With Atlassian focusing on Cloud and performance at scale on DC, how users leverage 3rd party apps is going to make a huge difference in terms of their Atlassian ROI. At Blended Perspectives we’re here to help you achieve that ROI, today and tomorrow.
The Atlassian Marketplace is an incredible place where customers can shop for apps that provide major productivity and user experience improvements with relatively minor investments. Native Confluence templates and blueprints are powerful ways to build structured content but, to go further, customers should look to the Marketplace. Today we’ll take look at Blueprint Creator by //SEIBERT/MEDIA, available for DC and Cloud (with a focus on the DC version).
The role of Templates in managing content
Teams working together in Confluence need to be able to collaborate, work on different projects and document their work. Fortunately, Confluence offers many ways to foster collaboration. Teams can easily and intuitively create pages, share information, or create areas to gather content in one place.
Nevertheless, despite all the advantages Confluence offers, staying truly productive is sometimes harder than you might think. As soon as teams get bigger, the number of different spaces grows and the number of different pages on different topics becomes unmanageable, some problems arise.
So how can we ensure that teams work effectively and content remains well structured? Working together in Confluence needs to be easy and intuitive. That’s why templates give you an important advantage.
The Problem with too much unstructured content
Every Confluence user should know this problem. You are asked to take over the documentation of the next team meeting. At first, this looks like a simple task. But as soon as the meeting starts, out of haste a blank page is opened in the team space and you start writing. After a short time, the whole thing becomes a bit confusing. Have we entered all the important points? Have the open questions been clarified? And what about the resulting action items?
In a single situation, this is not too bad and can be corrected with a bit of rework. But as soon as the whole thing scales, key points repeatedly get lost and there is no obvious way for the user to effortlessly implement past lessons learnt into consistently applied best practices.
So why not just choose from a predefined page and simplify the whole process?
Templates Give Your Content More Structure
Luckily Confluence offers templates. Confluence templates help organize content so that it follows its intended purpose, to avoid consuming miscommunication and confusion. As a Confluence administrator you can create a template and then share the page with the team. The guiding structure gives the team a page with all the relevant information they need.
But what if a simple template is not enough and you want to start automating and even structuring your information more? Well, then there are blueprints. Blueprints are more powerful than templates because they allow you to capture information in a form that you can design yourself. Which means you can capture data that will then be displayed on the page.
You can set up blueprints so that, for example, page titles can automatically receive a prefix. You can also create dynamic overview pages for each area. You can also use more variables from different field types. When you use templates you need to do so from a Wizard-style user interface. Blueprints, on the other hand, are displayed more intuitively from the “Create” menu item via a form.
So how do regular teams get changes made to existing Blueprints? Is there a way to enable admins to create new blueprints for teams?
Introducing the Blueprint Creator
The Blueprint Creator now brings you all the strengths of blueprints with none of the hurdles that come from having an exclusively coding interface. With this app you can integrate the functions of blueprints into templates, all without any programming knowledge. Thanks to Blueprint Creator, now you can have the advantages of both blueprints and templates. You can also create blueprints for spaces and blog entries.
Overview pages allow the user to view the content in a Confluence page in an organized way. See all documents created with the help of the Blueprint at a glance and include links to other pages.
In combination with macros like “page properties” that visually display data, you can track the progress on a set of pages and see who is working on what. The layout can be modified with items such as a header and table of contents. Overviews help users to navigate the page and make sense of the page’s information.
In this way, you can build information hubs that help create clarity and better structure the information in your team.
The Role of MARS
The Atlassian Marketplace is an extraordinary place filled with quality applications such as Blueprint Creator. However, with nearly 4,000 available apps and 1.6M instances, navigating the Marketplace can prove to be difficult for many customers. Furthermore, with limited Atlassian categories and vendor self-selection, navigating through the ‘noise’ to find what you’re really looking for is time consuming and often wont lead to optimal app selection.
At Blended Perspectives our Marketplace Analytic Research Service (MARS) means that we are uniquely situated to help customers with their app selection. MARS is our database containing over 3 years’ worth of in-depth data on the Atlassian Marketplace. We collect data covering all facets of the Marketplace including instances, growth, product, platform, license, price, reviews, and many more. Perhaps most interestingly, we have also carefully assigned our own categories based on primary functionality to apps with over 500 instances (the 500 Club) which represent 83% of all Marketplace instances.
MARS shows us, for instance, that with over 800 instances Blueprint Creator is the largest blueprint application on the Marketplace and that with 15% growth just this year it is also the fastest growing blueprint app and is only extending its market share. Therefore, based on both qualitative assessment and qualitative analysis we can categorically claim that for its particular usage, Blueprint Creator is the best app out there. This is analysis that we can perform on any facet of the Marketplace and that has been very effective in terms of optimizing customer’s app selection.
If you have any questions then feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.