So much of a team's knowledge goes into Confluence, but it can be hard to find later, especially if you didn't write the original page. We saw an opportunity to make that knowledge much more useful by building search that's super-fast and a little personalised.
What it does
Thunkfluence is a Chrome extension that indexes your Confluence content in your browser and then provides a lightning fast as-you-type search. Instant results make it really easy to refine queries on the fly to locate a page you're looking for, or explore what other people have contributed.
Thunkfluence knows who wrote what and finds people as well as pages. Results include a few authorities who have authored the most content relevant to your query. So if you can't find the knowledge you're looking for, you know exactly who to ask – super useful.
Finally, Thunkfluence keeps track of the pages you work with and keeps them just one click away. When someone else updates your pages, you'll see right away.
How we built it
Thunkfluence is a pure Chrome extension. There's no server or back-end so all the data stays on your computer. This design is naturally secure, an innovative alternative to other third-party enterprise search engines.
Thanks to the Confluence REST API, we didn't need a Confluence server add-on either, so it works out of the box for both Cloud and Server without your Confluence administrator doing anything.
Challenges we ran into
Some people have a lot of content in Confluence, so indexing it all in browser can be a bit of a resource hog. We've found a balance by indexing most of the recent data, and checking with Confluence for any extra matches (via API).
Unfortunately Chrome extensions don't have very fine-grained permissions, so even though Thunkfluence is pretty secure because it's all on your computer, we have to ask for more permissions than we need in order to get the smoothest user experience. None of your data goes anywhere, though.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Indexing in your browser is a novel idea and we're proud of the result. We had to do some complex plumbing between the pop-up UI and a background page to get everything as fast as possible, but it was worth it.
We’re also proud of improving relevance of search results by making them more personalised. It’s still basic, but we’re excited about the possibilities of a personalised index built just for you.
What we learned
We learned that Chrome extensions are pretty powerful, and a lot more could be done. The natural speed and security from doing things in the browser are really neat.
What's next for Thunkfluence
We're still working on making Thunkfluence even more personalised, surfacing relevant pages that other people have created, and increasing personal relevance of search results. Because Thunk runs in your browser, we can build an index that's best for you.