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Questions about template building with Excerts

Hi,

We would like to create a new template for our IT customers. We have the following requirements for the template:

- The template should be a master template incl. table of contents with all headings (These have already been defined).
- The master template should be configured in such a way that in case of an adjustment all documents created from it take over these adjustments. This is important in this case, for example, if we implement a new software, which is documented differently for each customer and thus must be subsequently entered.
- At the same time, however, it should be possible to add individual additional headings per customer document, which are independent of the master template.

We have already tried it with the macros 'Excerpt/Excerpt-Include' and the macro 'Include Page Macro', which unfortunately did not work (our requirements are not met - no independent table of contents can be created per customer document based on the excerpts, the excerpts cannot be 'broken' to make individual additions below a heading, which is, however, mandatory). The problem has already been addressed in the article https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-questions/Using-Table-of-Contents-with-Excerpt-Excerpt-Include/qaq-p/1774461, but surely there can't be a workaround for this?

Basically, we can build the master template including the table of contents and the headings, but just not implement the functions we would like to. What option do we have to meet our requirements? Is there an alternative?

If our project would be supported but a premium version would be needed, please let us know.

If it does not work through the usual template way: Is there any other way we can implement it? I urge you to help us as we are depending on these features.

Thanks in advance!

2 answers

Hello @George Monschein

A possible solution for this situation could be via the app Scaffolding Templates from ServiceRocket, which could be of help.

With this, you could build a dependency towards a main template, that when edited, all changes will be reflected on any pages using it. I am unsure about the individual adjustments but for this you could contact the team behind the app, they are quite friendly :)

Hope this helps!

Best regards
Rodrigo

@Rodrigo Hello Rodrigo,

Thank you for your suggestion! At first glance it looks like this could be exactly what we are looking for. I will take a look at this and get back to you if Scaffolding Forms & Templates meets our requirements.

Best regards,
George

@George Monschein If I'm understanding your query correctly:

  • You are not looking to create a Confluence page template to use when adding a new page to your space
  • But, instead, you are trying to find a way to create a custom output of your content for different customers

Is this correct—you want to produce a single Confluence page with all the content for each customer?

I'm fairly new to Confluence as a producer (long time consumer), but, if this is the case, I would think there are a lot of other tools that would fit your needs better out-of-the-box—where you could apply conditional text tags and create targets that produce various html or pdf outputs from the same content.

If this is not the case, are you trying to take the content of one Confluence space and produce other spaces (or sub-trees in the same space) with the content for each customer? 

Please clarify your situation. Maybe someone who knows a lot more than me can help out and educate both of us.

@Barbara Szczesniak Hi Barbara,

Thank you for the quick response! Let's clarify what I meant:

Our goal is to create a customer documentation template that we can use for our IT customers (Confluence is only used internal, for internal documentation!). This template consists of nothing more than a table of contents including headings for predefined topics.

How this is finally implemented is not important to me - It can really be a template and configured in Confluence accordingly, but also simply a 'page' with appropriate settings that we can copy and fill with the customer information. When creating a 'real' template, is there any way to make pages created based on it dependent, so that changes are automatically applied to the page- and synchronized? Please enlighten me, because this is what we really looking for!

Regarding your input or what we have already tried now: I created a page in Confluence (Serves as a template), added a table of contents and wrapped the headings in an excert so they would be applied to pages copied from it. But then there was just the problem that we:

1. could not add any additions within the excerts, which we urgently need to fill in customer information - How can I solve this? Generating a single excert for each heading does not make sense in our case, as we want new additions to be included - So an excert for each heading does not make sense.
2. the table of contents is not synchronized as we would like it to be (in the mentioned forum entry exactly this problem was already discussed once).

I hope I could clarify the uncertainties, please take a look at the screenshot.tempsnip.png

Thanks for the feedback and regards,

George

With regard to your excerpts, I presume the text you have redacted is the text you want to appear each time (in this case, the section headings), and you want to be able to insert custom text after the heading. 

  1. If you want to use this as a boilerplate (every document should include this structure of headings), I would make a page template that includes all of the headings you want. You could even include paragraphs of text that should be included on every page or instruction text on what they writer should include in each section. You can even add Variables in your template that are used in headings or paragraphs of text.
    When someone creates a new page for a client's document, they should select this template and enter the values for all the variables. They will then be able to add whatever text they want after each heading, modify any of the boilerplate text, and insert additional headings, as needed. (start with this page for more details: https://support.atlassian.com/confluence-cloud/docs/pre-format-your-content-with-templates/ )
    In this case, a basic Table of Contents macro at the top of the page will just pick up all the headings on the page (based on the levels you include/exclude in the macro parameters). It doesn't need to be wrapped in an excerpt. Note: You need to Publish the page to see the headings included in the TOC on that page. What you see while in Edit mode is what you are showing in your top image. 
  2. If you want to have content on other Confluence pages that you pull into the page for a client, you need to make excerpts that only include text that you would not want to modify or insert text in between. This may mean that you need to create a lot of excerpts, so if you are only looking at standard headings and minimal text, option 1 above might be the way to go.

Hope this helps. Maybe others have better ideas based on their experience.

@Barbara Szczesniak  Hi Barbara,

Thank's for the quick feedback! Let's imagine I'd take option 1 with a 'real' template: 

Is it possible that if this template is customized, these changes will also be applied to the documents created from it? We need some kind of synchronization, because we want to make sure that all changes in the template are applied to the pages created from it. Do you know if this is possible? This is also why I insisted so much on the excerpts, as it always updates them in the dependent page. If this is also supported in the 'real' template, our problem would be solved.

I'm looking forward to your reply.

Thanks and regards,

George

AFAIK, once you create the page, it is detached from the template. Any future changes to the template do not affect pages already created.

@Barbara Szczesniak Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your feedback! Since we have to add mandatory synchronization in case of addition to our template and also individual custom text below all headings, I gather from your post that there is thus currently no solution for our plan? Synchronization based on the template is not possible?

Has someone else any idea how to proceed?

Thanks.

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