Atlassian Confluence Plugins #2 – Table Plugins for Confluence: Table Enhancer
Like in the first episode outlined: Confluence is not Word and the default spreadsheet editor is not Excel. Nevertheless, dissatisfaction quickly arises with somewhat more extensive tables: filtering or selecting content is anything but comfortable — the longer tables become, the less productive it is to work with them.
We looked at the three table extensions for Confluence available on the marketplace:
- Advanced Tables by Bob Swift
- Table Filters and Charts by Stiltsoft
- and the free Table Enhancer from Munich-based TNG.
Table Enhancer, TNG
Let's start with what is primarily the simplest, the Table Enhancer, which is even available in the source code as open source under an Apache license. This plugin has five features, all of which are useful extensions to the standard equipment and has been available since Confluence Server 4.0 v5.2.5 — a plugin Methusalem, so to speak.
- Consecutive row numbers can be appended to each row in an added leading column. These remain persistent, dynamic or independent of sorting. This is useful for long tables, since a position can be communicated using a unique number.
- The second feature lets you define an initial sorting when rendering the table. For this purpose, the ordinal number of the column is stored in the plugin settings. When the page is reloaded and rendered again, the table is sorted and rendered according to this criterion. If desired, the index column can be colored.
- The third property fixes the first row in the table header or the first column. This function is known from spreadsheets: headers with column labels remain 'standing', the contents of the rows below scroll underneath. This is useful because it allows you to keep track of large spreadsheets, even while editing
- Symbolic markup, such as the commonly used ⚠ or ⓘ characters, are sorted according to their alphabetic letter value.
- A mini-feature allows the summation of numerical values in a column. This also works as long as the numerical values are formatted uniformly and the decimal point used is entered. At this point at the latest we asked ourselves: If summation works... could other arithmetic operators also be implemented? That would be fine, at least simple operators would be helpful. In addition to summation, for example the number of elements in a row or column, the mean value or maximum and minimum.
The open error messages and change requests on the TNG support page for the Table Enhancer are inconspicuous and manageable. That's a good sign — although the farmer's rule also applies here, 'a gift horse...' and one cannot be entirely sure whether possible weak points and inconsistencies will not simply be accepted with a slightly resigned shrug of the shoulders.
On balance: recommended. You can't go wrong with this free open source plugin, which adds three useful extensions to the standard table functions. And thanks to Blagovest Trenchev for the second pair of eyes!
The plugin can be found in the Atlassian Marketplace via the following link: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.tngtech.confluence.plugins.tableenhancer/server/overview