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Morgan Patou

Alfresco Summit 2014 – Conferences, Day 1 – Status & New version!

Today, I have the chance to be in London for the amazing Alfresco Summit 2014 (7-9 October 2014)! Two weeks ago, the Alfresco Summit took place in San Francisco but unfortunately I wasn’t available at that time. This year, the Alfresco Summit in London is a three day event: the first day is, as often, a training day with a complete day course and the two other days are composed of conferences (General, Business, Technical or Solution sessions).

So yesterday, I attended the Alfresco University training course with Rich McKnight (Principal Consultant of Alfresco) about “Creating Custom Content Models in Alfresco”. It was a really good training, very well presented. I’m sure that a lot of people with basic knowledge of Alfresco now have a better understanding of the general concepts of Content Models in Alfresco.

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The conferences have started today with a small status of Alfresco by Doug Dennerline (CEO of Alfresco) with quite a lot of interesting figures. After that, Thomas DeMeo (VP of Product Management at Alfresco) presented the Alfresco Product Keynote… And here we are, the brand new Alfresco Enterprise major version (Alfresco One 5.0) was presented with all its new features. Of course, I already had the opportunity to test almost everything in this version thanks to the Alfresco Community 5.0.a (there is often little differences between Community and Enterprise versions) but it’s always good to view a presentation of what’s new in an Alfresco Enterprise version especially a major version! Moreover, I can assure you that you will LOVE this new Alfresco version because of the following points:

  • Alfresco 5.0 now use Solr 4.9 instead of Solr 1.4 (for Alfresco 4.x) which involves a lot of improvements
  • Live Search feature: Start typing anything in the search field and alfresco will show you results as you type for documents, sites, people, wiki or blogs
  • Search suggestions and spell check feature: When typing, Alfresco present suggestions related to what you are writing and if you mistyped a word, then Alfresco is able to present you what the word should be (e.g. for ‘Especialy’, Alfresco will suggest you ‘Especially’)
  • Search by facets: A facet is a search filter based on a pre-defined metadata like document extension, creator, modifier, aso…
  • Default search operator switched from OR to AND: A consequence of that is that generally, there are less results to display (which means better performance) and these results are more relevant (better for user satisfaction)
  • New document previewer (faster, better browser support) with a search feature to directly search into the document preview. The new previewer let users crop videos or images directly from Alfresco to only keep important data on the repository
  • An improved WYSIWYG editor
  • A new page for administrators to manage all sites in the same place, finally!
  • Improuved Outlook integration: directly from the outlook interface, it’s possible to create folders/docs, search documents, manage workflows, aso…
  • Improved Microsoft Office integration: document creation, modification and upload can be done directly from MS Office and moreover, you can specify the Type of the document directly from MS Office (even if it’s a company specific Type. e.g. dbi_Meetings_Summary) and once done, you can view and edit all Type specific Properties on your document! All these elements will then be sent to Alfresco when the document is saved
  • Better integration between Alfresco & SharePoint: It’s possible to use SharePoint as a UI (Client) and Alfresco as a Repository where documents are stored (Server). With this solution, all new features of Alfresco 5.0 are available directly through the SharePoint Sites (Live Search, Search with facets, Documents previewer, aso…)

This new major version of Alfresco brings its new features but some others will disappear:

  • The eclipse specific SDK: Now everything is built using Maven
  • Liferay portlets don’t exist anymore. Well, they were not very useful, so…
  • The Alfresco Explorer client doesn’t exist anymore! It’s the turn of Alfresco Share to shine!

From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of other interesting things that will need your attention in the next few months like:

  • New version of Alfresco mobile apps (ATM iOS & Android) with some profiles to completly changes the way it looks like depending on your roles in Alfresco (Business, Sales, Technical, Management, aso…)
  • BI directly in Alfresco (using Dashlets)?
  • The new Alfresco Activiti Enterprise release (a new separate software with its own UI) who let business users write their own workflow logic and create the form they want for all steps of this workflow using a very simple graphical interface

So the first day was very interesting AND exciting! I hope that the Conferences Day 2 will be at least as cool! See you tomorrow for a new article with a lot of other interesting things (well if I have time for this :-P).

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Morgan Patou
Morgan Patou

Senior Consultant & Technology Leader ECM