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How to Use Reporting to Build a Confluence Discussion Forum

Posted by Ted Mahsun on November 03, 2014

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The Reporting add-on for Atlassian Confluence is an extremely powerful add-on that can gather data from across your Confluence, enabling you to produce dynamic reports with many types of information. Our customers love it because of its efficiency in delivering reported data in tables, charts, lists and a lot more in the user's format of choice.

Do Something Different

With a little ingenuity it's also possible to perform some nifty tricks with Reporting, like turning a Confluence space into a makeshift discussion forum for your users. This forum would be something similar to forum software such as phpBB or vBulletin.

Why would you do this? Forums are a great way to get your users in one informal space for sharing ideas and discussion.

For example:

confluence reporting build a forum

Building a Discussion Forum

The basic idea behind this is that if we take an individual page with its comments as an individual forum thread, we can then use Reporting's Report Table macro on the space's front page to generate a list of all the forum threads, just like the front page of a discussion forum would.

To create a new forum thread, just create a new blank page. Every time someone comments on the thread, the thread will be pushed to the top, just like in a real discussion forum.

The wonderful thing about Reporting is that it comes built-in with a number of great data suppliers that we can use to manipulate data from your Confluence instance. In this case, we use the Page, Collection and Comment Suppliers to gather the data we need to help us generate the forum's front page. More specifically, the data we gather from within the space are the titles of all the pages, creators of those pages, all the comments from the pages, the timestamps of the comments as well as the creators of the comments.

Using a date-sort macro, we sort the results that are gathered by most recent comment posted.

confluence reporting add-on user forum

This makeshift forum is a little crude and would benefit from a number of improvements. Suggestions for improvements would be adding comment creator avatar images, adding better filters or combining with other great ServiceRocket add-ons for Confluence such as Linking and Visibility to create custom buttons or functionality.

To view this forum example in action, go to the Forum Space on the ServiceRocket Documentation site.

To find out how it was made, on the Forum Space home page, click Tools > View Source.

To find out more about Reporting, visit our documentation site. To discuss this blog post, drop by our community forums and let us know your thoughts!

Topics: Add-ons, Mini Lessons, Atlassian, Confluence

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