With the final release of Alfresco Labs officially available, Alfresco believes they have an enterprise content management solution that can easily compete in today's tough economic market. With this release comes Alfresco's first solution for the presentation tier of website development - the new Web Studio.
Editor's Note: The official launch of Alfresco Labs 3d has been delayed until Wednesday, January 21. Until then, have a peek at the new Alfresco Web Studio on us.
They released the enterprise version of Alfresco Labs in late October. Now, the cycle for Alfresco Labs is complete with the final version hot off the press.
Alfresco Labs 3
Called Alfresco Labs 3d, this is the final stable release of the open source enterprise content management suite. Immediately available for download under the open source GPL license, this final version has a number of enhancements and bug fixes.
Alfresco Labs 3 includes the following enhancements to the content application platform:
- Web Content Management: Alfresco Surf - the Web UI component framework, Web Studio for building applications on the Surf platform, REST-based WCM API and Content Deployment
- Collaboration: The Alfresco Share solution includes SharePoint protocol, Flex Document Previewer, AJAX Calendar and Links Directory Manager
- Document Management: Enhanced protocol support for SharePoint sites and workspaces
- Email Management: Email storage with attachments
In addition to the enhancements to the content application platform, this release includes the CMIS and SharePoint protocol support.
Performance improvements include Multi-threaded CIFS support, version information optimization and REST and Web Services CMIS support. Alfresco Labs is a true multi-tenant solution including partitioned content, users, metadata, workflows and configurations
Alfresco Labs has also been integrated with several other solutions including Joomla using CMIS, MediaWiki using Quercus integration and Open Office.
So with the basics of what's new and improved in Alfresco Labs 3d aside, let's take a look at one of the new features: the Alfresco Web Studio.
A Designer for Surf Websites
It only makes sense that if you are going to offer a development framework for your platform that you would also offer a way to easily develop sites using that framework. That's what the Web Studio is - a visual designer for developing websites on the Alfresco Surf framework.
This is Alfresco's first entry into the presentation tier of website development. Similar to SharePoint Designer, the Web Studio is a solution for both technical and non-technical users to create fully functional websites.
You can easily create content-centric websites selecting components, templates, pages, themes and skins to create your website.
The Web Studio also includes in-context tools to work on content through the use of AJAX powered forms, as well as in-place editing
An Extensible Framework
The Studio utilizes the web scripting language for easy site development and is easy to customize via XML configuration files. Also included out of the box are a Site Construction Model and a Site Dispatcher - both extensible.
Add to this, a Developer API and you should be set to go.
Key Advantages of Web Studio
CMSWire talked with Michael Uzquiano, Director of WCM and Network Products and John Newton, CTO, about the new Web Studio. They were very excited to release this solution to help their users deploy surf-based websites.
The Web Studio has some key advantages and capabilities not seen in similar solutions - particularly in the open source world.
Probably the most interesting is the ability to use the Web Studio in a sandbox environment where you can create new sites and/or modify existing ones and preview them without changing the actual production version of the site. Each user has their own sandbox in this environment. This, Uzquiano says, is something you don't see in other open source solutions.
The Web Studio is also integrated to CIFS, FTP, Web Client, REST and the Alfresco Repository Services.
In addition, you directly deploy websites into production from Web Studio, but they are standalone applications once they are deployed.
A Solution for All Situations
The Web Studio is a welcome addition to the Alfresco Labs 3d ECM. Along with now being able to easily create Surf-based websites, you can still deploy ASP.Net and PHP-based websites.
With CMIS integration and support for the SharePoint protocol, Alfresco is clearly demonstrating their ability to support many possible enterprise content management scenarios.
According to John Newton, CTO of Alfresco Software. “This release is designed to be the open source content services platform for all Alfresco and non-Alfresco content applications from document management and web content management to wikis."
It is their belief that, with all these capabilities and the economy struggling, Alfresco is set for big things this year. Is Alfresco the Microsoft of open source, destined to lead the market and bring open source fully into the enterprise world? Or will they spend 2009 like most others, just struggling to maintain market share in an ever competitive arena?