Updates to your file uploading experiences

Hi everyone, I’m the PM on the Media team. The Media team looks after file uploading and previewing files on a Confluence page or Jira ticket.

In September last year we wrote on Community to let you know that features in the Media picker popup were being removed. A reminder of those features:

Cloud picking:

Screenshot 2021-01-25 at 4.03.20 pm.png

Not many of you used this feature, fewer than 0.3% of files are added this way. We heard loud and clear from customers, that this feature wasn’t working as expected. This was because it copies files over rather than linking to them.

Confluence already has a good alternative, you can use Slash commands to insert Google and Dropbox files.

And there is an even faster alternative available using Smartlinks. In Jira and Confluence you can copy a link to a file from Google (even from a Shared Team Drive) or Dropbox and paste it into your page or ticket. This creates a handy Smartlink reference to the file.

And of course you can still get Giphy files into Confluence by copying and pasting them in.

Recent files

Screenshot 2021-01-25 at 4.04.09 pm.png

We see a very small % of customers who use the Recents feature weekly. Furthermore without the ability to filter or search Recents, customers we have spoken to often end up just re-uploading their files.

It is important to note that when we remove Recents all files you have already added to your Confluence pages or Jira issues will remain there.

As mentioned above copying links to files from Google and Dropbox can be achieved with Smartlinks. We do think this is a better solution than copying files. As operating systems contain a reference of Recent files you can continue to upload or drag and drop files into Products from your local machine.

Next steps

We realised that without Cloud picking and Recent files, there is not a big need for the Media picker popup at all. We’ve seen that the majority of you are uploading a single file. So the extra steps to upload and add files into a page seemed unnecessary. Therefore we’ll be removing the Media picker popup, you’ll be able to use native file uploads provided by your browser instead. This will still let you select multiple files.

Many of you are dragging and dropping files straight onto Confluence pages or Jira tickets, or are using Copy and paste to get your files into Atlassian. You’ll still be able to do this, so no change there.

These change to Cloud picking, Recents and the Media picker popup will be starting to rollout to Jira, JSM, Confluence and Bitbucket in the next month.

While we think these workarounds are suitable we are aware some of you may have some more niche use cases. We are thinking about different ways for you to get files and links into our products. If you’d like to be part of this conversation please let me know in the comments below.

23 comments

JG MEILLAUD February 3, 2021

Hi there,

Good to know that you are working on the file uploading experience.

However the former "Attachment" feature was not just about uploading, but also referring or embedding files in comments. It quite nicely used to provide you with a dropdown of files and images attached on the ticket that you could embed or link to.

Moving to the new Jira issue view, this has become "File and images" and the drop down is gone. With no way to embed already uploaded images in comments.

How about "Files on this issue" instead of "Recent files"? Unless I'm missing something..

Happy to chat about that if you want more feedback.

Cheers,
JG

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Owen Wallis
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
February 3, 2021

Hi @JG MEILLAUD

Thanks for the comment. Yes this is something we are thinking about. Essentially it would be the ability to insert files which are already in your Confluence or Jira space. So in Confluence it might be inserting from a central repository of marketing logos. In Jira it could be inserting files already on the ticket for reference, as you mention above.

I'm always happy to chat about attachments so feel free to find a time with me https://calendly.com/owallis

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Saskia Carolan
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February 26, 2021

Hi all,

 

Just to add my two cents. I am highly in favor of JG's suggestion, because we use the "embed" feature very often and the new issue view is driving me insane, because there is no way to display the attachments that are already in the issue - extremely aggravating when creating linked issues from Service Management.

So please give us some way to do that again.

 

Thanks and regards,

Saskia

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Owen Wallis
Atlassian Team
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February 28, 2021

Thanks @Saskia Carolan - actually I just started talking about linking to existing attachments with the Jira team last week. Happy to chat with you more about this: https://calendly.com/owallis

Aaron J. H. Barrett March 8, 2021

This feature seems to be a dependent of the current workaround to annotate images. Removing it without restoring image annotation or supplying another workaround is not ideal.
https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-67122

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Guy Cardwell March 10, 2021

It appears this change has also affected the new editor in Confluence, leaving one unable to display an image file that was already attached to an existing page, whether that is the page being edited or another page in the same or other space.   

