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The new Atlassian Cloud Editor has had a memorable 12 months for all the right reasons.
It’s no secret that the journey has been tough. As a Product Manager, before I joined the team over a year ago, I definitely didn’t understand the level of technical and design complexity building a multi-product editor entailed. It’s proven to be an unprecedented project for our growing Platform team at Atlassian. A massive challenge, but one we’ve tackled head-on. From the ups and downs, we’ve learnt a lot about ourselves and more importantly about our customers. We grew our team by 400% in 12 months, and worked tirelessly to deliver a world-class editing experience.
This blog is an overview of all the new editor features shipped over the past year. It’s also a thank you for all of our users who have given very candid feedback, kept us accountable, and helped us create an editing experience like no other.
But first some background on why we rebuilt. First and foremost we want to ensure reliability and performance as you, and we, scale. We baked that in to this new editor. Plus, just like most of you, we use our Atlassian products together. And it’s just not as efficient to have different editing experiences in say, Jira and Confluence. So we set out to fix that. Add the same elements no matter if you’re on a page, a Jira issue, or creating an inline comment.
We didn’t bring everything from the legacy editor to the new experience but we launched new features and brought back highly requested features thanks to you all. So we’re stoked to see customer ratings of the new editor are up and feedback like this:
So what is this editor all about?
To create a world-class editor, our foundations have to be rock solid. Historically, there were missing pieces in this area that led to performance and reliability challenges. It was something we were abundantly aware of, and heard about regularly from you, our users. We’ve invested heavily in many areas:
Typing performance: Some massive improvements with an ~56% increase in typing performance
Reliability: With heavy investments in this area, we’re sitting consistently close to 99.999% reliability
We’re going to continue to focus on improving editor performance and reliability with dedicated teams. We won’t stop until your editing experience is beyond light speed.
Why click a mouse when you can use your keyboard? The slash command allows you to search all macros and elements with so much ease and virtually no clicks. We’ve added help text on new lines to help users discover this all-powerful slash command. Trust me, once you discover the slash, you can NEVER go back!
We made some sweet improvements to the comments experience. Alongside a beautiful new look and feel, both page and inline comments are using the new Atlassian Cloud Editor – meaning your slash command and macros are also in comments!
Inline comments have been available for a while when viewing a page, but very soon it will be available when editing a page!
Smart Links were created to help people understand and use information that lives elsewhere, without having to leave their current context. In other words, fewer tabs open on your browser. Get more done on a Confluence page without having to click off that page. View more details of a link including when it was last updated, the file size/type and more. Plus, some Smart Links allow you to interact fully with the file in an embedded view. Connect your most used tools like Dropbox, Asana, Figma, Github and beyond. With more on the way!
To provide people as much context as possible when creating pages, we shipped a new template experience that helps you create beautiful pages with ease. Browse, preview, search and implement templates directly within the editor.
Tables are one of the most used features in Confluence. Improvements and new features were also one of our biggest customer asks. And, golly, we delivered (we hope) in a few different ways:
Added column sorting in the published view of the page
Added more colouring options to help you better express your table data
Enabled images to be aligned and resized in tables
Added sticky table headers
Improved table performance
Copy/pasting layouts, panels and code blocks in the legacy editor was literally not possible. UGH!. You’d have to copy the content, then create a new layout, and paste it into that. Well, that “ugh” is now a pretty big “yay” because we’ve implemented a way to easily select and move layouts, panels, and code blocks around the page.
We brought a lot of the editor to the mobile app. An improved page viewing experience is now available in mobile. These changes have brought a host of awesome features with them:
The new experience let you add and edit custom emoji and view them in pages. You can add and edit rich content like actions, decisions, code blocks, panels. Reading media files and mentioning team members is also easier.
And we aren’t stopping there. In the coming months, you’ll be able to add inline comments and use dark mode!
For a long time, we’ve heard that you want the ability to add additional context to images you insert on a page. Well, now you can! Keep an eye out, image captions will be rolling out to your instance soon.
Don’t have the app? It’s OK, here are handy links to download from iOS and Android.
Collapsible content was a huge must for customers. We built a new and improved expand; providing the same value as the old expand, just in a new and improved format.
After much research in the early days of the editor, we made the initial decision to not allow full-width pages as we learnt it created a whole host of challenges for readers. As time went by, we learnt that for our technical users, they required more surface area to convey their message and lay out their content. With this in mind, we brought back full-width to give content creators flexibility and control with how you represent your content. A decision we definitely don’t regret.
Confluence users are now able to find and replace text within a page. Just once or every time!
An image is worth 1,000 words, but to describe an image for readers with visual limitations, you can do that through alt-text.
Cue Charles Wright’s song “Express Yourself” because we brought back more text colour options so you can express yourself. We’re exploring providing custom colour selection in the future.
Anchor links were a big customer ask and gap from the old editor. You told us you needed a simple way to direct content consumers to a specific piece of content on your page. Instead of creating a non-WYSIWYG macro like the old days, we added a simple way to copy and share a link to any heading.
Keeping track of who changed what and when can definitely be a challenge without the ability to add a comment when updating a page. So, here you go!
A simple but valuable one, we’ve made Action Items indentable! This was a small annoyance, but one that annoyed many.
More, you say? Don’t worry! The reason we built this new editor is not only to fix what was less-than-ideal but also to innovate and build awesome new functionality! Some things that are coming for the editor are: an improved macro setting view, cross-product search, table improvements, more Smart Links, linkable images, and more.
So what we’re trying to say is, the new editor has a fruitful past and an exciting future. And please, continue to give us your thoughts so we can build you the best editor possible.
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