Integration between Outlook email client and Alfresco

May 6, 2009

Last week I attended to the Alfresco meetup event in Paris. The purpose of this event is to present the roadmap of the Alfresco product, and to show some demos made by Alfresco or some partners.

Among all the new features planned this year, the most promising for us is probably the integration with Outlook (IMAP virtualized repository). We had a live demo of how will looks like the integration between the mail Client (Outlook) and the Alfresco repository. Here are the main principles:

  • Basically, Alfresco will be exposed as an IMAP virtualized repository: that means that you can browse Alfresco using any IMAP enabled client (like Outlook).
  • So you should think about Alfresco as your local Outlook archive (.pst file): you will see the Alfresco spaces (folder tree) as if you were browsing your local Outlook archive directories. Of course, the Alfresco spaces will be stored remotely in the Alfresco repository.
  • That means that from Outlook you will be able to store any Outlook email message into an Alfresco space, and of course also that you will be able to read this message directly from Alfresco repository.
  • Email message will be managed/stored as a new type of document into Alfresco (and Alfresco will be able to extract the meta-data attached to the email message).
  • Also, it will be possible to browse any Alfresco space (from Outlook): that means that it will be possible to see the list of documents stored into Alfresco, and to see there detail description view (or download them) from Outlook email client.

All of this will be achieved without installing any plug-in on the computer.

Based on these technical principles, it will be easier to drag&drop reference to a document (retrieved from Alfresco remote repository) into email message without really attaching the binary file (only the reference will be included into the mail).

This is clearly a very usefull evolution, and I hope Alfresco will be able to deliver it into release 3.2 (planned Sept. 2009).