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Databases beta - what's great and what's "meh"?

Koloman Pfeffer March 11, 2024

Dear Community,

So the Confluence databases beta is out for a couple of weeks and there is surprisingly little chatter about it here, which lead me to do a lot of problem solving and discovering myself. I wanted to share my experiences so far with you and also ask you to add your opinions, problems and user stories about it.

Let's start with the positives: 

  • Base functionality is great and gives a lot more flexibility in filtering and extracting data compared to basic tables
  • Integration with Jira works well, although some more functionality together with Jira automations would be nice.
  • The views-feature is very helpful in structuring a big database full for different user groups and only showing them the data relevant for them.
  • Integrating data from other databases via the entry link works fine as long as it does work,

which leads me to my gripes with it:

  • Even for a beta feature documentation is absolutely barebones and field types like the entry link and it's corresponding fields are not documented in a way, that would make them easy to use. 
  • Entry link fields are missing configuration options - you can't specify which field/column they are taking the data from. If it's the wrong one, the only option to change it is to duplicate the column it automagically chose and delete the original one. Repeat until it took the correct one by chance.
  • It was not made clear anywhere, that entry links only work within the same space, but not in between spaces, which severely restricts usability of this feature (aggregating data from databases you have access to would be a killer feature).
  • When a database is embedded in a page, it can't be displayed as a knowledge base article over the service desk (only shows a link, probably because Jira doesn't know what to do with it) - if this is something that isn't being implemented, at least a warning about that would be nice.

So all in all it's heading in the right direction but definitely needs some more work to make it more intuitive and user friendly. I get, that it's still a beta, which is also why I opened this discussion, to give feedback and improve the end product.

Thanks!

4 comments

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Florian March 12, 2024

Do you have any information about limitations?
I have tried to import a CSV with 5 columns and ~1000 rows, but this seems to break entry link fields to that database, so what I would wish for as the next step is a big performance update on the databases. Additionally it would be nice to have the entry link selection be filterable by another column.

Koloman Pfeffer March 13, 2024

Nothing yet, I didn't see anything about that in Atlassian's documentation, but I also didn't hit any limit yet.

Florian March 13, 2024

Seems like cloud needs a moment to build an index on the table or something, or the servers had problems yesterday. Today I could flawlessly search and link entries from a bigger table.

Like Koloman Pfeffer likes this
Florian March 13, 2024

Additionally, currently I'm struggling with page excerpts, sometimes they are shown, sometimes not and sometimes for just a few of the entries.

It seems like, using and embedding Views on other sites makes this worse, as in the database itself the page excerpts seem to work without a problem.

Florian March 13, 2024

Importing CSV and automatically creating links to another DB entry based on the title would be cool to. Currently it's not possible to import into database entry columns.

Florian March 13, 2024

Last thing I recognized today:
There is no entry macro for page creation available to add a side automatically to a database.
The help pages mention that there should be a macro.

And it would be nice if page excerpts are rendered with markdown and not in plain text.

Like Sarah Allis likes this
Sarah Allis March 14, 2024

The missing /entry macro is a big problem for me - though I'm glad that I'm not the only one who does have it. The documentation sure makes it sound like that should already be available. Being able to create an entry in a database from multiple templates would make this way more user friendly for my colleagues who aren't quite as confluence savvy.

It would be great if Atlassian could mark those pieces of documentation with "coming soon" or something to indicate which features we'll get and which ones might be just left-over from the original Orderly Databases documentation...

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