Book Image

Atlassian Confluence 5 Essentials

By : Stefan Kohler
Book Image

Atlassian Confluence 5 Essentials

By: Stefan Kohler

Overview of this book

Every idea, concept, and project needs documentation, which is traditionally kept in a variety of documents on different devices. Confluence 5 centralizes that documentation and provides it in one single location, available from almost any device and location. Atlassian Confluence 5 Essentials is a practical, hands-on guide explaining not only how to install and administrate Confluence, but also everything you need to create, share, and collaborate on your documentation. This book will give you everything you need to get started with Confluence. Before you can start creating content, Confluence needs to be available. That is exactly where we start with this book; installing Confluence. Through a number of clear, practical exercises you will go from installation and administration, to creating content and involving your teammates. This book will teach you how to quickly create compelling content. You will learn how to involve your teammates in the process, using the Confluence workbox and share features. You will learn how Confluence can be customized with regards to look and feel, extra functionality, and integration with other tools, so that there is nothing in your way when you want to introduce Confluence 5 within your organisation. If you need to develop better collaboration on mission critical projects, then this book is for you!
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Atlassian Confluence 5 Essentials
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Installation options

Confluence is a Java-based web application, developed using many open standards and libraries. For this reason, it is able to run on many different operating systems, databases, and application servers. We will take a closer look at the options we have, and make an informed decision on what would work best in our situation.

Standalone and WAR distributions

First, we need to decide on the distribution. Confluence comes in three distributions:

  • One-click installer

  • Standalone bundled with Apache Tomcat

  • WAR/EAR distribution

With regard to the application, there is no difference between the three distributions. The installer and standalone distributions are bundled with Apache Tomcat, which means we don't have to install and configure an application server ourselves. These distributions also come with an embedded in-memory database that can be used for evaluation purposes.

The installer is a very handy wrapper around the standalone bundle, automating all the steps we normally would have to perform manually. This is great when evaluating Confluence, but it doesn't give us much insight into the steps involved in maintaining our installation. For this reason, we will use the standalone distribution later, when we're going to install Confluence ourselves.

If you already have a running J2EE application server, or are experienced in installing and tuning one, the WAR distribution could be something for you. Due to differences between application servers, you are required to build the final deployment artifact with the provided build scripts. Once the artifact is built, you can deploy Confluence just like any other Java web application.

Operating systems

Confluence officially supports Microsoft Windows and Linux (all the distributions). Mac OS is supported only as a client platform. The choice of which operating system to run Confluence on is mostly a matter of preference based on expertise, and in most cases, there is an existing IT infrastructure with specific requirements.

If you do not have any preferences and would like to keep the initial costs down, Linux would be a good choice as there are no license fees involved. If you have more then 4 GB of memory on your server, make sure to pick a 64-bit version.


Confluence stores all its data in a relational database. The embedded in-memory HSQLDB database is only available for evaluation purposes, and should never be used in production environments. To limit the risk of data corruption, it's important that we use an enterprise database for production systems.

Confluence supports most relational databases available today. There will be no noticeable differences during the installation and configuration of Confluence. Just like the operating systems, your choice of database will come down to personal preference or IT standards within your organization. If you are using Windows as your operating system, the most likely choice would be Microsoft SQL Server. If you are using Linux, then you should consider PostgreSQL, MySQL, or Oracle.

The following table summarizes the list of databases currently supported by Confluence 5.1. It's worth mentioning that both PostgreSQL and MySQL are available as open source (free) products, making them excellent options if you are looking to minimize your initial investments.


Supported version


8.4, 9.0


5.1, 5.5

Microsoft SQL Server

2005, 2008, 2008 R2


11.1, 11.2


(for evaluation purposes only)

Application servers

Confluence requires a J2EE-compatible application server. The only officially-supported application server is Apache Tomcat. Fortunately, Apache Tomcat is an open source product and available for every operating system.

Confluence 5.1 will only support Tomcat 6.0.