I have been using Alfresco One (version 4.2) for some time, both as a demo system (as we get ready to release) and as our internal system. We typically upgrade to the latest version before any official release to help iron out any issues before it is made generally available. So I wanted to share some of my favorite new major features and the not so major features, that I hope you find useful:
- New User Interface – Our engineering team has been busy understanding how users interact with Alfresco One, looking for ways to continue to make our existing Alfresco Share UI easier. The whole UI has been reworked in this new release and includes simple features such as a list of recently visited sites, which provides a huge improvement in the way the end user interacts with Alfresco.
- Folder Templates – We all work on projects like launching a new version of Alfresco and I find that I create the same folder structures and template documents time and time again. This latest version introduces the concept of folder templates. Now I can select to create a new launch project with just one click. Alfresco will clone the template, creating the folders and sub-folders, adding any template documents, user access rights and any associated rules / actions. One click and my new project area is created and ready to go.
- Hybrid Workflow – Last year we launched Alfresco One (version 4.1) that included the ability to sync files with a secure network in the cloud. Our hybrid ECM capability between cloud and on-premise environments, is taken one stage further in this new version. Now a user can start a workflow on-premise and assign a task to a user in the cloud. These users typically do not work for the company, but are workers from an outside agency that you are working on a project with and need to complete an important task. Alfresco sync’s the files, manages the task assignment and when complete brings the business process back on-premise.
- My Files and Shared Files – Often I want to have Alfresco manage a document, presentation, report, etc. that I am working on, but I may not be ready to share it with others. Enter ‘My Files’. Each user now has a link to a personal folder where they can start creating content. Once they have done that they can simply move the file to one of the various projects for sharing and collaborating with others. If I want to simply share a file, but do not want to create a site to store it this feature lets me easily add it to the ‘Shared Files’ folder.
- Quick Share – I’m sharing documents with colleagues daily and our ‘Quick Share’ feature provides an easy way for me to send a link to a document (i.e. via email or Skype ) without having to take the file out of Alfresco and email it or post it to the network shared drive.
- New Views – Alfresco One version 4.2 sees Alfresco Share get a number of additional views. To complement the Detailed and Simple views we now have:
- Gallery View – Provides a thumb nail of the files in a folder
- Film Strip View – A scrollable window that shows large images of the files and documents – often it is easier to find a document by recognizing it from it’s front page
- Table View – A spreadsheet view that means more documents and metadata, can be seen on the screen
- Audio and Media Views – Provides a concise view for media files, showing important metadata in a tabular form
- Google Docs Integration – Not a new feature, but a greatly improved feature. Users can simply choose to ‘Edit in Google Docs’ to load the files to Google Docs, edit them on-line and when done, save back to Alfresco
- Fine Grained Permissions – Users now have far greater control over who can access their documents. Settings can be set on a folder or a single file and permissions can be set for an individual of a group of users. For example, senior managers can see all the files in a folder, while other users only get to see less restricted content, your choice.
- New Admin Screens – New admin screens is not a feature that will affect most users directly, but a major enhancement for anybody trying to install, configure and keep the Alfresco server running. Now admins can configure and test links to other services (e.g. LDAP/Active Directory for user authentication) or simply add extra nodes into an Alfresco cluster.
- Alfresco Records Management 2.1 – To go along with the launch of this version of Alfresco One, Alfresco made available a new version of the Alfresco Records Management module. Aimed at making Records Management easy, this is a significant new release.
These are just a few of my favorite features in our new release, but there are many more! I look forward to meeting at Alfresco Summit and hearing how you are putting these new features to work and which you like best.