• October 21 - Atlassian announce they are setting up European headquarters in Amsterdam.



In this section we want to look at problems, deficiencies and disadvantages, that Confluence has, if you compare it to Foswiki.

The business perspective: TCO of 100K compared to 0

  • Confluence is a commercial software, that costs up to 8'000.00 USD per year.
    • In Foswiki there is no single Plugin that costs something. In Confluence every other useful and valuable Plugin is commercial and costs extra:
    • Example Shopping cart: If you want a fully fledged Confluence implementation with only the above plugins (there are more commercial ones) you will end up with this sum: 8000 + 4000 + 4000 + 750 = 16'750.00 USD in the first year and 14'750.00 USD in all following years. If you calculate that for a total cost of ownership of 5 years you will end up with 0.00 USD for licences for Foswiki and 90'500.00 USD for Confluence. That means, that you can invest up to 100'000.00 US-Dollars additionally in tweaking Foswiki with your own staff or with professional Foswiki consultants and their commercial service companies. Please be aware, that you will need time of your staff or of consultants for tweaking confluence just as well. So it's a true additional budget or saving opportunity to use Foswiki.
    • More commercial plugins
  • Even more costs occur if you think about how a wiki can grow. Today you might only plan to use the wiki for your employees. But what about your employees, that work together with customers. Don't you need a wiki in your extranet some day in the future? Maybe you will even want to have a public wiki one day. Be sure to ponder about the fact, that this situation might multiply your TCO by a factor of 2 or even 3. Not 100K but 300K is a likely budget for large corporations. And again: it's only the cost for licencing. No individual services by your staff or consultants included.

The feature perspective

  • Confluence has no sectional edit.
  • There are no nested webs (spaces) in Confluence yet.
  • The Rich Text Editor in Confluence seems to have some shortcomings.
    • The Rich Text Editor in Confluence does not work in Safari (Applies to Confluence 2.9 for all Safari versions. / In Safari 4 the Rich Text Editor does not work in either Confluence-version.)
    • The Confluence Rich Text Editor is poor on Internet Explorer 6. It swallows complete tables and loses data way too often.
    • The Rich Text Editor does not work with new Browsers like Google Chrome or Opera. (This problem is bigger than it appears at first sight. Those users, that heavily use Opera or Google Chrome are often opinion leaders in technology. They are very important for a successful wiki adoption.)
    • The Rich Text Editor sometimes swallows formattings. The problem can only be resolved with the wiki markup. (That problem applies to the Foswiki-Editor just as well.)
    • The differentiation between the different headers cannot be deciphered in the editor easily. While you see a line in Foswiki indicating a h2-headline. There is nothing as indication in Confluence. That way one often creates empty headlines that corrupt the TOC-overview. (That is a detail though.)
  • Confluence does not have such a feature-rich table support as Foswiki has.
  • Most companies that are starting to use a wiki might not want to start with a commercial product before testing it to see if they will use it intensively enough to make it worthwhile. It is not that difficult to move to or from Foswiki.
  • If you want all out of Confluence you will have to buy additional commercial plugins. They are pretty expensive. For example: Balsamiq mockups costs 50% of confluence alone in addition. This is only one plugin.
  • The German translation of confluence has some deficiencies. See this example.
  • The search for attachments (especially in German with Umlaute like ä, ö, ü etc.) is not working correctly. (Needs more testing and validation.)
  • Confluence has usability bugs in the surface (see this example).
  • Confluence does not allow you to calculate in tables as you can do in Foswiki.

Unsorted notes

  • Confluence has an Office Connector, that Foswiki cannot offer yet. But EugenMayer has created an Open Office Connector already. Maybe he will be able to enhance this to a public plugin? See this feature request for an office connector, to stay up to date.

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Topic revision: r22 - 05 Mar 2009, MartinSeibert
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