Navigation

Platform News

Alfresco 4Last week Alfresco announced the availability of Alfresco 4 (Community version). This is a significant release for Alfresco and includes some exciting and important new features. I have been working with Alfresco 4 for some time, so I thought I would list out my favourite new features. Remember that this is a personal list and I am sure if you ask others they would come up with a different list of features.

I thought I would use the old ‘Top of the Pops’ style count down (for those outside the UK, think of cheesy DJ with Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ playing in the background). So here is my favourite list of features in reverse order…

At number 10 is…

Activiti Workflow – Alfresco 4 now includes Activiti as the workflow engine. Activiti is a separate Alfresco project, started by Tom Baeyens (the founder of jBPM). It is a new open source Java based workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) platform that supports the BPMN2 standard. There is a huge community backing the development of Activiti with lots of additional tools to help define and test process definitions. But Alfresco 4 gives customers choice – Activiti is provided in addition to the existing jBPM engine, allowing customers to select which is best for them.

Moving up to number 9 is…

Geotagging Photographs – As a keen photographer I like this feature. If a user uploads an image that has location information stored within the EXIF data, Alfresco will automatically link this to Google Maps. Users can now see the location of where the image was taken. I can imagine customers and partners creating innovative applications that will make use of this feature. For example, imagine the emergency services being able to take photographs at an incident, and then being able to automatically link to a map to show where it occurred.

A non-mover at number 8…

Site Administration – Alfresco 4 makes it easier to tailor specific sites for the users. Simple things like changing the name of the document library, wiki, data lists, or forum is going to help with user adoption. Now rather than just being called a generic ‘Document Library’ it can be renamed ‘Collateral’ for a marketing site, or ‘Proposals’ for a sales site, or ‘Contracts’ for legal site. The ability to rename components is only one of the many changes that make site administration much easier.

A new entry at number 7…

New Details Page – Alfresco Share has always made it easy for users to review content online. Alfresco removes the need for users to download files, find them on their desktop and then start the associated application to read them. In Alfresco 4 this has been improved. Much more of the screen has been given over to viewing the content. All the other information (the actions, the attributes, the security, etc.) is there, and the users can now decide which they want to see (using ‘twisters’ to either show or hide information). This simpler UI makes it even easier to review and read content.

Another non-climber at number 6…

New Formats – Alfresco 4 includes support for more formats. This has been extended to iWork files, bridging the gap between Mac and PC users and multimedia files. Being able to review a video or audio file directly from within the browser. Many customers are using Alfresco to manage digital assets – Alfresco 4 is going to make this even easier.

Moving up to 5th place…

Google Docs – Alfresco 4 has integration with Google Docs. Users can now check documents out to Google Docs, work on them online, possibly collaborating with other users in real time. And then when all of the changes are done save the new version back to Alfresco.

A re-entry at number 4…

Social Features – Alfresco 4 includes a number of new social features. Notification Service – Alfresco 4 will proactively notifying the users through an email digests of important changes. Following – Users can now select to follow influential users. Alfresco use the the notification service to notify the users of these new and changed content. Like – Users can now indicate that they value content by linking it. This gives feedback to other users of which which is valuable content.

A surprise first timer enters our chart at number 3…

Alfresco Index Server – Alfresco 4 introduces a new Apache Solr based Index Server. The index server will remove indexing load from the Alfresco servers and is especially useful in a multi-node clustered environment. But, to help customers migrate to Solr, the clever Alfresco Engineers have included the current Lucene as well, allowing customers to decide when to move to the new Index Server.

Held off the top slot, and coming in at number 2 is…

Social Channel Publishing – This is going to be a big one. Alfresco 4 now includes out of the box configurations to publish both content and status updates to a range of social sites. Shipping with Alfresco 4 are links to YouTube, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr and SlideShare. For example an authorised users can now select a video and using a simple one step ‘publish’ action have it published to YouTube. The system will retrieve the published URL and send a status update to Twitter and FaceBook that will include a link to the new video. As somebody who needs to publish Alfresco content to multiple site I can’t wait for us to implement this internally.

And the top slot goes to…

Drag and Drop – I know it is a small feature, and I know that many of the other features are really cool, and many will argue are more important. But having used Alfresco 4 for some time, I just love Drag and Drop. Being able to add multiple files just by dragging it from my desktop to Alfresco is great. But it does not stop there. The Engineers have also enabled users to move files within Alfresco by simply dragging them between folders.

So that is my top ten. I have added some screen shots on the Alfresco Flickr site here. There are many more new features and I am sure everybody will have a different top ten. One that did not make the list was mobile. As an iPhone and iPad user being able to use these devices to access my files is soooo cool. But as these apps were released ahead of Alfresco 4, and can be used with the current version of Alfresco as well as Alfresco 4, I didn’t think I could add it to my list, if I could have it would have been number 1!

Let me know your favourite new features of Alfresco 4.

If you want to learn more about Alfresco 4, cloud and mobile then sign up for Alfresco DevCon where Alfresco Engineers will explore these features in more detail.

About the author

Paul Hampton

Director of Product Marketing

Leave a comment

Previous Post:

© 2018 Alfresco Software, Inc. All Rights Reserved.