the growing and powerful catalog of extensions to Confluence, made by some of the coolest new companies in the business, like Gliffy, Balsamic, Theme Builder, Approvals workflow Be sure to check those out as well.
Believe it or not, Confluence 3.0 is going to be even hotter. Stay tuned…
In the meantime, check out our press release for more details on Confluence 2.9

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