BEST Demo Show Jamie Esker Snapshot Publishing

“How do I make Confluence documentation static and easy to locate?” Find out in this episode of Appfire Presents: The BEST Demo Show by Appfire! Jamie Esker shows you how Snapshot Publishing, a new feature of Comala Publishing, greatly expands the apps’ functionality by helping to make documentation static and easy to refer back to at a specific point in time.

About the guest

Jamie Esker is the Product Marketing Manager for Appfire’s Document Management category of apps. She’s passionate about helping companies streamline their document management processes using Confluence and automation.

About the show

The BEST Demo Show by Appfire brings in experts who can show you how to overcome common IT challenges using best-in-class Atlassian apps. Every episode features 15 minutes of valuable advice on how to do your work better and faster.

For your convenience, here is the transcript of this episode:

How do I make Confluence documentation static and easy to locate?

Emily:  Today we have Jamie Esker joining us to demo Comala Publishing’s newest feature, Snapshot Publishing, which turns Confluence into a flexible full-featured platform for content distribution. Stick around for an awesome demo.

Hey, Jamie. Thanks for joining us today.

Jamie:  It’s great to be here. Thanks.

Emily:  Tell us, what are you demoing for us today? What do you have on the docket? 

Jamie:  Recently, Comala Publishing released Snapshot Publishing, which is the newest feature. I kind of want to show everybody the cool features that we have and what it can do. 

Teams use Confluence for documentation like knowledge bases and project reports, but it’s not always clear if the version they’re looking at is an approved finalized version or if the information is even relevant to them. Comala Publishing is a Confluence app that lets you separate your draft and approved content. 

We offer space-to-space publishing, which lets you create and edit your content in one space or page and then publish it to content with just finalized version of the copied space. The draft space will still be there for you to edit and work in, and then the finalized space will be there for just the finalized content, so it won’t compromise it.

Emily:  Cool.

Jamie:  Confluence was made to make team collaboration possible from anywhere, but we’re receiving feedback from our customers, as well as the Atlassian community, that there needs to be a way to make the content static and it needs to be easier to distribute information to users with varying permissions. To answer these cries for help, we’ve added a feature for Data Center and Server called Snapshot Publishing.

This provides purpose-built document repositories. It makes dynamic content static. Then it also lets you more easily disseminate information. This feature greatly expands the app’s functionality. It will especially help those that need to refer back to a document at a specific point in time, like for project status reports or a third-party audit. It will help those that need a less manual way of organizing and distributing documents such as updating multiple knowledge bases. 

Having these multiple options in one single app makes Confluence a full-featured documentation platform. I’d love to show you guys around.

Emily:  Let’s see it.

Jamie:  Once Comala Publishing is installed, these space admins can be added as collection managers by the global admin. For timing purposes, I’ll let you guys check out our documentation to find out how. You’re also able to reach out to our solutions advisors that are more than happy to help you out. For this instance, we’ve already had it installed. 

What I’m going to do is I’ve created this new space, The Best Demo Show Space. To add Snapshot Publishing to this Space, we’re going to go to our Space Tools, Snapshot Publishing, and here it brings us to where we can configure the feature. We’re going to use Snapshots. We have a nice little tutorial to take us to let you know what we need to be doing. 

This brings us to our Page. 

What are collections? Having a designated space for finalized content is extremely valuable. This is what our Comala Publishing has done. As I mentioned before, what if you need to distribute information to users with varying Space permissions or compile documents from multiple Spaces? Collections can help with that. They provide a new way to organize, store, and distribute our documents outside of the native Atlassian hierarchies, which is pretty cool because nobody has really been able to do that before.

An example of that would be, let’s say a collection specifically for company policy documents, projects, job functions, and maybe a collection for documents required for regulatory compliance. What’s more is that access to collections is determined by users and groups, even if they don’t have permission to the source Space. 

Once I get into the Snapshot Publishing, it creates a collection for you, so you have one. You can either edit this collection. I’ll get into linking a collection, but for this purpose we’re going to add a new collection. I’m going to make this one The Best Collection. 

