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Atlassian Companion App - talk to us about your experience!

Hello Community 👋🏼

The Confluence Server and Data Center team is exploring technical and user experience improvements to the Atlassian Companion App. We've received feedback on various aspects of using Companion and would like to speak with Confluence Server or Data Center customers to better understand the concerns and problems.

We're keen to hear from you if you:

  • are currently using the Atlassian Companion App
  • have tried to install Companion but are experiencing problems.

What's involved?

  • Sessions will be 45 minutes in length and conducted over video conference, with our team in Sydney. 

How do I participate?

  • If you're interested in speaking to us, please send me an email at mappleton@atlassian.com
  • We will confirm a few details before sending through a calendar invitation with video conference details
  • During the session, we'll start with a general chat to understand more about your role and your company, then dive deeper into your experience with the Companion App - what's working well, what isn't working well and suggestions for improvement.

  • As a token of our appreciation, you'll receive a thank you gift following the completion of your session.

We can't guarantee that we will be able to speak with all interested parties but we definitely appreciate your interest and enthusiasm to help us make Confluence easier and more enjoyable to use.

8 comments

The source of the trouble, perhaps, was offering the less-than-perfect "Edit in Office" feature to begin with. The presence of that, for years, created dependencies among many users, in our organization hundreds (it's hard to know, with over 10k users).

In any large organization with significant separation of duties it is unreasonable to expect either the Companion would be easily deployed or that users would have the right to install it.

My organization has over a quarter million employees, and our devices - even for most of 10k IT professionals - are locked down. It has taken months of complex bureaucracy to establish a still-inconvenient way to request the Companion's installation, and us Confluence admins many hours fielding frustrations among affected users and attempting to push this change.

In our enterprise, as in many others, very few apps are special. We have tens of thousands of apps, the vast majority being web-based, as Confluence was and should have remained.

By now, most users here who used Edit in Office have just learned to live without. Some can use Companion in a "portable" sense with Chrome, but otherwise proxies and other restrictions on IE and Edge, for those not allowed to acquire other browsers, are still largely a blocker.

The best fix would be to replace Edit in Office functionality in-app, such that nothing need run on the desktop. A second-best would be to ensure that the Companion can be run purely as a portable/runtime, never attempting to permanently install itself on the client.

Like Makisa Appleton likes this

Regarding a discussion:

With full plates, addressing many other challenges - mostly with JIRA - that arise among our bases, I for one won't have time. The problems have been expressed repeatedly and well by a variety of app admins in various enterprises.

This won't keep us from using Confluence, but it certainly caused frustration among those who expect advanced features to just work.

Like Makisa Appleton likes this

Hi Brad, thank you for your comments and insights. Appreciate you taking the time to post your feedback!

Can I ask what file types your team members are working with? Do you know if your team members now also use Companion with other file types?

Like Brad_Taplin likes this

Makisa, we don't closely track how all of our users use the app, but for those who are still able to use the Companion - e.g. with Chrome - it's mostly Word and especially Excel.

I'd like to back up the response from Brad above. Requiring a separate download and application to be integrated into a person's computer in order access functions that were previously seamlessly integrated into a web environment is a huge step backwards and of no obvious benefit to the user. I'm sure there is a benefit somewhere but for a user that simply used to click a button to open then click a button to save directly from Office (which, no matter how hard you try and avoid will be a part of the business landscape for many years to come) this new system offers nothing but extra clicks and extra work. 

Having seamless integration with Word was a big plus for an organisation with 1000 employees who were not keen on Confluence to begin with. Having to then tell them about all the extra steps did not go down well at all. 

Like Makisa Appleton likes this

Hi @Richard_Isaacs - thanks for your feedback!

Could I ask you the same question - what file types do your team members use with Companion? Do you know if Word is the main one or if other there other Office/other program file types in use with Confluence?

They are mostly using and editing Word files.


Hey Atlassian,

We don't have video capabilities, but in saying that, I would be happy to come to Atlassian in Sydney CBD. We found Edit in Office to be fantastic and never had any issues, but Companion App behaved differently for different users with the same operating environment or differently for same users on different browsers, or differently for same users, different pcs. Agree with the sentiment of others having a separate download is troublesome.

