Confluence Databases initial impressions and improvement opportunities

Sean Blezard January 20, 2024

Now that I can finally use Confluence Databases, it is a faithful copy of what products like AirTable have been building for some time. It has the potential to be a great addition to the Atlassian platform.

Two immediate thoughts (more will follow as I explore it in more detail):

  1. The integration with Jira feels like it needs a lot more work (something I find myself saying frequently with regards to Confluence). You can manually add a Jira issue to a column but doing so doesn't have any effect on Jira - not even a backlink. I would expect this to create a new linking relationship between what I'm capturing in the row of the database table, and the Jira issue I'm including.
  2. The inclusion of the AirTable ability to choose how the database is viewed (card, table, board) introduces yet more product use-case confusion between Jira and Confluence (and Trello for that matter). I now have a 3rd tool to choose from when building tracking and work visualisation - and one that isn't tightly integrated with Jira.

More later

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Sean Blezard January 20, 2024

One of the cool features in the Jira macro for Confluence Cloud is the ability to open the Jira detail screen as a preview window in Confluence (although you have to hover and click to achieve this goal vs just clicking the link). I love the slick UX this creates. 
Screenshot 2024-01-20 at 19.58.02.png
Jira issues embedded in a database column don't get this option. The only option is to click to open a new tab (a Jira tab, of course). It's a shame to leave either tool to go to the other when peep and update is all you want to do.

Hopefully, this is on the product backlog for the beta development period.

Sean Blezard January 20, 2024

I created a Confluence page link column and linked it to an existing page, which works as I now expect, opening the linked page in a new tab. However, there was no backlink to say it came from my database.

 

It was a different experience when I used the same link column to create a whole new Confluence page. That page came pre-populated with a one-row table view at the top of the page. 

Screenshot 2024-01-20 at 20.12.27.png

This reminded me of the traditional Page Properties macro, and I can see this being a great way to add data and search richness to managed content.

Sean Blezard January 20, 2024

I hope, over time, this solution becomes more deeply entwined with Jira. I can imagine being able to link a Jira issue to a row in a database and then view and update the database columns straight from the Jira issue, effectively offering an extension of the traditional fields and screens of Jira records. 

Rebekka Heilmann _viadee_
Community Leader
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January 22, 2024

I have experimented with that feature as well and - to be honest - not really found a good use case yet.

Our users are still struggling with the tables in the "new" Editor experiencing and its limited features. We already looked for plugins but only found some that integrate Excel or make tables Excel like or some for sorting tables. Nothing that does more than sorting but less than Excel.
My hopes for Databases to at least cover some use cases were high and got disappointed.

I fully agree on the Integration aspect. Atlassian is throwing new features and products at us, but none of them are really integrated properly within the Atlassian cosmos. It's even worse for all the Jira Products and extensions.

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Alessandro Cristiano January 22, 2024

Hi @Rebekka Heilmann _viadee_ 

Alessandro from Ricksoft Team here.

During your research in regards to a better spreadsheet experience in Confluence, have you reached into Excel-like Tables for Confluence?

This app will allow you to do much, if not all, tasks you usually do in other Spreadsheet apps like Microsoft Excel, or Google Docs:

Screen Shot 2022-01-19 at 8.18.32 PM (1).png

If you haven't tried, we wholefully recommend checking it out. And if you did take a look, your feedback is more than appreciated!

Also, while we still on the topic, integrating it with Jira is on your radar, although not yet possible. It may be worth keeping an eye on further updates, though. :)

Hope it helps!

Alessandro C.
Ricksoft Support Team

Rebekka Heilmann _viadee_
Community Leader
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Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
January 22, 2024

I have, and it's exactly what we don't want. If users need an Excel-Table, they can link to SharePoint or upload an Excel. We want the "standard" table just slightly enhanced or closer to what is was in Server.

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Sean Blezard January 25, 2024

@Rebekka Heilmann _viadee_ I've marvelled at all the software spaghetti Atlassian has thrown at the wall. For example, Jira Align was a white elephant, and then Atlas, which kind of integrates with Jira but isn't accessible via API to 3rd party vendors with plugins like Structure.

All the while, the basics of Jira and Confluence as collaboration building blocks have been neglected.

I can understand why they want to go with Database - Notion and Airtable play in the same field as Confluence, but it's been created so far as an island with minimal coherence and integration with the rest of the platform. Hopefully, during the beta period, we will see significant improvements.  

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