Collections can be driven and determined by users and groups. For this purpose, I’m going to add Brandon over here. Then I also am going to open this to all Confluence administrators that we have. If I hit save, there we have The Best Collection.

Now, if I go to Edit in the Contributors piece. With contributors, you can actually have the Collection managers from other Spaces add to the Collection that you’ve created. They would need to be a contributor here and they would also need to be a Space admin, but you would also need to link their Collection to your Collection that you created. For this example, I’m going to add it to our Warehouse 4. Now I can see everything that exists within that Warehouse, and I can add any Pages to that.

Adding Pages to the Collections, this is kind of where we get our Snapshot Publishing name. I’m going to create a new Page. Where I’m going to go with this is let’s name it, give it a title, put some content in here. One other thing I want to show is I mentioned that we can do the dynamic content and make it static, so I’m going to add a couple of macros in here that we can use. 

For those that use Confluence, they know that with the excerpt macro you can basically share information across different Pages. Entering the information in this excerpt, if there is an excerpt include on the Page or on another Page, that information will get updated a long as I update this information. Let’s add this to our excerpt, and let’s try adding it in. Insert…

We are good to go. Let’s go ahead and save this. We have this information. I’m going to add this Page to our Collection that we created. How I do that is by creating a Snapshot, we choose the collection The Best Collection. I am also going to add this to Warehouse 4 since I can be a contributor there. Just like that, it has been created.

I’m going to switch over to our viewer to show you what it looks like from his point of view. Like I said, Collections are driven by users, so I will only be able to see the Collections that Brandon is able to see. That means that Warehouse 4, we see The Best Demo Show and it looks like here we are. 

We’re going to go back to my admin right and go back to our Page. 

Let’s update the excerpt. This is a cool part. This is where we can show that it is frozen. If I add this and go here, it’s updated. Let’s go to the Collections where we did this before. We have The Best Demo Show, and here we are, our information is the same as it was last time. It stayed static even though I updated the information. 

When adding the Snapshot to a Collection, you’re able to publish it to several different Collections. Let’s talk about the multiple office locations. Not every location has the same procedures, so let’s say emergency exits, regional taxes, paid time off. A policies and procedures Collection can be created for each location. When a company-wide HR policy is updated, this can be distributed to every policy and procedure Collection. 

You can also publish many documents to one Collection. On the example I just talked about, you can house documents from multiple teams like HR, compliance, operations, etcetera, so users can easily find the information they need as long as they’re added as a contributor and the Collection is linked and the Collection manager can add to it.

Let’s look at some other features that we have included or functionalities we have included. As you can see, I have this Best Demo Show version. I can look at the Confluence Page, this meta data is here to show us which version. It’s my Page version because I never hit Re-snap on this, so let’s go back and do that. It’s out of sync, so we’re going to Re-snap. Then we’re going to go back to our Collections.

As you can see, we’re at Version 2, and now it is showing us the revised version. Another cool thing is that we can easily flip back to the version before. If I go to Version 1 here, then it still has the information that we had before. Users can easily go back and submit reports, if they need to easily access that historical information. 

Another thing is that as Confluence would be shown this defaults to HTML, and then we view as PDF, this can be shown and exported straight from here. Whereas before Confluence native function does not allow you to preview it before. If I do this, we can download it, and we can save the document. 

Emily:  That’s great.

Jamie:  Comala Publishing has always been able to integrate with our flagship product, Comala Document Management, which automates Confluence workflows and automates the document management lifecycle process. With this, this feature extends to Snapshot Publishing. You can make sure that your documents are published upon approval and sent to the Collection of your choice.

I would say that’s about it right now. Our solutions advisors can help you with more and give you more information. Thanks for sticking around to watch this. 

Emily:  Thanks, Jamie. That was awesome. That was a fantastic demo. Thanks for sharing all of that valuable information. 

That’s all for this episode of Appfire Presents The Best Demo Show by Appfire. We’ll see you next time.

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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