The open nature of Confluence collaboration is great for project collaboration, reference documentation and team knowledge. But sometimes Confluence gets used for jobs where you need to produce documentation under a regulated environment or approval of some content. It could be a press release, some internal policies, or something quick like the submission for your Codegeist entry.

Confluence Server users already have the ability to set up reviews and approvals to improve the quality of their content with our Comala Workflows add-on. However we hadn't been able to offer a solution to Confluence cloud users that would meet our functional and user experience expectations. As the Atlassian connect framework has matured and evolved we can now provide this functionality with the Comala Approvals add-on for Confluence Cloud.

What it does

Comala Approvals assist users to maintain the expected quality and relevance of your Confluence documents with reviews and approvals. It allows you to assign approvers, check the approval status of your spaces and get approvals notifications directly in your team's HipChat room.

  • Include one or more reviewers to sign off on content
  • Define approvals and reviewers on a per page basis
  • Manage your documentation stages
  • Get approval notifications in HipChat
  • Review the approval status of your pages

How we built it

We've taken what we learnt from Workflows on Confluence server to build a brand new simplified interface with React. Our team already had experience building Atlassian connect add-ons on top of Node.js and the ACE framework and we have continued that with this new add on.

We've also devoted time on this build to improve the performance, using things like Redis caches, a CDN for static resources and client side tweaks to improve the user experience.

Challenges we ran into

The largest problem we faced was the Connect framework itself. The ways you can integrate with Confluence is limited compared to what is available in the server version.

The good news is that Atlassian has been working hard to provide more integration points within the framework and responding to requests for improvements. There is always more to do, but we think Atlassian Connect has advanced enough now that we can provide a solution that meets our customers' expectations.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

We assumed a risk of changing the technology in the client, moving our stack from Backbone/Underscore/Browserify into React/Webpack, and we're pleased to say it was great! Even with large experience building client rich UI's, we were faster and more productive: we dealt nearly all the time with business issues instead of technical issues.

What's next for Comala Approvals

This is just the 1.0 release, our work has just begun. Ultimately what we build next will be driven by user feedback. So let us know what you like/dislike about Comala Approvals and help make the next lot of features even better.

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