Monday, October 13, 2014

Alfresco Summit 2014

Update: Alfresco One 5.0 is now publicly available. Read what's new here.

October 8th and 9th I had the opportunity to visit the Alfresco Summit 2014 in London. Alfresco is an Enterprise Content Management System, so the focus is not (just) on web content, but all the content an organisation would manage: documents, assets and metadata, managed in specified processes. Alfresco differs from other ECMs through its open architecture and extensive support of standards.


The Summit offered an eclectic mix of business, solution and technical sessions. For me as a content strategist, the highlights were:

  • Search: The newest version 5.0 of Alfresco will support the newest version of the SOLR search engine (4.10). This will boost the retrieval of documents, for instance by offering facets (or better: filters. I learned managers don’t like the word “facets”. It sounds too complicated) and other improvements.
  • Media Management Module: In the first quarter of 2015 an improved Media Management Module will become available, offering improved Asset Management like Transcoding Services, improved Metadata management and Sharable collections.
  • WCM: Alfresco Web Content Management has spun-off in a separate product: Crafter. Crafter offers full WCM functionality, keeping all useful Alfresco features such as events, workflows etc.
  • Open source SharePoint integration: Alfresco announced it is contributing its Microsoft SharePoint open source integration to the Apache Software Foundation. This integration connects Microsoft SharePoint to virtually any enterprise content management (ECM) system, including Alfresco, using the open standard CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) from OASIS. 
  • Semantic Enrichment: A case study was shown where open source tools were used to semantically enrich documents (read my earlier blog about this subject) in Alfresco. Semantic enrichments can dramatically improve use and retrieval of documents.
  • Activiti integration: Alfresco integrates Activiti, a light-weight workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) Platform targeted at business people, developers and administrators. Its core is a BPMN 2 process engine for Java. 
  • Fred: Our friends at Xenit offer Fred. Fred provides an (extra) intuitive user-interface on top of Alfresco, making the use of Alfresco even easier.


Alfresco already offered a fine palette of functionality. But ECM software often has to vindicate its existence (and licence / support fees) over shared drives or other uncertainties about generic ECM functionalities. The new functions and integrations improve Alfresco’s position in the ECM market.

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