Today Jeff Potts, Alfresco’s Chief Community Officer, writes on Social Content that the Alfresco AVM (Alternative Versioning Model) will no longer be supported from Alfresco 5. The AVM was an alternative repository implementation in Alfresco to support Web Content Management use cases. It was designed as some sort of version control system with support for repository virtualization. It was originally designed by Kevin Cochrane who left Alfresco in 2008 to work for Day Software.
I am must say that I am very happy with Alfresco’s decision to get rid of the AVM store. The whole idea behind the virtualization was interesting, but having to work with two repositories always caused a lot of problems. The solution was also too complex for most end users. At Incentro we support a couple of publishers who use Alfresco and publishing to the internet is only one of their channels. For these customers we always had to write custom actions to copy content from one repository to the other using the CrossRepositoryCopyService. End users, including non-technical authors, had to execute a copy action and then they where forced to navigate to the Web Project in order to deploy the content to a web server.
Starting from Alfresco 4.0 you can deploy directly from the DM (Document Management) repository to a web server. I haven’t tried it yet, but you might even be able to add a publishing channel to do the job.
Oracle has a very direct approach to persuade customers to move from Documentum to Oracle. I’ve never been that interested in Oracle’s content management offerings. I assume it is the former Stellent product and I have no idea to what extend they invest in the further development of this product. But I am glad I moved away from Documentum in 2006 to focus on Alfresco’s open source content management, especially if you look into the new features the upcoming release is going to offer.
David Webster wrote a post about some improvements of Alfresco Share’s Calendar and what I liked most about it is that his improvements introduced the jQuery library in Alfresco.
I have been using jQuery for some time mainly to create Alfresco dashlets and I know that many other developers are using jQuery to do customizations in Alfresco, so I am very happy that the library will be part of the Alfresco Share distribution soon.
Thanks to David in the near future we do not have to feel guilty any more for bypassing YUI in favour of jQuery.
In this extensive post Mike Hatfield shares new features and changes in the design of Alfresco Share’s Document Library. I am especially happy that there are quite some features that will make customizing the Document Library easier. Currently you need to copy a lot of files and do stuff in multiple files in order to do customizations that are easy to do in the old Explorer interface.
At the NLDITA 2011 conference Kristof Van Tomme held an interesting talk about DITA support in Drupal. Although the DITA integration module is not yet finished, thanks to the modules available in Drupal, there is already quite some functionality available. Editing DITA documents is possible using forms created with the Content Construction Kit (CCK) and you can create DITA maps using the taxonomy support and Graphmind, Drupal’s mindmap module. There is also basic support for the DITA toolkit to create output in different formats. What I like about the project is that they focus on usability to provide a very user friendly module to author DITA topics and maps. They are also working on providing a community platform to enable end users of the generated documentation to provide direct feedback.
There is currently no XML editor integrated since the current open source offerings are not considered user friendly. I guess writing a proper editor for DITA is not an easy task. Even most commercial offerings can only be used by technical writers who are used to deal with structured content.
I am not sure what to think of this.
Component Content Management with Componize and Alfresco
Last week I attended the Componize Customization Training at the offices of Componize in Marseille. They are located in the Media Park building Belle de Mai in the center of Marseille that houses companies that work in the creative sector.
They offer a framework for component content management on top of Alfresco. It is all well designed and developed. You can use it to produce, manage and publish product documentation, training guides, legal documents or other publications. It allows you to maintain your content as a single source and publish in different configurations and output formats.
Output Processing Dialog
Where possible they implemented open standards. Besides XML these include DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture), XProc, XLink, XSLT 2.0 and RDF (Resource Description Framework). Out of the box it supports the DITA standard and DocBook, but you can configure the system to use any schema.
It offers extensive support for XML metadata management and link management and you can configure complex pipelines to process output. Processes that potentially use a lot of resources run in the background allowing the user to continue his or her work while the back-end system executes the required jobs.
I used to do a lot of XML related projects for publishers, but in recent years I got more and more involved in general content management projects, so I am quite happy that this solution brings both worlds together.
Alfresco is pleased to announce release of ‘Alfresco Enterprise 3.4.0’.
Today Alfresco released Alfresco Enterprise 3.4.0. This new release contains some important new features including language packs for French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
There are several new features in Alfresco Share, their collaboration interface, including advanced search and full support for advanced workflow. There are also some improved options for site visibility. You can now control which users can see public sites to support an extranet use case. There is also support for content transfers between Alfresco environments to enable content replication and the form engine is improved and provides more user interface controls.
With this release Alfresco also moved from Hibernate to Apache iBatis for the storage of objects in the database and for data access. This provides more control resulting in better scalability and increased performance.
Today I received a payment from Lulu.com for two copies of my book Crosswalking: Processing MARC in XML Environments with MARC4J. So far nothing special, once in a while someone buys a copy, but what makes this special is that with this transaction I have sold 100 copies. This might not sound like a huge amount, but for a self published book about an open source Java software library that enables developers to process bibliographic data it is a huge amount.
I wrote the first version of MARC4J in 2002. It is currently maintained by Robert Haschart and is used by many libraries all over the world including the Library of Congress.
The book was written in DocBook XML using the GNU Emacs editor. I produced the PDF output using the Apache FOP XSL-FO processor and the DocBook Stylesheets. Follow this link for a preview.