6 reasons to embrace XWiki as an open-source alternative to Confluence

30 Jun 2023 5 min read

Written by

Dorina Anton

, Marketing Specialist

As you can imagine, transitioning from one tool to another can be challenging. This process entails many resources that become prerequisites to the migration itself:

  • Understanding your teams' needs and centralizing the information;
  • Researching your options;
  • Multiple rounds of internal discussions and feedback;
  • Testing the tools;
  • Comparing offers;
  • Last but not least: the final decision.

If that list looks even remotely familiar, it's also needless to mention how fast the business landscape and companies' needs are changing. This is why we believe flexibility, customization, choice of deployment, and cost-effectiveness are essential parts of the product offer.

While we have previously discussed how to migrate from Confluence to XWiki, we'd like to find the answer to these questions: "Is migrating to an open-source alternative worth investing in?" and "Is the quality of an open-source alternative as good as <<traditional>> alternatives?"

Naturally, there is no one-fits-all solution, meaning that the magic tool that is the answer to all the companies in the world's problems has not yet been invented. This is where we come in to help with the top reasons why XWiki might be the open-source wiki alternative to Confluence your company is looking for.

TL;DR: open-source wiki alternative to Confluence, self-hosted or cloud, self-migrate from Confluence to XWiki, extensibility, customization, dedicated support team, no data or vendor lock-in & costs reduction

Customizable wiki alternative to Confluence

While Atlassian's Confluence is a popular go-to software for knowledge management and collaboration, it's not necessarily the perfect solution that checks all the right boxes for all companies. Testimonials from clients who chose to migrate from Confluence to XWiki so far mention the leverage of numerous possibilities for customization thanks to open-source core principles. With XWiki's source code being publicly accessible, you'll never have limitations when it comes to customization. This will allow your organization to maintain its flexibility.

But wait, there's more!

✅ You can always choose to create new use cases. As time goes by and business needs evolve, solutions such as an intranet, extranet, or knowledge base are viable new uses for your XWiki instance. You can create a wiki for teams, a knowledge base, a documentation platform, an intranet, public website. There's no limit.

✅ The XWiki software provides a wide range of pre-built extensions and integrations that can be seamlessly integrated into the wiki, enhancing its capabilities. Users can also develop and share their own extensions, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of customization possibilities.

✅ XWiki's architecture is designed to be open and modular, enabling users to supercharge their wiki and integrate additional functionalities into the XWiki platform.

✅ In XWiki you have multiple ways to completely upgrade the look and feel of your instance and design the desired style and content organization in comparison to Confluence, which offers this only partially.

✅ The XWiki software provides powerful scripting capabilities as well, in various languages: Velocity, Groovy, Python, plus Ruby, and PHP, enabling users to automate complex tasks and create new features within the wiki. 

✅ XWiki SAS provides dedicated services and support that ensure the best conditions for all functionalities in your XWiki instance by quickly providing fixes for potential issues. What's more, we also offer dedicated development contracts for XWiki instances that require heavy customizations and the development of new features.

In true open-source spirit, we encourage DIY initiatives and provide complete documentation resources that enable you to customize your XWiki instance:

Open-source software means extensibility and reversibility

Another plus XWiki brings to the game is actually drafted from the open-source value of transparency: public source code. All of your data is protected through the non-destructive work environment that XWiki provides by having an integrated rollback feature that prevents any loss of information and allows you to revert unwanted changes. This way, your investment is protected from the beginning. Additionally, XWiki has never and would never impose that clients choose between types of deployment, but rather promotes a policy of freedom of choice that allows customers from countries all over the world to migrate either to or from on-premise or cloud deployment.

You can build on top of your wiki instance however you like; use the existing extensions or XWiki's hundreds of RESTful remote APIs, script to your heart's content, or create apps through App Within Minutes—a very powerful structured data feature that allows for the creation of collaborative apps. This last app we've mentioned allows having one wiki page for each entry, which translates into comments, annotations, version history, page presentation, and access rights.

Moreover, XWiki offers hundreds of applications, integrations, and macros that can be used to enhance content presentation, improve data organization or connect the wiki instance to other software that you are using within your organization. As for the core product, all of our extensions are and will always be open source. 

After looking at the competition, the decision was clear for us. Other wikis are focused on documentation with one page in a subspace, while XWiki can be heavily customized according to needs and has many extensions. [...] XWiki is open-source and that was a big factor for us, it is customizable and easy to use as you want. Christoph from VRVIs in an interview about migrating from Confluence to XWiki

Self-hosted alternative to Confluence

With the announcement from Atlassian about the end of the data centers and the mandatory switch to their cloud, many users have been looking for self-hosted alternatives to Confluence. The mandatory switch to the cloud poses implications for privacy and security that many organizations are not willing to compromise on (understandably). Not to mention that this switch has sparked many discussions on various forums such as Reddit and even among some of our current clients that preferred to look for open-source self-hosted alternatives to Confluence.

