Alfresco Community is a free version of Alfresco Enterprise CMS developed on an open source stack. The Alfresco Enterprise version is designed for a larger range of technology stacks (both open source and proprietary) and comes with full support.
Alfresco has often been criticized for being too developer-centric, too heavily technical CMS. According to John Newton, the company’s CTO, in this release users and prospects should see more nods towards not only the technical folks, but the business as well.
Web Quick Start
One of the new features introduced in 3.4 is Web Quick Start. It’s a starter site web application for Spring Surf-based sites, containing an example implementation of Alfresco based on their best practices templated for government, media and entertainment, and finance industries.
Web Quick Start leans back on Alfresco Share for web team collaboration and in-context editing, while trying to convey:
- A - the idea that it can be easy to deploy Alfresco-based web sites
- B - Alfresco is focusing on social content management as their direction for unifying ECM and WCM into one category. Remember sCMS?
Alfresco Share: Social and Collaborative
Document library for portals is another new development for version 3.4, where Alfresco is using DocLib Portlet – a collection of new portlets designed for and tested on the Liferay Portal – to provide access to Document Management repositories and DM functions in a portal environment.
Other Java-based portals that are JSR-168-compliant can talk to Alfresco Community 3.4 as well. However, there’s no support for JSR-286, as Alfresco doesn’t see this standard being supported widely enough in enterprise portals.
Distributed repository replication is now possible with replication management functionality that allows to control read-only replication of content to remote Alfresco servers.
Replication can be selective, from single source to many locations, updated in the single source only – all to provide quick local access to, for example, geographically distributed teams and remove the single point of failure issue with redundant servers.
Office to Web
Not entirely finished (Word-to-HTML conversion will be added later) and with more additions to come in the next several weeks, the Office-to-Web framework in version 3.4 is built using the SharePoint Protocol and CIFS (Common Internet File System) to allow Alfresco users to manage, workflow and publish documents from the office suite interface.
There’s also a new API integration with Google Docs for the same purpose.
Web Services for Spring
As other content management vendors, Alfresco is recognizing the popularity of Spring and Spring Surf frameworks. In 3.4, Spring developers will be able to access key content management services via OpenCMIS.
Alfresco WCM Architecture and Web Quick Start
Search and workflow enhancements are also part of this release. Alfresco Share UI, social and collaboration improvements also made it in the download available to the public.