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MediaWiki vs. Atlassian Confluence: Which collaboration tool is better?

Updated: Jul 7


MediaWiki vs. Confluence: Which collaboration tool is better?
MediaWiki vs. Confluence: Which collaboration tool is better?

Teams will always face the task of organizing valuable information, and oftentimes they're choosing between two popular options: MediaWiki and Atlassian Confluence.


What is MediaWiki?

MediaWiki is a free, open-source platform that was developed in 2002. It is powerful software that’s used by tens of thousands of websites, thousands of organizations, and most notably, Wikipedia, which is one of the most popular websites in the world and has over 41 million registered users on the English version alone.

What is Atlassian Confluence?

Confluence is a proprietary web-based content collaboration platform. It was first published in 2004 by the Australian Software company, Atlassian. During development, Atlassian looked to established wiki platforms to develop its own product.

MediaWiki vs. Confluence: Which is Better?

Choosing between Confluence and MediaWiki will depend on your organization's requirements as both offer different user experiences in managing online information. Below we’ll go into the differences between the two platforms.

Search and Navigation

Efficient and accurate search is vital for knowledge management software. Both MediaWiki and Confluence have robust search functionality, and they both utilize filtering that allows users to narrow down their search results to different categories like author and document type.

The differences start to become visible when we look at autocomplete functionality. MediaWiki users enjoy real-time search autocomplete, which even searches sub-pages, allowing the user to find the exact piece of information they’re looking for with one click. Autocomplete is available with Confluence, but only via a paid add-on. This difference begins to illustrate the fundamental differences between proprietary software (Confluence) and open-source software (MediaWiki).

Data Analysis

When it comes to analyzing data, MediaWiki and Confluence are two entirely different platforms. MediaWiki has three free and open-source extensions that completely transform what is possible with the platform. Each of these three extensions serves a different use case. However, all three unlock MediaWiki’s ability to store and query data.

MediaWiki Database Extensions:

For example, at WikiTeq we developed and maintain a database of thousands of microbial signatures. If a researcher wants to view every logged bacteria signature, they simply search or click on “bacteria” and the results are shown. Similarly, if the researcher wanted to create a new page of all bacterial signatures, their origin, and their discovery date, they could use Semantic MediaWiki to pull in data stored on other wiki pages to create an aggregate page that displays data from across the wiki. This later example has numerous applications across thousands of industries, from wind-farm efficiencies by region, to comic book characters’ appearances organized by year.

With Confluence similar pages can be categorized or grouped together, but querying data or aggregating data is not possible.

Reporting

Accessing reports in MediaWiki is done through the “Special Pages”, which are linked on the side or bottom of every page. Similar to autofill, reporting in Confluence is only available via a paid add-on.

The reports in MediaWiki provide information about active users, recent changes, high- and low-use pages, along with many other useful pieces of data we do not have time to cover. To get a better understanding of the reports that are available with MediaWiki out of the box, check Wikipedia’s Special Pages below.

Examples of MediaWiki Reports: