In late September we were struggling to get our product documentation updated in time for the launch of Better Blogs for Confluence. We released as planned on October 1 yet the experience left us with a desire to improve how we edited and published product documentation.
At the time our workflow was as follows:
This approach was good and we knew we could make it a million times better too. We knew that by improving the way we actually created and edited the content we would update the content more frequently and customers would have a better experience at the end of the day.
Alongside our manually edited product documentation website (those text files, yuck…) we used Confluence extensively for ideation around products, updating the team and so on. Honestly, there is no better tool for internal collaboration than Confluence. And we wanted to use that for the product documentation too.
There were a few challenges though. If we just pointed customers to our Confluence Cloud instance they wouldn’t arrive at a branded domain name (ie, it wouldn’t be docs.arijea.com). They would have a lot of collaboration features, none of which they would use. It wouldn’t look like our company website. And it wouldn’t load as fast as the static website that we host on Amazon Web Services.
With Instant Websites for Confluence Cloud we combined the best aspects of our fast, mobile responsive and pretty Jekyll website with the best aspects of content collaboration that Confluence provides.
Every so often Atlassian runs the Codegeist competition. When we learned of Codegeist 2015 and the focus on Cloud we knew we had an opportunity.
After the launch of Better Blogs for Confluence we had three weeks to take our idea and make it reality. We switch the technology slightly (from Jekyll to Metalsmith) to better align with current practices and made sure that common macros on Confluence worked immediately.
And the great news is that Instant Websites for Confluence Cloud won! Yippee!