Did you know this 3.2r (E) cool feature: Repository Browser from Alfresco Share ?

February 26, 2010

So far (until Share 3.2) you were able to browse only the documents stored in your own “Share Site”.
Now in 3.2r you can browse the full Alfresco DM repository !

For the moment, this Repository Browser feature, provides almost all the standard operations on documents (see below)
but not the “admin” option of the JSF client:
– Upload new files (single or multiple)
– Download
– View
– Edit Metadata
– Upload new versions
– Edit offline
– Copy or Move…
– Delete
– Assign workflow
– Manage aspects
– Change type

One limitation is still that fine grained security management is not exposed in Share.
So modifying the security of documents and spaces which are managed through the repository (from Share) is not supported in 3.2r (should be available in 3.3).
But as Paul Hampton said, most users would use the predefined security applied to the repository (security inheritance can be used on the repository side to simplify the security management tasks in Share).

That means You can browse the ‘Sites’ space to change security settings via the (JSF) Explorer client.
As Paul Hampton said “You just need to think about the implications of any changes that you make”.

For more info, and some screenshots : Paul Hampton’s blog

Alfresco is going to CeBIT to demonstrate deployments of WCM in the Cloud (Amazon EC2)

February 25, 2010

Alfresco will be exhibiting at CeBIT on the 2nd & 3rd March.

Alfresco will be demonstrating deployments of Alfresco Content Management in the Cloud (Amazon EC2).  In addition, there will be Alfresco presentations in booth theater area at schedule times on each day.

Luis Sala, Sr. Director, Product Marketing and Cloud Computing and members of the Alfresco German team will be in attendance.

For more information and to register

Alfresco (Share Form) as a WCM inline editing tool for portal ?

February 19, 2010

If you think about using Alfresco to easily manage Web Content, then this webinar is of interest:

Making Web Content Management Easy with Alfresco Share 3.2

Basically the partner Blue Fish has used the new Share form feature to build “inline editing” forms. (inline editing allow contributors to browse the web site, and edit content “in place” whithout being redirected to another tool or interface).

This is quite similar to what portal software (like IBM or Liferay) already propose for authoring….but here the big advantage (in term of infrastructure) is that you can use a remote Alfresco runtime (i.e not coupled with your Portal JVM) to manage WCM…That means you can do content authoring directly from your production portal layer, without impacting performance of your portal front-end layer.

The form that has been demonstrated was really user-friendly and easy to use…this is exactly what contributors need !!!

Some thoughts about extranet design and customer data isolation (Share vs DM multi-tenancy)

February 9, 2010

One problem you might experience when designing an Extranet based on Alfresco plateforme, is how to isolate the data of each customers or business unit using the Extranet (not only documents, but also users accounts and groups, and administration priviledge) ?

Basically, I think Alfresco proposes 2 distinct solutions:
– Multi-Tenancy,
– Share site.


Multi-Tenancy wiki page

The purpose of MT is to manage a single physical Alfresco instance, but to be able to split it in distinct logical tenants (like partition).

With MT, you have 1 shared database, but you can configure several “alf_data” directories (e.g one for each customer).
(this might be based on “Content Storage Policies” but I’m not sure).

This MT design was initially provided by Alfresco for SaaS provider (which tries to mutualize their infra. cost), to
clearly separate each customers context.

As far as I know, MT is not designed for large scale deployment (i.e you should not host more than 20 small customers site on the same instance)…
Also, if you are a SaaS provider, you should probably consider using distinct “VMWare” servers…with low cost virtualized servers, you can achieve the same goal, and also have strictly separated backup, etc.

Share site:

Alfresco Share

As long as you have to deal with Extranet, Share is likely to be a better choice.

Initially, I think it has been designed as a front-end application to address an Extranet need.

Also, regarding the data isolation, you have the following options:
– You can create “private” sites (actually site can be public, private or moderated). So your documents will not be visible by others users,
– You can use your internal LDAP (for internal employees) + invite external users. These external account will be stored locally in the Alfresco DB.
– If you invite external account, you can configure the format of the login.
– If you use your internal LDAP, you can continue to manage your existing Group, and do the mapping with the Share site Groups (nested Groups are supported).
– Also, you can easily create new sites (probably not easy to add a new partition to your MT instance).

So as a customer (which has to deploy an Extranet plateform for both internal Employees and external users) I think Share is clearly the best approach.