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The Atlassian Cloud editor: a year in review

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:

image-20200917-014402.png

So what is this editor all about?

Here is everything NEW with the Atlassian Cloud editor!

Performance improvements

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.

Slash command

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!

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (11) (1).gif

Inline comments

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!

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Smart links, Smart cards, Smart embeds

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!

Smart Link Embed Figma (1) (1).png

Templates

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.

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Tables

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

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (13) (1).gif

Copy and paste layouts, panels, and code blocks

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.

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New editor in the Confluence mobile app

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!

Image captions

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.

ImageCaptions2 (1) (1).gif

Don’t have the app? It’s OK, here are handy links to download from iOS and Android.

 

We heard users loud and clear – features back by popular demand!

 

Expand

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.

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Full width

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.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (12) (1).gif

Find and replace

Confluence users are now able to find and replace text within a page. Just once or every time!

Screen Shot 2020-09-11 at 3.53.01 PM.png

Alt text for images

An image is worth 1,000 words, but to describe an image for readers with visual limitations, you can do that through alt-text.

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More text colors

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.

image-20200724-004513 (1).png

Header links

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.

image-20200724-010515 (1).png

Version comments

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!

image-20200911-233401.png

Indented actions

A simple but valuable one, we’ve made Action Items indentable! This was a small annoyance, but one that annoyed many.

image-20200911-231918.png

What’s next for the Cloud Editor

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.

 

9 comments

I have absolutely loved getting to know the new editor over the past year! I use Confluence in both a server and a cloud instance, so getting to learn the differences between the two side by side has been valuable.

I definitely prefer the Cloud version because it's so much cleaner. Didn't know about find and replace yet and that is about to be game. changing.

The slash command has been awesome, too. For people at my company who are really new to Confluence, adding a diagram (or any macro) takes a few steps, but being able to just type /gliffy and go is a huge time saver. I personally always forget the shortcut for adding a table (something about that combination of keys just doesn't make its way into my memory) so I find myself doing a lot of "/t" to drop a table in without breaking out of typing mode. :)  

Like # people like this

Hey @Samie Kaufman - Your Gal at Gliffy ! Awesome to hear you've been loving the new editor :) We've got so much more awesomeness in store just around the corner. Can't wait for you to see it!

Like Sai Ramanathan likes this

Please wake me up when this is fixed:

https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-67862

Then I'll become interested in the new editor. Thanks.

Hey @Peter Fjelsten! Sorry to hear the Atlassian Cloud Editor isn't servicing all your needs. 

Re; that ticket you shared, we currently support images in list. We don't support macros in lists for a boatload of reliability issues that I'm happy to expand on. TL;DR - if we allow it, we open the door to not being able to provide a reliable experience. We ran into this issue with the old editor and it's the reason why big editor in common products like Google Docs, Word, etc don't allow this sort of element nesting.

That said, if you want to chat in person, I'd love to hear about your needs, use cases, candid feedback etc. My calendar is always open so feel free to drop in a time to chat :) https://calendly.com/jkatahanas/editor 

Hello @Jonno Katahanas , the link to your calendar does not work.

I have never had an issue with macros in lists. What reliable experience are we missing?

My use case of writing a guide to users, needing to add tips and warnings as the steps are described surely cannot be an outlier with regard to usage? Having these outside the context of which they're so be interpreted makes no sense. The same could be said of tables. When you write a guide, you need relevant information to be in the context of the step the user is on.

Like Mary Connor likes this

Hi @Jonno Katahanas: Are the expands accessible too? We've been asking for this for a while now.

Hi, my experience with the new editor ist really bad. Because in 50% of useing it the data crashes and my work i have done is gone. I think before building a lot of functionality you should look wether it is stable !

Regards Rolf

PS: Even the functionality dont work and each time you call a Page build with the new editor you see everywhere where is a link the whole URL instead of the linked word.

 

PLEASE STOP the new EDITOR!!!!

Like Joe Bloggs likes this

Manually resizing tables is something that i would really love to get back!

The "new" editor is such mess. At least sort out the styling so it's controllable. 

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