Today the Xenit company showed us a demo of their new “Fred” interface.
What is Fred ?
Basically, it’s a desktop application (heavy client) which provides “windows explorer” like features, and other features like outlook email client integration.
To give you an idea, the UI looks like an Instant Messaging windows, which display a windows folder tree structre.
Technically the client side is based on .Net, and the communication with Alfresco servers involves Alfresco REST API (as well as a Fred “connector” which should be installed on server side).
Clearly the target is to provide an alternative to the windows explorer client which is of course well known by users, but which uses the CIFS protocole (which is too verbose to be used on WAN).
With first release of Fred’s interface, one can:
– drag&drop of files or emails (from windows to Alfresco).
– update/read meta-data,
– configure/bookmark a prefered root space folder,
– easily get and send by email the link to an Alfresco doc,
FYI, Fred is still in beta version and will be soon deployed in a first client, according to Xenit representative.
Basically, my opinion is that Fred is a very user-friendly interface (compared to current JSF web client) and that the REST API approach might ease remote working (vs CIFS).
However, I’m not sure that the heavy client is the best approach for distributed companies (deploying and installing binaries on local computer is clearly very difficult when yo have thoushands of PC to manage).
So first company able to deliver a “windows explorer” like client, based on pure web technologies, will probably will the batlle…