Question

What are the advantages of Notion vs Confluence?

I've been using Confluence since 2013, and in my opinion, it's the best document collaboration tool. Lately, I've seen that Notion is getting trendy. Any Notion heavy user around?

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#Confluence #Notion #Knowledge Base #Documents #Project Management #Jira #Dropbox #Journal
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niteenpraj's avatar
6 months ago

Me! There is thread somewhere here from me asking what people were using as alternatives to Confluence.
I want to use something different for my new company, similar to your timeframe I've been using it for a decade (and kind of as a default) and just thought there has to be something better or more fit for purpose out there by now.

So I decided to use Notion (which I was already personally) but now as a business application.

Here are my notes and thoughts on it, hopefully it's helpful.

Pro's:

  • Way more lightweight and flexible both in coding structure and practicality. The block system really works for me personally and makes my documents far more comprehensive, richer and quicker to build. Rather than having to Google "how do I do x/y in confluence"
  • Actual decent (web) apps for multiple platforms.
  • Dark mode!
  • Permissions levels are pretty granular on the free plan which is nice.
  • The pre built templates are a ** really ** useful for just getting docs started with some structure.
  • I love the ability to fully seperate out workspaces and the ability to have them as ringfenced private *Notion.so are actually responsive as a company https://www.notion.so/What-s-New-157765353f2c4705bd45474e5ba8b46c

Con's:

  • Permissions levels are fiddly. *It's slightly more expensive than Confluence ($8 per team member, on the team plan).
  • Not a fan that SAML is only available on the enterprise plan. Considering that some small companies are tech/security first in terms of stack, not being able to tie this to my auth (without having to pay $20 per member) is likely to be a deal breaker for me (eventually).
  • It's still an immature product in comparison but that's the trade off for it being nimble and aglie in releases. Small things like it doesn't have a consistant spell check sometimes really bugs me.
  • All the pages by default are editable which is kind of annoying. There is no publish and then edit workflow. Instead you have to "Database Lock" the page which isn't intuitive for everyone.

Overall I really like it and will continue to use it.

Like with any change and long period of time, you need to invest the time and have a growth mindset to really reap the benefits and get it into a state where it's useful for you. I would say this has taken my in the region of 8-10 hours for it to be V1 and useful for me day to day.

This is where Confluence is quite good when starting out with it's vanilla product, you can pick up and go, then come back later to customise.

I should note that I'm currently using the Personal plan and so don't have the full functionality of some useful items such as:

"Admin Tools" (because I am the only admin at the moment)
"Advanced permissioning" (workspace rules, disable external sharing etc.) but I'm still happy with it and I am one hell of a pendantic person when it comes to my tooling! :)

16 points
GorkaPuente's avatar
@GorkaPuente (replying to @niteenpraj )
6 months ago

Great summary, gonna try it myself :)

2 points
thedatadavis's avatar
@thedatadavis (replying to @niteenpraj )
6 months ago

This is an excellent summary, thank you.

2 points
faruque's avatar
6 months ago

I started looking into Notion as a possible alternative for my personal Evernote. While I did evaluate Notion as a Confluence alternative for work, Confluence was still the better option .

From my evaluation it came down to a few key items:

  1. Integration with Atlassian - If you use Jira, Jira Service Desk, and BitBucket then Confluence is a natural fit. Everything just meshes nicely means you can build real-time status documents by pulling in information across the Atlassian eco-system.

  2. Plugins - https://marketplace.atlassian.com/search?hosting=cloud&product=confluence - The plugin marketplace is really useful. Being able to bring in Balsamiq, Draw.io, Presenter, and so many others makes it a powerful tool. And because the billing is integrated into a single invoice, it significantly reduces admin/accounting paperwork.

  3. Costs - my team, including myself, is exactly 10 users. As long as it's 10 or fewer, it costs a flat rate of $10. (Same also applies for Jira too).

10 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @faruque )
6 months ago

Confluence now has even more of an advantage on the price side, as Atlassian recently made all their base plans free instead of $10.

3 points
christine__zhu's avatar
6 months ago

I use Confluence at work, Notion for personal.

