Confluence is a team collaboration software. Written in Java and mainly used in corporate environments, it is developed and marketed by Atlassian. Confluence is sold as either on-premises software or as software as a service.
Atlassian released Confluence 1.0 on March 25, 2004, saying their purpose was to build "an application that was built to the requirements of an enterprise knowledge management system, without losing the essential, powerful simplicity of the wiki in the process."
In recent versions, Confluence has evolved into part of an integrated collaboration platform, and has been adapted to work in conjunction with JIRA and other Atlassian software products: Bamboo, Clover, Crowd, Crucible, and FishEye.
In 2014, Atlassian released Confluence Data Center to add high availability with load balancing across nodes in a clustered setup.
[needs update] The book Social Media Marketing for Dummies considers Confluence an "emergent enterprise social software" that is "becoming an established player." Wikis for Dummies describes it as "one of the most popular wikis in corporate environments," "easy to set up and use," and "an exception to the rule" that wiki software search capabilities don't work well.
eWeek cites as new features in version 4 the auto-formatting and auto-complete, unified wiki and WYSIWYG, social network notifications and drag and drop integration of multimedia files. Use cases include basic enterprise communication, collaboration workspaces for knowledge exchange, social networking, Personal Information Management and project management. German newspaper Computerwoche from IDG Business Media compares it to Microsoft SharePoint and finds it "a good starting point" as a platform for social business collaboration, while SharePoint is better suited to companies with more structured processes.
Confluence includes set up CSS templates for styles and formatting for all pages, including those imported from Word documents. Built in search allows queries by date, the page’s author, and content type such as graphics.
The tool has add-ons for integration with standard formats, with a flexible programmable API allowing expansion. The software is relevant as an outline tool for requirements, that can be linked to tasks in the JIRA issue tracker by the same company.
From version 4.0, Confluence no longer supports a wiki markup language. This has led to a sometimes-heated discussion from some of the previous versions' users who regret the change. In response, Atlassian has provided a source code editor as a plugin, which allows advanced users the ability to edit the underlying XHTML-based document source. However, although the new source markup is XHTML-based, it is not XHTML compliant.
Additionally, wiki markup can be typed into the editor and Confluence's autocomplete and auto-format functionality converts the wiki markup to the new format in real time. After this real-time conversion, content can never be edited as wiki markup again.
There cannot be two pages with the same title within the same namespace, even if they have different parents. This might prove to be a problem when Confluence is meant to be used as a documentation solution with repetitive titles.
There is no standard way of adding captions to images, there are only workarounds.
We refer to the Confluence storage format as 'XHTML-based'. To be correct, we should call it XML, because the Confluence storage format does not comply with the XHTML definition.