You can say a lot of things about Alfresco, but you can't say that the company wastes time.
In May 2010, Alfresco shook up the BPM landscape by hiring Tom Baeyens away from Red Hat and releasing a first look at Activiti.
In December, Alfresco released the first full-feature release of Activiti.
Those two milestones lead to the logical next step for Alfresco (news, site) and Activiti — integration. Alfresco announces the availability of Alfresco Community version 3.4.e, which integrates Activiti and its support for BPMN 2.0.
An Accidental Masterpiece
Activiti is the brainchild of the aforementioned Baeyens and is a business process management workflow engine that extends Alfresco's existing workflow functionality. The Java-based component touts superior performance and the ability to integrate Alfresco with other business applications.
The funny part is that this integration happened almost by accident.
Since the creation of Activiti in 2010, the project has been branded and managed separately from the Alfresco platform. However, the growing volume of requests from the community led Alfresco to look at integrating the BPM component into the ECM platform.
Activiti is still a standalone product, but this proof-of-concept integration sheds light on the future of the Alfresco platform.
The best person to explain the Alfresco product roadmap is the Activiti project lead, Baeyens:
The replacement of jBPM with Activiti in Alfresco is just the beginning. It's the start of a seamless integrated environment that combines Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Adaptive Case Management (ACM) and Business Process Management (BPM)… Moving forward, our new case management vision will focus on taking BPM out of its niche and opening it up to a much wider audience.”
Be warned. This initial release is directed at early adopters who want to compare jBPM and Activiti. In other words, this is not a production-ready release. Fear not, as the integration will be a part of the next major release of the Alfresco platform, tentatively scheduled for Q4 2011.
In Other News
The integration of Activiti is not the only exciting news for Alfresco today. Jeff Potts, a true thought leader in the enterprise content management space, announced on his blog that he has joined Alfresco as Chief Community Officer.