I’ve used Notion the odd times for quick/presentable internal documentation, which easily converted many coworkers to Notion. However, Atlassian’s enterprise-entrenchment moat is too strong to break, since we run engineering on Jira, we’ll have to keep Confluence.

That said, Notion is undoubtedly a superiorly designed product. A no-brained for a startup/small team. Perhaps one day that superior experience plus some future integrations with project management software will provide compelling enough productivity improvements to tip the scale for Atlassian-entrenched enterprises to switch?

Would be curious if anyone experienced switching a large team from Confluence to Notion!

9 points
GorkaPuente's avatar
@GorkaPuente (replying to @christine__zhu )
6 months ago

Hi Christine,

I've not tried yet Notion, but I'm gonna start to have a better idea of everything people is commenting here. Really good insights.

In what aspects do you think it's better designed?

3 points
christine__zhu's avatar
@christine__zhu (replying to @GorkaPuente )
6 months ago

It gives the freedom of designing your notes with mainly keyboard commands, intuitive and polished.

4 points
MMarahatta's avatar
6 months ago

I use Notion personally to organize everything(well, almost everything). I prepare documents, colaborate when necessary and then release. Let's say Notion is a platform where you can build your own specific set of tools to help solve your problems. I also love the neat and clean feature of it. The only thing I almost hate about it is, it's not offline ready at all. I use it for my todos as well and when it's completely online well it kinda sucks.

I've come across a tool called Roam as well(https://roamresearch.com/) I've been trying to catchup with it and make it work as I want, the idea is pretty neat and seems cool as well.

I've used Confluence as well, but personally I find Notion more flexible and easy maybe(not so sure)

7 points
mark_matta's avatar
6 months ago

I prefer Notion for its similarities with Google products (real time collaboration, full screen focus, etc) but also for all of their simple add-ons such as tables, views, etc

5 points
jonny_novikov's avatar
6 months ago

Notion is a fantastic tool both for general and specific purposes (engineering, design, product management, knowledge management...). The big power of Notion mentioned by @amrancz lies not only in the relational databases but the structured and programmable nature in the first place. If you are or your team skilled enough to extend the Notion capabilities before it's official API - it's a way from good to great tools e.g. take a look at https://medium.com/@jamiealexandre/introducing-notion-py-an-unofficial-python-api-wrapper-for-notion-so-603700f92369 - what about other tools? Personally, I still use Dropbox Papers, Google Docs, Github Wiki even plain markdown. But I prefer not to use Confluence if possible. In general, any tool with import / export markdown works well for me but Notion brings all the beauty of the collaborative work together and syncing works well on any device. It takes time to get familiarised with Notion but it worth it. Keep on writing at least daily entries in a Journal and you will see how your intensions to improve increase.

5 points
_tthias's avatar
6 months ago

Hey,

I think we all agree Notion is superior in user experience, design, etc.

But I’m actually using Confluence for product specs (PRD) and it’s pretty good actually. The native sync with Jira is very useful.

I believe, your final choice is about what you are looking to do.
Wiki : Notion
Something in reference with the atlassian products (PRD, sprint retro, ...) : Confluence

And I just found a new very promising product for Prd. It’s https://www.delibr.com/. Their blog is pretty good also on product management.

5 points
christine__zhu's avatar
@christine__zhu (replying to @_tthias )
6 months ago

Great find, this looks like a promising in-between

2 points
GorkaPuente's avatar
@GorkaPuente (replying to @_tthias )
6 months ago

I just signed to try delibr!

1 point
amrancz's avatar
6 months ago

I'm currently using both daily: Confluence with my team and Notion personally.

Since I use Notion alone, I can't comment on how it is for collaboration. I probably haven't tapped into its full power yet. But I am definitely a big fan of the tool: it's so versatile and it's delightful to use. Notion's big power lies in the relational databases which you can use across documents.

Confluence made some good updates with their document editor lately, but the authoring process feels much better in Notion for me. It's so flexible that I can structure my documents however I need.

If it were up to me, I'd switch my team to Notion in a heartbeat.

Would be great to hear from someone who uses Notion with their team, what the collaboration looks like there.

4 points
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