It seems pretty evident that you might want to display the same image on the same page twice, even, without having to attach two copies.   If the /image only open a file dialog, you are pretty much stuck in your choice of workflow. 

The breaks some very basic functionality that has been with Confluence from version 2.X or earlier, and switching to the old editor isn't an option in many cases.

See here for details: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-71688

 

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Owen Wallis
Atlassian Team
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March 10, 2021

Hi @Guy Cardwell that's correct, this change also affects Confluence. Recent files were actually a complete copy of the files already attached to a page, rather than a reference to files already existing on other pages.

The relevant ticket to add files from an existing page or space is https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65344

Guy Cardwell March 10, 2021

@Owen Wallis , as a software developer myself, I can respect the intent behind trying to unify the editing experience across the product lines as well as consolidate the code base behind them.   With that said, I feel the need to point out the somewhat obvious fact that shuffling features around on the user base without maintaining feature parity or at least viable alternatives to the prior methods only serves to increase frustration.    When I ask the simple question, why can I no longer display an image on a Confluence page that's already attached to the page, the answer shouldn't be, "because we decided you didn't need that feature any more".

For another example of this, please see Breathe-O-Smart as mentioned in the Hitchhiker's Guide.

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Owen Wallis
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March 10, 2021

@Guy Cardwell thanks for this discussion. Apologies if my point didn't come across well. What I was hoping to explain was that the previous Recents feature didn't actually solve the job of letting you reference files already attached to a page or space.

Recents weren't really Recents - they were a whole other fileset. So if customers were hoping to reference a 'source of truth' file then Recents wasn't solving that. Recens would essentially fork the file onto the new page it was added to.

The ticket I linked to above would be the accurate resolution for this.

Guy Cardwell March 11, 2021

@Owen Wallis , thanks for the reference to the ticket and clarification on the recent files behavior.  I apologize if I'm being overly strident here, but please be mindful: 

Whatever the eventual solution may be,  your customer base (including me) is essentially locked into the new editor in Confluence that can't do simple things that the previous editor did, and for which there are no apparent workarounds.   We are actively being encouraged to "try the new editor" experience, but there's no easy way to revert and use the old one with the necessary features to get our daily work done. 

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Sarah Elmer March 11, 2021

Guy Cardwell - I am using "Masters" in order to keep the consistency and usefulness of my pages in Confluence; however, from what I understand, ALL pages will eventually revert to the "new editor" which will cause problems and confusion with my users. NOT looking forward to that day.

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Owen Wallis
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March 11, 2021

Hi @Guy Cardwell no need to apologise. I understand your perspective. Very happy to chat more if timezones allow https://calendly.com/owallis (I'm based in Sydney).

My calendar is always open to anyone wanting to talk about files, attachments and video.

Renee Aper April 5, 2021

Dumb question here - how do I get notified of these changes before they happen?  Jira and Confluence both are making me crazy right now.  

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Owen Wallis
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April 5, 2021

Hi @Renee Aper you can get notified via following https://confluence.atlassian.com/cloud/blog/2021 and see all upcoming changes.

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Sarah Elmer April 6, 2021

@Renee Aper IMO - Atlassian needs to put "Oh, Oh - I've got an new idea..." on the back burner and concentrate on "Hmmmm, this needs to be fixed!" in all products - js

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Arnd Layer April 26, 2021

This is an awful development. AFAIK there is no way to refer to already existing files, especially images in Confluence.

It may be true that the majority of users just throw images from their local disk into the page they are working on and this is also OK for me.

But I am in the business of customising Atlassian products so that our customers can better use them, which provides a framework for many users.. For my work it's very important that I can refer to images or documents already existing in the system (or elsewhere using an image link). think about the current version of the project management handbook.

Also, there seems to be no way to bring images into a page template. So page templates are less appealing to users which will harm acceptance.

The statistics used for this decision are guiding you in the wrong direction.

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Owen Wallis
Atlassian Team
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April 26, 2021

Hi @Arnd Layer thanks for your message. The Recent files were not actually referring to images or documents already in the system. They were a duplicate of files attached - a complete other copy.

I agree the ability to reference images or documents already in the system would be useful, Jira and Confluence are working out how to add this feature back in via https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JRACLOUD-72208 and https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65344

Brining images back in via page templates is another issue that is being looked at https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-66471

Sorry to swamp you with tickets! Happy to chat more https://calendly.com/owallis

All the best

Owen

Pierre-Eric P. May 4, 2021

Hi
Just migrated from CONF server to Cloud. "Image from web" feature doesn't exists anymore. Bad surprise.
On CONF we have a space for our end users docs and have many images. These images are centralized on our web server. We need to centralize all images to avoid our staff to duplicate images between pages and allowing us to update images on our web server instead of finding all pages where image is and update them.
Is this feature will be on CONF Cloud or do you have a work around ?

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Owen Wallis
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May 5, 2021

Hi @Pierre-Eric P. this feature is planned for Cloud: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65749. Although no ETA yet sorry.

This ticket is being looked at which may help sooner: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65344 - although this would require a change to your workflow (i.e. using Confluence as the source of truth rather than your centralized web server).

Fred Bunting September 7, 2022

Hi @Owen Wallis . It's now September, 2022, and I'm wondering if you have any updates.

That ticket you mentioned (CONFCLOUD-65344 ) was closed in April, 2021, and the Atlassian PM instead redirected people to CONFCLOUD-65302 with the assurance that it "is current In Progress and we're actively working on!"  

That linked ticket however, has a very different title, "Ability to link text to an attachment in editor", which makes it sound like a far less critical feature.

The comment from the Atlassian PM (Jonno) in Dec. 2020, makes it clear that inserting an existing attachment image (on the same page) is part of the ticket; but then the comment by a different PM (Divya) a year later in Dec. 2021, makes this unclear again, as it sounds like he thinks the ticket is about "attachment links."

In any case, the comments from all three of these Atlassian PMs implied that work on the issue was imminent, but it's Sept. 2022, and that ticket (originally filed in Dec. 2018) is still unassigned.

As others have described very well, this was a fundamental way of working with images in Confluence for years.  The ability to insert an image that has been attached to the same page, or to a different page (perhaps even in a different space), is what allowed us do things like:

  • use the same image in multiple places on the same page, or on multiple pages, without having to upload+attach it multiple times;
  • update an image that is used in many places, by updating a single image file;
  • maintain a special page, like a "branding" page, with approved logos, icons, clip-art, diagrams, screenshots, etc. that are used throughout a site.

It's also frustrating that the Old Editor still provides this feature, but we can't go back to it. This implies that this is not a complex architecture problem, it's just a matter of UI access.  In other words, it's not a "new feature", and it's not even an "old feature"; it's an existing feature that has lost UI access.

Apologies if this got a bit into a rant, but IMO Guy's comments about feature parity are on target. It sounds like Atlassian did provide a viable alternative to the loss of these features in the editor, in the form of the Recents window, but then discontinued it when it did not get much adoption. But I hope that Atlassian did not take from this the lesson that these features are therefore not needed.

Fred Bunting September 7, 2022

(Side note: I think my "I'm New Here" badge is because I made a new account when I switched companies.  I've actually been using Confluence for about 15 years, going back to Confluence 2.1, and I've been a Confluence admin.)

Haddon Fisher
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September 27, 2022

I'd really love some clarity on this from Atlassian. I think we've all been pretty patient and accommodating, but this crossed the line from ridiculous to absurd a while back.

Please:

  1. Give us some kind of update, both here and on the ticket, about the progress of this solution.
  2. Stop closing tickets on JAC by saying "we're handing this on this unrelated ticket".
  3. Stop replacing things with less functional versions.

 

I totally get that you need to enhance the platform (trust me). However you cannot remove functionality and expect us to sit around and wait for you to get around to releasing the "enhanced version" in 20 years. If all of these things are so big\complex\riddled with tech debt that you literally cannot make ANY enhancements without burning it all to the ground, then I think we have bigger issues.

Owen Wallis
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 13, 2022

Hi @Fred Bunting sorry for the delay. I commented on the ticket you mentioned above https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-65344?focusedCommentId=3179512&page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel#comment-3179512

I agree comms were confusing. Apologies.

Fred / @Haddon Fisher happy to chat more if timezones work https://calendly.com/owallis

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