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What is a use case for using a database in Confluence?

Lori Milam January 17, 2024

I'm trying to understand a need for using a database in Confluence. I'm being asked to research this to determine if our company should turn it on. If we already use Jira and can link to issues within Confluence I'm struggling to find a use for this feature. Does anyone have any examples?

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Max Foerster - K15t
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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 17, 2024

Hey @Lori Milam

I was a member of the product team at K15t working on Orderly Database, which was acquired by Atlassian last year and will come to Confluence as Databases. So, I hope I can shed some light on your question about what we were using it for internally, what our customers were doing, and what I use it for privately. 😄

Are you storing information in tables in Confluence? Maybe about your teams, product ideas, events, marketing assets, documentation, system configurations, or customers? Or did you ever use page properties in Confluence to maintain page metadata and pull them into a report?

Then you already have quite some applications that are much more enjoyable with a database or something that feels and behaves like a very smart and dynamic table. This means you are able to edit information when viewing a page, and changes will be reflected everywhere in Confluence.

Maybe have a look at the community post of our founder when Orderly Databases was released at the end of 2021/beginning of 2022.

Maybe the still existing product page on our website will also give you an impression of possible use cases. 

So, let's get down to business with this foreword. 😄  So, think again of working with regular tables in Confluence. And how you use tables nowadays in your daily business. One significant improvement that the databases offer over tables is you can quickly provide structure to your users with different field types like freely configurable select lists, text fields, user mentions, date fields, and links to Confluence content. And more importantly, you can provide a consistent structure. :) In combination with using templates, you can create new content and pages in Confluence and automatically add a corresponding entry to a database. And at the same time, it's fun working with them, but that's just a note on the side. 

Now you have this database filled with information, and you can start displaying data from the database anywhere in Confluence: the entire dataset, filtered data, just a single entry, or even a single value.

So, if you still don't have an idea for a use case, then you are a tough nut to crack. 😄

Internally, we built a lightweight CRM managing customers, companies, interactions, etc., with a few databases and connecting them using field types to look up values in other entries or connecting entries. Or count entries in a field. The same applies to partner management. We also manage our events in a database. Our team and people directory is a database. The talks we develop and present on stage or online are maintained in a database. Which we also use in combination with the events. Product ideas, customer requests, and feedback? It was all maintained in databases because this information is used in different places. With page properties, before, you had to go to the page the metadata was on and edit it to make changes. With databases, you can edit it from anywhere in a second. In my private instance, I started building a vocabulary database, connecting it to conjugations and similar information that comes in handy when learning a language.

Also, our customers had many ideas and use cases for features like databases, some very simple like what I described already—building a repository of learning materials, internal knowledge, and asset management. Others wanted to use it to store part number registers and internal part number mappings in their engineering department. Regarding technical writing, another customer wanted to create a helicopter overview of their documentation's page properties (statuses, authors, last updates, etc.).

Hopefully, I was able to give you a little creative spark. Let me know if not, and I will try harder. ;) 

Best, Max

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Lori Milam January 17, 2024

Hi @Max Foerster - K15t thank you so much for this response. Thanks for the background as well. I will definitely take some time to go through the links you provided. Also, I might propose a poll of sorts to the different parts of the company to see if they might have use cases that I'm not familiar with such as facilities, marketing, etc.

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Max Foerster - K15t
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 18, 2024

You're welcome, @Lori Milam. :) By the way, I fixed one of the links I provided. Now you're actually ending up on the product website... 😄

Scott Beeson January 22, 2024

Sadly, I don't see how Databases will be a good replacement for Page Properties macros and reports. I have come to rely on them heavily. I would love to see an actual example proving me wrong. The first problem is just aesthetics. A page properties report looks really nice and welcoming. A database looks like a spreadsheet and can be intimidating. In other words, it doesn't make a very good front end or index.

Now, if I could get a macro like "Display database field" that would be a step in the right direction. I could lay out my documentation page how I want, so it looks nice, but I could reference a field, let's say "Customer Phone Number - Customer #3" and then whenever that data gets updated it updates everywhere.  This is the kind of capability I would like. 

In summary, give me the clean look of Confluence (a wiki) with the power of a database. If you can do this, I'll be a disciple for life.

Scott Beeson January 22, 2024

Separately, does anyone have a video of someone demonstrating a real-world application of Confluence Databases? I'd love to see it.

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Kristian Klima
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January 22, 2024

@Scott Beeson There's a youtube video by K15t (they developed Databases as their app and Atlassian then bought the app - as in 'acquired' from K1t5).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rTJUkPhmWc

It does show some use case examples (mind, it's a year old and Atlassian might have changed a thing or two, but based on my experience it's not that different).

We're going to use it internally to track the changes of the pages the content of which is used in Learning and Onboarding.

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