Are you Confluent?

Subject: Are you Confluent?
From: Francis Anthony <anthony2francis -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 21:08:26 +0530 (IST)

Dear fellow writers,

What are your impressions about using Confluence for enterprise technical documentation? I've done a fair amount of research on the topic. Additionally, I am very interested in hearing from Confluence practitioners in the industry about their experiences with the product. I understand that Confluence is highly configurable with macros, etc. My question is: Is the efforts/rewards ratio reasonable? Can it do the things that we take for granted in mature tools such as FrameMaker and Arbortext (out of the box) , such as the items listed below:
* Math formulas and equations
Can Confluence handle and render these maturely?
* Content reuse
What is the smallest level of content granularity? Topic? Or can it
go down to any para tag or even character tag
* Slick PDF output
I wasn't at all impressed with the PDF output that I saw from the Confluence documentation sets. Is ther a plug-in to get slick PDF output similar to the ones you get from FrameMaker or Arbortext, etc.
* Lengthy tables in PDF
What happens when a table straddles pages in PDF. Can Confluence handle these well in
* Cross-referencing across books
How mature is this feature? Can we control the appearance of cross-references? What if I don't want to show the heading text of teh topic I am linking to? What if I jsut want the page number? Or if I want to provide my own custom text for the link? Are these possible?
* Captions for figures and tables
I didn't see any in the Confluence documentation sets. Is this possible? Also, can we cross-reference to figures and tables? Or is cross-referencing
limited to just other pages/topics?
* Track changes
Does Confluence provide a simple way to track and accept changes, similar to MS Word? Or does one have to use the Diff feature?
* Change bars
Does Confluence support the concept of automated change bars, similar to FrameMaker?
* Inline review comments
Does Confluence allow reviewers to provide comments inline? Or is it always at the bottom of a page/topic? 
Thanks a lot.

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