Confluence as DMS - Part 2: Attachment check-in/check-out with Arsenale Lockpoint

In my previous blogpost, I explained how GoEdit can be used to turn Atlassian Confluence from a premium collaboration tool into an easy-to-use document management system. But there was still one issue to resolve: How can you prevent users from editing attachments concurrently?

In this blog post, we will look at another useful add-on that solves this dilemma and integrates seamlessly with GoEdit.

Protecting files from concurrent editing

GoEdit has made it possible to edit attachments with a single mouse click – so it’s only a matter of time until some Confluence users start editing the same file simultaneously. And they won’t even realize they’re doing it!

You don’t need to be a fortune teller to know that this will lead to versioning chaos. The end result will either involve changes being lost, or a tricky and perilous file merge. And chaos is the exact opposite of what we want for our Confluence file storage.

Instead, what we want is:

  • an easy way for people to edit attachments one after the other
  • to be able to see if an attachment is currently being edited
  • file check-out and check-in functionality (not included in Confluence by default) 

Fortunately, there’s an add-on for this, too. Arsenale Lockpoint locks attachments during editing – and lets you unlock them again afterwards with just one click. 

How Arsenale Lockpoint works

After installing the add-on from the Atlassian Marketplace, I started a free 30-day trial of Arsenale Lockpoint and enabled it to work in all relevant Confluence spaces. When I open a page or blog post in Confluence and switch to the attachments table, I can see that Arsenale Lockpoint has added a “Lock to Edit” link to each file.

Checking out Confluence attachments and locking them

After clicking “Lock to Edit”, I’m shown an “Unlock” link and a little lock icon. Both indicate that “Planning.xslx” is now reserved exclusively for me. I have just checked out my first attachment.

Oh – I just noticed that one of my colleagues has locked the other attachment, “Word.docx”. A lock icon has now appeared next to that file as well, and the “Lock to Edit” option is missing. In its place, I can see a “Notify me” link.

I’m a curious kind of guy, so I hover my cursor over the lock icon to see who locked the file, and when. And as I’m also a Confluence administrator, I can remove that lock in an emergency by clicking “Force Unlock”.

But for now, I just want to be notified via email once that Word file becomes available for editing – so I click “Notify me”.

Checking in a file and releasing the lock

Back to the spreadsheet, “Planning.xslx”, which I had locked for editing:

  1. I select “Edit in Office”, and the file opens in Microsoft Excel. 
  2. I make my changes there, and save the file.
  3. The final step is to unlock the modified file by clicking “Unlock”.

I have now checked the file back in. The latest version then becomes available in Confluence and to other users.

GoEdit and Arsenale Lockpoint as a team

Now, let’s see what happens when the GoEdit add-on and Arsenale Lockpoint are working side-by-side in Confluence. GoEdit allows me to edit any attachment format, not just Office documents.

These two add-ons don’t just complement each other – they are aware of each other. This makes file check-in and check-out even simpler.

When I click “Edit Attachment” – the additional link that GoEdit provides once installed – the file is locked automatically, so I don’t need to click “Lock to Edit” first.

And after I have edited my spreadsheet file in Microsoft Excel, and updated the attachment by clicking “Save permanently”, the file is unlocked automatically.

Isn’t that neat?

Licensing issues

Arsenale Lockpoint could be the perfect add-on for Confluence. However, it is a “Paid-via-Vendor’ add-on. This makes the acquisition process unnecessarily complicated, as you can’t obtain a full license through the Atlassian Marketplace directly. The add-on is free of charge for Confluence installations with 10 or 25 users, but you have to fill out an order form to receive a one-year license.

Larger license volumes must be purchased on the Arsenale website – via credit card only. If credit card payment is not an option for you, please get in touch with us at sales@k15t.com. We will handle the payment process on your behalf.

Other document management add-ons

There are various add-ons for document management and attachment handling in Confluence. Check out the DMS add-ons in the Atlassian Marketplace for Confluence to explore the full range of useful extensions – and find ones that fit your specific document management and file storage use case.

Try Arsenale Lockpoint and GoEdit with a 30-day trial.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email us at info@k15t.com


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