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What are some best practices for content reuse without adding plugins?

I have recently inherited a large Confluence project and to my dismay, I have found a significant amount of duplicated content with random edits that has resulted in inconsistent content.

For instance, there are many notes and alerts as well as paragraphs that I would like to reduce down to a single source copy of each. 

Rather than arbitrarily selecting a page to host the master/source copy, I am thinking of creating a "hidden" section dedicated to hosting each source note.  In MadCap Flare terminology, I would call these "Snippets". Then use the Excerpt macro - Excerpt Include or Include Page macros to add the notes to each page,  where required.

In the absence of any respectable content reuse functionality, is this a good practice?

I'm a novice with Confluence so please be gentle. :)

Thank you for your advice.

 

2 comments

The user of "include" and "include excerpt" you describe here are pretty much the main reason the macros exist!  It's a very good use for them.

The only qualm is the "hidden" section.  The include macros respect the privacy and page settings for their source, so you don't want to hide them.  You almost certainly do want to have a space that is the source of your snippets, with pages all visible to everyone, but with (heavily) restricted edit rights, so only the right people can update stuff that is potentially widely shared and reused.

Hello Nic, thanks for your quick reply.

The problem with the "include" and "include excerpt"  macros is that they can only be used once per page. Much of the content that I wish to reuse is already located inside pages where the entire page is set inside an "Excerpt". Therefore, I cannot access just a note that is located inside a page like that. I hope this makes sense.

What I meant by "hidden"... perhaps a silly way to write that they would be non-indexed pages that the reader wouldn't normally see.

Most importantly, I would like to move all of the frequently reused notes and alerts out of the pages. I think this content would be easier to manage if were placed in a specific location dedicated to content reuse.

However, perhaps I am too focused on how I wrote and managed content in Flare and need to calibrate my thinking to how it's done in Confluence?

Your advice is appreciated. Thank you.

Yes, I see that's a bit painful.  Usually is when you inherit someone else's stuff (You wouldn't believe some of the rubbish I've had to unpick from inherited Jira and Confluence systems)

>Much of the content that I wish to reuse is already located inside pages where the entire page is set inside an "Excerpt"

I would want to unpick that, no matter what else you do.  If a whole page is an excerpt, it's a waste of time, that's what "include" is for.

>Most importantly, I would like to move all of the frequently reused notes and alerts out of the pages. I think this content would be easier to manage if were placed in a specific location dedicated to content reuse.

This is exactly what I would do.  Put all the notes and alert stuff into their own space (or maybe two?) and replace their usage with include/excerpts.

If you have lots of pages that would be useful in one block, but containing many snippets, I would think about the two basic options:

  • Break out each snippet into its own child page, and make the original page little more that a string of includes
  • Look at the multi-excerpt macro in the marketplace.  It does what it sounds like - lets you flag a page with many excerpts rather than the single excerpt Confluence's own allows

Whatever you do, I think you've got a large task in front of you, converting pages to use include/excerpt/multi-excerpt

>What I meant by "hidden"

Not silly at all, it was clear what you were looking for.  Confluence doesn't do that though, you have to make your included pages visible to the users.  Putting them into a dedicated space (and having pages of snippets that don't really hang together themselves) helps the users learn to ignore the snippets sources though, and only read them as part of the target page!

Thanks so much for your valued advice. :)

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