SharePoint and Wikis

Atlassian Confluence is the leading Enterprise Wiki. Confluence now has a Connector for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. This gives you the best of both worlds.

Atlassian Confluence is the leading Enterprise Wiki. It is a powerful tool for enabling collaboration in an organisation, in ways not possible with previous methods. In a wiki users create content and structure for themselves, allowing people to make connections and develop ideas. For example, plenty of intranets have forums for things like Classified, Announcements etc. But you can’t just create your own forum and discuss your ideas with whoever you want. In a wiki you can.

SharePoint is the new publishing platform from Microsoft. Microsoft recognise that e-mails, documents, web pages, forum postings are all the same really – just information with various characteristics like formatting and replying. So they put everything in one and called it SharePoint. SharePoint has a "wiki", but it is really just a standard page with an edit button. It ticks the feature list, but does not compare with a proper wiki.

SharePoint comes in two flavours. Free with Windows Server is Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is a separate product requiring its own client licenses, and very much more capable. This is a good marketing strategy. As you get SharePoint for free, it is very widely adopted. In my view, SharePoint is likely to gradually overtake the traditional file system as the way of finding and creating documents. This makes it more difficult for a proper wiki to be adopted.

Now Atlassian have introduced a Connector for SharePoint. There is some mutual interest here. Microsoft jointly announced a strategic partnership with Atlassian, and reading between the lines it is something their large customers wanted.

The connector enables you to run a proper wiki in SharePoint, without moving between two different environments. You can:

  • Search across both sets of content in one search
  • Link content between them
  • Store documents in SharePoint and use them in Confluence
  • Embed Confluence pages in the SharePoint portal
  • Use a single sign-on.

Some people are just using Confluence for their entire Intranet. But if you are using SharePoint for your document store and as a portal for web services, you may want to integrate them by using the Confluence SharePoint Connector.

The SharePoint connector currently works with the full version, MOSS. If you want to use Confluence as your wiki and WSS as your portal, you can still join them. You can embed wiki pages in the portal, and you can use LDAP to provide a common username and password, but no Single sign-on, and no Search.

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