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Community Innovation

I am pleased to announce the winner of the 2011 Dashlet Challenge: Florian Maul. Florian turned in a really cool dashlet called Gallery Plus. It shows the images that reside in your Share site arranged in a really nice flow layout (like Google Plus does). And it allows you to turn any folder into an “album”. The album is then shown as if it contains a stack of your images which then “fan out” on mouseover. I personally also liked the image preview with the integrated comment form. Florian has a bunch of screen shots available on his Google Code site so check them out, the download the dashlet to spruce up your Share site.

Mike Vertal, of Rivet Logic, and Will Abson of Alfresco (and Share Extras) were my fellow judges. Our job was tough–we had several strong contenders to choose from. Here are some that the judges found particularly compelling:

  • Bertrand Forest submitted the Recent Comments Dashlet. Recent Comments does what it sounds like–it shows the most recent comments that have been created in a Share site. The judges liked this one because it plugged a hole in the product.
  • Jan Pfitzner submitted Tag Query Dashlet, which shows a list of the documents in your Share site that match a specified tag. Tag Query Dashlet is another example of a simple dashlet that’s extremely useful.
  • Denis Genard submited a dashlet called Activity Stats that displays cool charts about what’s going on in your site or sites. You can filter the reports by the type of activity (documents added, created, updated, etc.), site, person, and time period.
  • One submission the panel of judges found particularly brave was the Jira Issues Dashlet from Simon Buckle. It was the only one that dared call out to an external service. This dashlet would be very useful to teams using Share to collaborate that also monitor ticket queues in Jira.

These, along with Florian’s submission, round out the judges’ Top Five submissions. In recognition of that, all five have received free DevCon passes. So, if you come to DevCon maybe you’ll be able to quiz these developers about their dashlets, in-person.

Will Abson noted how much diversity there was in the submissions. Some developers kept it simple while others went for more complex solutions. Some used Java, others used JavaScript. Some of the dashlets presented existing Share site data in new and interesting ways while others pulled external data to display in their dashlet. Developers also used a variety of build and packaging approaches, which highlighted to me that we could do a better job explaining and promoting best practices on that topic. (Actually, I should mention that we’ll be talking about that at DevCon in San Diego and London–early-bird registration ends Friday).

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2011 Dashlet Challenge. Florian Maul picks up a new iPad for his efforts. But all of the participants have given us a lot of insight into the types of dashlets people want to create in Share and how developers might choose to package those. My team will be using that information as important input as we start adding new sites and product enhancements that will make it easier for developers to contribute add-ons and for others to find those add-ons and drop them into their Alfresco installations.

About the author

Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts is the Chief Community Officer of Alfresco Software. Jeff has been working with Alfresco since 2005 and has 20 years of content management, document management, and collaboration experience. Jeff wrote the first developer-focused book on Alfresco, the Alfresco Developer Guide, and recently co-authored CMIS & Apache Chemistry in Action. Follow Jeff on his blog at http://ecmarchitect.com.

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