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With every Confluence release we try to squeeze in as many “small improvements” as possible. Confluence 3.5 is no different. While there are some BIG new features on the way – we’ll keep those secret for now – there are also some nice little ones that we’ll let out of the bag.

What is a “Small Improvement”?

In each Confluence release cycle, a new Small Improvements Team is formed. Their goal – tackle some of the smaller feature requests and UI improvements that make Confluence look better, feel better, and expose existing functionality better.

There are no game-changers here, but plenty of things you would just expect from a well-crafted, mature product. When you add them all up, these small, incremental improvements make a big difference.

Past Examples

Handy Hints in the Rich Text Editor

Over the past year we’ve made a lot of improvements to the Rich Text Edtor. In Confluence 3.2 we introduced a new feature to make creating rich content faster than ever – Autocomplete. To help end-users discover and start using this this innovative, time-saving feature we made a small improvement to the editor – handy hints are displayed along the bottom of the editor, including common keyboard shortcuts and autocomplete tips.

confluence-editor-hints.jpg

Making Tiny Links More Accessible

A few of releases back we introduced the Link to this Page Dialog to make it easier for user’s link to a Confluence page from another location. In Confluence 3.4 the Small Improvements team added a keyboard shortcut to make this dialog even more accessible – press ‘k’.

What’s Coming in 3.5?

1. Making Shortcuts more Discoverable

Confluence 3.4 brought with it a slew of keyboard shortcuts to help you create content, and navigate around Confluence faster than ever. In 3.5 we’ve taken things a step further and added a tip to dialogs that have keyboard shortcuts to improve their discoverability.

link-to-this-page-shortcut.jpg

2. Avatars Get a Facelift

Let’s face it, the avatars in Confluence are dated. They needed a makeover and that’s what they got. This new set of avatars will ship in Confluence 3.5.

new-confluence-avatars.jpg

3. Giving Panel Titles Some Character

I know Stafford Vaughan will be excited for this one. Come Confluence 3.5 you’ll be able to specify the color of the title text in a panel using the Panel Macro. Panels are an important visual tool to improve the readability of a Confluence page – providing balance and distinction between blocks of content.

change-panel-title-color.jpg

4. Include Blogs in Pages

The Include Page Macro is an essential feature for technical writers since it allows them to re-use content often-used content across their technical documentation that lives in Confluence. In Confluence 3.5 the usefulness of this macro will be expanded to blogs, allowing you to embed blog posts across pages and spaces.

include-page-macro-blog-support.jpg

Much, Much More to Come

We’ve already talked about the huge improvements to LDAP and Active Directory integration that are coming in Confluence 3.5, but I can promise you there’s A LOT of new features we haven’t leaked just yet so stay tuned for more.

What’s been your most favorite small improvement?

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