✅ We understand the need to control your infrastructure and deployment and therefore, XWiki will always offer both the on-premise option and the cloud option. This ensures a high control of your data, European legal compliance for companies that operate in Europe (and not only), and digital sovereignty.

Your data is yours, no vendor lock-in ever

As part of our mission and values, we believe that data privacy, no vendor lock-in, and digital sovereignty should become the norm and that everyone should have the final say in how and where the software is deployed. Proprietary software products and, implicitly, Confluence have this disadvantage. In some countries such as Germany, this poses regulatory issues as well.

✅ With XWiki, you can always choose to move your hosting to another provider and be able to update regardless of the evolving business partnerships.

Plethora of features for organization, knowledge sharing, collaboration (and now task management)

Other reasons why XWiki is a powerful open-source wiki solution are the ever-increasing number of features developed over the past couple of years. Fit both for structuring, data storage, organization, recalling of information, workflows, and collaboration, the XWiki software is truly on par with Atlassian's Confluence and other big tech platforms for knowledge management and collaboration.

Evolving organizations and data complexity also means that copious amounts of information are being generated over time. What often time happens is that the overall instance becomes overcrowded with obsolete information. XWiki effortlessly tackles this issue through multiple features that aid you with organization.

Star features to check out:

✅ Organizing information through nested pages and sub-wikis ;

✅ Granular permission management with the ability to also make pages of your sub-wiki public, with a global view of rights and spaces;

✅ Rich page editing features and WYSIWYG;

✅ Powerful search functionality and advanced filtering;

✅ Full version history and the possibility to rollback to any previous version; 

✅ Multiple options for navigation and finding what you need;

✅ Staying up to date with the wiki activity through RSS feed, watching a wiki, space, or page, following the activity stream, and receiving emails about specific pages;

✅ ...and many, many more that you can check out.


Dedicated migrator from Confluence to XWiki

At XWiki, we've worked in the last years on an efficient Confluence migrator that simplifies the whole migration process tremendously and that now is a non-recommended extension. We're also continuously working on creating new bridge macros that match the most widely used functionalities, compatible with the Confluence ones (31 and counting). Furthermore, thanks to feedback from the XWiki community and the XWiki SAS clients, we've poured efforts and just launched a new improved Confluence Migrator (Pro) that offers:

  • A 2-step migration process
  • Multi space import
  • A clear report detailing the logs of the import process
  • A new, more straightforward UI

Discover below in our newest article the complete set of features and functionalities for a hassle-free migration from Confluence to XWiki. Last but not least, you can check out the post-webinar article for the demo and Q&A session.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use XWiki for free?

A: There is always the option to use the free XWiki software available on xwiki.org and take care of the maintenance, backups, upgrades, development, extensions, and so on. If you'd like to receive specialized long-term support, there is also the option of a paid support contract with different pricing options so that you can do your job and we can take care of the rest such as the maintenance of the XWiki core product and all the extensions through a dedicated ticketing system, and customer portal, and many other benefits tailored to your needs, including additional discounts on setup services such as consulting, custom development, training, design, data import specifically dedicated to clients that have a support engagement.

Q: How do I start if I want to test the migration from Confluence?

A: After creating a cloud instance or downloading XWiki and setting it up, can easily install the Confluence Migrator for free then follow these instructions.

Q: Can I change from cloud to on-premise hosting?

A: XWiki's core value of freedom allows you to migrate all data either to or from cloud and on-premise hosting without any policy limitations. Our dedicated experts can also help you craft a unique plan in order to ensure the best conditions and timely delivery of your project.

Q: I can't find a Confluence macro in the XWiki macros list. How do I approach this?

A: The macros used on the Confluence side need to have the identical macro on the XWiki side so that the content is displayed correctly and the features work as expected after migration. If the respective macro does not exist on the XWiki side, we have to develop what we call a "bridge macro", which allows for content imported from Confluence to be displayed as it was on the Confluence side. In an effort to help users migrate as easily as possible, we have developed the Pro Macros package, which contains the most commonly used Confluence "bridge" macros.

If a specific macro is mandatory for you, we can develop it as part of a custom project for you. Otherwise, we will include it in the internal list of requested features, with the mention that we require meticulous planning in advance for a clear delivery timeline.

Q: Do you offer support for migration?

A: Yes, we have dedicated specialists who can help you by providing services designed for Confluence migrations. Through these services, our Confluence migration expert will assist you in creating the migration plan and setup, fix any issues that you may encounter, and configure your instance as requested. Schedule a call with our specialist for a discussion or contact us in your own time and we'll keep in touch by email.

Want us to evaluate your migration project?

No two migrations are ever the same. Each use case is unique and heavily relies on a variety of factors—from the number of users and spaces to the required functionalities. For a more in-depth evaluation and discussion about your specific needs, and which option fits them best, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our migration specialists.


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