Alfresco (news, site) has been talking about their ability to support to the complete CMIS specification in the next version of their ECM for a little while now, but that's not all that has arrived with Alfresco 3.2. The latest version of the community edition of their open source enterprise content management software also includes some updated records management capabilities, improved Forms, IMAP support and a nice solution for the iPhone.
Prepping for DoD Certification
Any enterprise content management system worth its salt will have some strong records management capabilities. And to get into government, DoD 5015.2 certification is critical. With Community 3.2, Alfresco delivers some new records management capabilities built on the Alfresco Share/Surf platform.
Alfresco 3.2 Records Management
According to Alfresco, this is the first CMIS enabled records management system. It has a new YUI-based Forms system, new metadata management, lifecycle management, more open import/export capabilities, enhanced auditing and improved workflow to support all those Freedom of Information Requests.
Other features include inline browsing and URL accessible records and Forms.
Alfresco is aiming for DoD 5015.2 Certification this September. But before that happens, an update in August will provide a new Records Site that includes reporting tools and query capabilities. The Records Site will be offered as a plug-in.
Alfresco Records Site
Supporting Mobile Access
Mobile access is another big requirement for content management today. We saw Autonomy deliver it recently for iManage Worksite. Now Alfresco offers it starting with the iPhone.
Alfresco on iPhone
The mobile solution is a view of Share rearranged and designed for the smaller form-factor. The tasks are applicable for doing business processing "on the go".
In an interview with John Newton, CTO of Alfresco, he indicated that Facebook on the iPhone was the inspiration for the design of the iPhone solution. He also spoke to Alfresco's extensive experience in UI design in London and how they determined what features should be a part of the mobile solution.
We asked why the iPhone first and not the Blackberry, which is still used more as a business tool. Newton pointed to the popularity of the iPhone for personal use (so many people have them) and it's task oriented design. He said it was the CIO device of choice. In fact, Alfresco is moving to the iPhone themselves.
Alfresco on iPhone
Integration with Email
Also included with this latest release is IMAP support. You can now look at Alfresco like an email server, mapping your email client to the Alfresco content repository. You can view metadata and do workflow inside your email client.
Alfresco IMAP Integration
Inside your email, you can classify records manually or automatically, do drag and drop classification, use rules inside your email client to classify records and more.
There's no plug-in required and it works for most email clients including Outlook, MacMail, LotusNotes and Thunderbird. It's even accessible via your mobile.
Other New Features
Alfresco Share for Extranets
Alfresco is looking at Share for external collaboration. Alfresco Share Extranets have been tuned to support tens of thousands of users and can be used in the cloud, including with Amazon EC2.
Additional new features added to share include improved image galleries, favorites and enhanced profiles.
Claiming to be the first ECM to fully support the proposed CMIS standard, Alfresco includes both REST and Web Services interfaces. Alfresco also has two committers on the Apache Chemistry project.
Credit Crunch ECM
John Newton says he has seen four of the five recessions in his career and understands the need for organizations to do more with less and how technology changes to support this need. The rational for the Alfresco Community 3.2 release is built on this idea.
"...unveiling a range of new features that continue to build on Alfresco’s ability to deliver low-cost, innovative and interoperable open source ECM solutions."
Alfresco Community 3.2 is available for download now.
Oh, and some of you may notice that Alfresco has named their community version back to "Community" from "Labs". We asked Newton why the change. He said "Labs" was not conveying what they were trying to do with the open source version, which was support the community and provide a "try it before you buy it" opportunity for enterprises. He said changing the name was a mistake. That mistake has now been rectified.