Developers who are looking for a more robust alternative to Dropbox now have permission to access Alfresco in the cloud through their own mobile apps, and the API is the first of its kind to include CMIS standards.

Jeff Potts, chief community officer at Alfresco, gave a presentation at Oracle OpenWorld Oct. 2, and CMSWire caught up with him to get some details on the release and a glimpse into any future offerings from the open source Enterprise CMS vendor.

File Based Content for Mobile

As is often the enterprise worker's lament, documents don't always play nice on mobile devices. Either they won't open, the formatting is wrong or they simply aren't available outside the firewall. 

"Everyone has these files taking over their organizations," Potts said.

Alfresco in the cloud is now offering a standards based API that can give developers mobile access to the file repository. For now, on premises servers are not being exposed to the API, but that will change eventually, Potts said.

At launch, several Alfresco partners have built their own apps, and one of them is a company called Coaxion. This is a document sharing app for presentations, and Coaxion customers can use Alfresco to store the files they need to hand out during a video conference, for example.


Coaxion users can access the Alfresco in the cloud repository from mobile devices.

For developers who plan on building iOS or Android apps, a software developer kit should be out by the end of October, Potts said. There also will be plenty of help available from the Alfresco developer network, something Potts obviously has a bit of interest in. Potts wrote the 'Alfresco Developer Guide' after all, a book he penned before he even started working at Alfresco. 

CMIS Inclusion is Industry First

Because Alfresco helped develop the content management interoperability services standard (CMIS), it's no surprise to find it in the API release. As CMIS is all about standardizing document management using Web protocols, Java developers who have used it before will find the Alfresco in the cloud API pretty easy to use, Potts said. 

Alfresco plans to build out the functionality of the API over time, and new features will depend in part on what customers are looking for, Potts said. In the near future, however, things like workflows and triggers will be available in the API. That means developers will be able to add even more productive customizations like turning a document into a PDF whenever it is uploaded, for example. 

Developers who are curious about the system have plenty of opportunities to get involved through Alfresco's website or at Oracle OpenWorld. Additionally, Alfresco is holding developers conferences in Berlin and San Jose in November. Potts also revealed Alfresco is working on a native Android app that should be ready by the end of the year.