What is the effect on built-in macros and content when Confluence is upgraded from 3.4.x to 5.5.x?

When we upgrade from 3.4.x to 5.5.x, we will have about 200 spaces, each with multiple pages using all kinds of built-in macros to present content. We know that while 3.4.x uses Wiki Markup as one way to edit, this feature is gone in 5.5.x (although a Wiki Markup macro exists for old-timey editing). We also know that Confluence 4.0 introduces macro placeholders, a visual representation of a macro while editing. We also know that some macros have been dropped, some have been added to the rich text editor bar, and many still exist from 3.4.x to 5.5.x, but many have new optional parameters, and other parameters have changed, or been dropped.

I’m looking for responses from those who have done a similar upgrade, whereby the upgrade meant going from the old editor (pre 4.0) to the new editor. I am interested in reading about that experience and specifically how your pre 4.0-content “reacted” to the new Confluence version when you observed post-upgrade content.

In general, did you experience a lot of macro errors, or visual clues that the macro was not rendering as expected, and that you had to intervene to fix it? Were there a lot of problems with post-upgrade content, or an insignificant number of problems?

We have done a lot of investigation by comparing 3.4.x macros with 5.5.x macros, but realize we can’t know for sure how existing content will react until we actually run the upgrade. We’re hoping to get some insight from you on this topic before we upgrade.

Many Thanks,

Chris Riley

1 answer

3 votes

Most macros are fine, and if they change name or get deprecated, you get a visual box saying "unknown macro".  It's actually a lot smoother than you'd expect.

However, there is one minor point here.  Do NOT go from 3.4 to 5.5.  It's not supported, it's not safe, and it's almost certainly going to dump you in a world of pain.  For your own sanity, upgrade to 3.5.17 first.  Then 5.0, then 5.5.latest.

Ultimately we're going to 5.5.x, but our upgrade path is actually 3.4.9 -> 3.5.17 -> 5.0.3 -> 5.5.x as recommended by Atlassian. The user community will only see 5.5.x. Thanks for your response, Nic - that helps! Chris

Ah, good :-) I've been through this one a couple of times recently and that route is good and solid (barring one misbehaving plugin that breaks 5.0.3 -> 5.5. Which the client has pretty much decided to dump anyway) We also had to edit some of the user macros, so I'd check them over too, but we had few problems with the standard macros, or those provided by various plugins. Just the odd one we lost put red placeholders in, whcih the users are often happy to update manually (As the macros they tend to want to replace them with tend to be better than the 3.5 versions, it let them play more!)

Nic, may I ask what the name of that misbehaving plugin is just in case we are using it too? Was it a bug that has since been fixed? Good to know in your experiences the macro problems are either few or are easily recognized and fixed, in most cases. Yes, we are looking forward to the plethoria of useful (and fun) new features for our users, which will be huge, since we are going from 3.4 to 5.5. We are also expecting an increase in support tickets, too! ;)

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