Our Administrators here have a number of Excel files that they keep open all day and edit. With Edit in Office, they could have all files open, edit > save and the wiki would be updated. No need to close the file, and no limitation of having only one file open. With Companion App, they had to open > edit > save > upload > close, repeat ALL DAY. It multiplied our administrative workload by 10-fold. The users didn't find it intuitive. I spent many hours on the phone troubleshooting with Atlassian. Eventually we upgraded and are using the Dark Feature. At this rate, we may never upgrade again!

thanks

Shelley

Like # people like this

Hi @ShelleyDee - thank you for your feedback! It would be great if you could come to Atlassian and have a chat with us about your experience with Edit in Office and Companion. Please send me an email mappleton@atlassian.com and we can organise from there. Thank you!

@Makisa Appleton

I'm on an Air Force network and we cannot install the Atlassian Companion app unless it has been vetted by Air Force Network Integration Center (AFNIC).

I want to submit the Atlassian Companion app to get certified for use on DoD/AFNET but I will need a point of contact (POC) by the developers.

 

Who would be the POC for this?

Thanks!

--

Chris

(I have also posted this over here -> https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-articles/Changes-to-the-Companion-App-in-Confluence-6-15-6-and-6-13-6/ba-p/1108896/page/2)

Hi @Chris Calone - As I'm not sure exactly what you need from a POC, would you like to send me an email (mappleton@atlassian.com) and we can discuss further there? 

@Makisa Appleton 

Companion App should support Citrix/terminal server environments and be part of the server template, so users do not need to download/install individually. 

regards, Roland 

Like Carmen_Nadeau likes this

Hi @turo - thanks for your feedback! Yes, this is something we are investigating. If you can spare the time and would like to chat to me more about your use of Confluence and Companion needs, please send me an email and we can set up a time. 

People are now reporting that the latest version of Confluence does not support the dark feature any more either. This issue has clearly been an ongoing problem so much so that you have set up this feedback space (which is very positive). However, a fix was put in place but has now been removed. @Makisa Appleton I don't want to rant but this is one of my core issues with Atlassian, you just switch off features and see what happens and then consult when people complain.

I've now been using Confluence for over 2 years now and have had to put in place numerous css fixes and adaptations to overcome headaches on basic set up. I am in Sydney and am willing to come into your offices in my own time and talk you through what I have done as well as show you how we use the word plugin and the system in general. Is this something you and your team would be interested in?

Hi @Richard_Isaacs thank you for your feedback - the introduction of the dark feature was temporary through to the end of the 6.x series. I understand your frustration with trying to work with Confluence and attached files. We did share our plans to remove the dark feature in the Community post announcing the changes as well as including this in the Upgrade Notes; if you have other suggestions as to where this type of information would best be communicated, I would be happy to hear them. 

Thank you, I really appreciate your offer to come and speak with us about your experience with Confluence, please do send me an email at mappleton@atlassian.com. 

Hello @Makisa Appleton  I've emailed you now.

I manage a 250 seat Confluence instance that services locations in Canada, USA, France, and India.

We installed version 6.12.2 earlier this year and immediately I was inundated with complaints that:

1. The Companion app would not download

2. The Companion app would not install

3 The Companion would not "Trust" our Confluence instance

This affected nearly 20% of our user base.

There was no pattern that I could distinguish as to what was causing all these problems and was not able to resolve more than a handful as there were so many problems at multiple geographic locations. For over a week I was full time trying to get people back their ability to edit files. In desperation I "hacked" our instance to bring back the Edit In Office to get us back in operation.

I have refused to upgrade Confluence until you can demonstrate that your app is suitable for a production environment and as I see there are still ongoing problems as recently as early September.

I would also like to echo the sentiments from Brad & Richard above as with our enterprise environment we do face challenges with some users not being able to use the companion app or confused with the process of getting it installed since users cannot directly install apps onto their machines.

Apologies if I am late to the party and have missed an opportunity to connect (only saw this post today) - I can feedback with my TAM if needed.

My main issues I get with it are:

  • User confusion with companion app install process > the prompt diverts them to the Atlassian site to install the app but the user cannot do this. I haven't managed to find if this prompt can be customised because an easy fix (IMO) for users would be to click that button (to get companion app) and have it redirect to the correct internal app store we have for users to install pre-approved apps.
  • With some users the companion app is not detected on their machine and thus they cannot 'trust' Confluence to use the Edit In feature. We end having to get the user to download the file manually, edit their document, and re-upload back to Confluence

Not all of our user base has issues with companion app and when they do we try to workaround it which is a little frustrating.

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