Categorising your wiki spaces

If you’re anything like us, your Confluence site has a large number of spaces. This can be confusing for readers, especially when they see a long list of spaces on the dashboard with no easy way of selecting just the spaces that are relevant to them. There’s a way to categorise your spaces so that readers can choose the subset that they are interested in. I’ve started organising the spaces on our documentation wiki — here’s what I’m up to.

In brief: Decide how you want to categorise your spaces. Then go to “Space Admin” > “Space Labels” for each space and add the relevant “space category”. Now your readers can see a categorised list of spaces on the dashboard and in the space directory.

I’m using Confluence 3.5.2. The space directory and space categories were introduced in Confluence 3.5.

Categorising the spaces

Our documentation wiki has a number of spaces containing user guides for each product. The wiki also has a set of spaces containing developer guides, as well as a number of spaces that do not contain technical documentation.

It therefore makes sense for us to have at least the following categories:

  • A category called “documentation”, listing the latest documentation spaces for each product.
  • A category called “development”, listing the spaces containing API and plugin guides for developers.
  • A category for each product, such as “JIRA”, “Confluence”, “Crowd”, and so on.

The categories are fluid to some extent. People will add new ones and remove obsolete ones as time goes on.

Adding a space to a category is the same thing as adding the category to the space.

  • Go to “Browse” > “Space Admin”.
  • Click “Space Labels” in the left-hand navigation bar.
  • Type the category under the heading “Space Categories” and click “Add”.
Categorising your wiki spaces

Categorising a space (click image to enlarge)

The space directory

The “space directory” is visible to all readers of the wiki. Just click “Browse” > “Space Directory”. People can choose to see all the spaces, or to limit their list to just one category. They can further reduce the list by typing text into the “Filter” box.

Here’s our space directory as at today 🙂 showing the “Documentation” category. I’ve added spaces into that category just by adding the space category “documentation” to each space, as described above.

Categorising your wiki spaces

The "Documentation" category on our wiki

Here’s the “Development” category:

Categorising your wiki spaces

The "Development" category on our wiki

Categories on the dashboard

Now that we’ve categorised our spaces, people can choose to view the spaces by category on the dashboard too. Here’s the list of spaces on the dashboard, with the “Category” tab and the “Documentation” category selected.

Categorising your wiki spaces

Categorised spaces on the dashboard

Here’s the list of recent updates on the right-hand side of the dashboard, with the “Space Categories” tab and the “Documentation” category selected.

Categorising your wiki spaces

Recent updates for spaces in the "Documentation" category

Seeing it in action

Here’s a link to the space directory on our documentation wiki and the dashboard.

More ways of using space categories?

Space categories have been around for a while in Confluence. In an earlier incarnation, they were called “team labels”. Up to now, they haven’t been used for very much. Even now, the functionality built on them is cool but not immensely exciting.

I guess you can see Confluence in two ways. One is as the web interface and supporting backend, as supplied by Atlassian. The other is as an extensible platform that plugin developers and API programmers can build upon.

So… now Confluence has “space categories”. Are there any exciting things we could do with this metadata, particularly from the point of view of Confluence as a documentation platform? Hmmm…. thinking…. 😉


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 24 April 2011, in Confluence, technical writing, wiki and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hello,

    i want to say thank you for a great job you’ve done on your blog.
    I have a software download website and I also write articles for people to help them with their hardware and software. Is it possible to place this article on your blog as a guest post?

    Andy G.

    • Hallo Andy
      Thank you for your comment and for the offer to write a guest post. My blog is all about technical writing, so I’m not sure whether your post would fit in with the content of the other posts. If you let me know more about what you’d like to write, I’ll take a look.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: