lundi 20 octobre 2008

Interview : Eric Barroca, Executive VP Operation from Nuxeo

Hello Readers !

Today, I'm very proud to have the opportunity to interview Eric Barroca, Executive VP Operation from Nuxeo.

Reminder: These interviews aim at proposing another insight of the ECM world. They allow us to discover one professional, his/her job, his / her company and its ecosystem and... ECM !

If you want to read the original (French) version, just follow this link :

Hello Eric,

  • First of all, can you tell us what is your role within Nuxeo? Has an Executive VP of Operations anything to do with architecture? Management? Consultantcy? Sales? A bit of each one ?
Indeed, a bit of each!
My job at Nuxeo consists in managing production and delivery aspects (R&D, Software, professional services), corporate strategy, corporate communication, as well as managing legal issues, back office and financial aspects. And of course, I can be involved in any strategic move of the company (critical presales, partnerships, projects, etc.).
But... it's actually quite easy, thanks to a highly motivated and capable team!:-)

  • What are your educational and professional background?
I'm not fond of talking about myself, so... here is my corporate biography :-)

“Self-taught, Eric Barroca has been working on the ECM and open-source markets for the past 10 years, designing and leading critical content-centric projects for highly demanding organizations, especially in the defense and press sectors. He's is a recognized expert of both the ECM and the business-oriented open source worlds.

His impressive track record in ECM projects fuels the vision he has of the mid- and long term evolutions of this market. This real experience is enforced by his ability to identify potential technologicel standards. This combination makes him a great organizer and visionary.

That's how, three years ago, Nuxeo chose for its next platform, some of today's industry standards, such as OSGi, REST or Eclipse RCP. And that's what allowed Nuxeo to offer robust and scalable technologies to enterprises seeing the ECM as their core backbone, to store, preserve and manage information, allowing any authorized stakeholder to share, exchange, enrich, store and find any piece of information, from pure collaborative environment to the strictest legal compliance.

From the 5 people-company it was when he joined, Nuxeo gathers now 40 employees in France, UK and Canada, structured in focused teams, around the R&D squad, that has been established and is still managed by Eric.”

  • So corporate !:o)
    Now, let's talk about Nuxeo 5, your open source ECM solution – or is it a platform? By the way: how do you define Nuxeo 5: A platform? A solution? A framework? Or does each of those match the 3 names of Nuxeo 5: SP (Service Platform), EP(Enterprise Platform) and RCP (Rich Client Platform)?
We've recently renamed and refactored our technical infrastructure to make it simpler and easier to understand. Therefore I'm really happy to have the opportunity to explain today!

Nuxeo Platform is composed by 4 major groups:

  • Nuxeo Core (in which Service Platform has been merged) offers all essentials services: content repository (storage, content model, security model, query, ...), relations, audit trail, directories/vocabularies, lifecycle management, ... Nuxeo Core is our lightweight and versatile ECM core that can be embedded in other applications. It's a really innovative approach for software vendors, enabling them to add content related features to their verticals apps.
  • Nuxeo Enterprise Platform: based upon Nuxeo Core, it is our ECM service platform which proposes a service model and a high level ECM services set: workflow, comments, annotations, picture processing, IS integration (ie: WS, EJB, seamless authentication ), ... Nuxeo EP also offers a full-featured ready-to-use ECM application (based on SEAM and JSF).
  • Nuxeo Rich Client Platform: mainly based upon Nuxeo Core, Nuxeo RCP is a framework enabling the creation of “Rich Applications” (Rich Desktop Application - RDA). This kind of application meets the needs of strong desktop integration, highly reactive interfaces, huge data volume to be processed on the client side... Typically, Nuxeo RCP based applications are connected with a Nuxeo EP server.
  • Nuxeo WebEngine is the latest kid in the family ;-) It's a modern web framework, a "content-centric web framework". It allows rapid development of content-centric web 2.0 applications. Basically we think web sites are now applications exposing content than web publishing, so think framework enable the creation of those new content-based apps. We see WebEngine as the Rails or the Django for content apps.

From these platforms, we plan to release ready-to-use business packages, such as DAM, Correspondence management, Enterprise blog/wiki, ...

  • Before all this, in the early days of Nuxeo, you used to have another solution called CPS. This solution used to be and is still considered as a reference in content management. For the CPS -pros – and I know a few- its key interest relied in the functional richness of document types, newsletters, chats, forums, pics gallery... Which part of Nuxeo 5 lies now this richness? Nuxeo Webengine?
CPS was very much dedicated to create corporate "intranets", but wasn't really a global platform. When migrating to Java and creating Nuxeo Paltform, we did actually focus our efforts on building a solid, extensible, scalable and performing infrastructure, covering the global scope of ECM with a high functional level comparable to top tiers proprietary vendors...

BTW, Most the features you're referring to (pics gallery, forums...) are available as Nuxeo EP's addons.

In my opinion, when talking about DM and collaboration, Nuxeo EP offers a more functional and user-friendly application / UI than CPS.

  • One of Nuxeo 5 key strengths is its plugin oriented architecture through mavenised OSGI modules (for more info: http://www.nuxeo.com/en/solutions/sp/#extensible) It is thus very easy to extend the solution either in adding or in subtracting any components. Let's take the example of the workflow engine: is it easy to change the default JBPM workflow engine via OSGI components?
OSGI is a standardized component / packaging model. It defines the packaging, components, services, names, dependencies between components, class visibility between components, component management, etc.
On top of the OSGI component model, Nuxeo added an extension system, based on "extension points", pretty close from what can be found in Eclipse RCP. This brings a powerful extension technology which enables one component to define the extension points from which other components can register and thus contribute to the configuration ... The bundle of OSGi and extension points makes the strength of our platform bringing versatility and a truly innovating architecture, that developers like.

The entire platform is based upon this principle: a set of components that are extending themselves mutually or that can easily be extended. This is really clean and powerful when you're a developer needing to create an application.

As a side-note, 3 years ago, when we chose this technology, only IBM and the Eclipse Foundation believed in it. It looks like we made the right decision: all application servers ISVs did or are currently migrating to this component model ( IBM, SpingSource, Jboss or Sun). This is of an interesting advantage for Nuxeo to be able to natively leverage the new generation of Java application servers.

  • Is it possible to know more about the OSGI model?
My recommendation for further information:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSGi
- http://java.dzone.com/news/there-place-osgitm-enterprise-
- http://www.osgi.org/blog/

  • When do you plan the release of your next stable version (5.2) and what are the new features?

We're aiming at a release at the end of November for Nuxeo 5.2 GA (which, by the way, may be renamed in version 6.0 – this is still under discussion ; we'll ask the community as well as:-).

On the “new feature” front:

  • a native SQL-based store for Nuxeo Core which stores data in an SQL base using a “natural” relational model allowing to access your content repository data directly at the RDMBS level via common/legacy tools for reporting / Business Intelligence, replication/backup, ERP integration, on the fly data model changes, ETL for data migration, etc. This new store also brings a big improvement in performance, making it one of the fastest, if not the fastest document engine (x2 compares to current store engine).
  • Document annotation service: annotation of document content or of multimedia objects ( pictures, videos), allowing the handling of any document text/multimedia/hybrid, inc. very large pictures ( ie: satellite or medical imaging above 1GB)
  • Native integration API for Flex and GWT to quickly build RIA applications
  • OpenSocial support: OpenSocial gadgets and integration of an OpenSocial based portal/customization engine
  • default integration of Nuxeo WebEngine, as lightweight web framework, based on JAX-RS (Java standard to build REST apps)
  • Nuxeo Webengine based enterprise Wiki / Blog engine, fully integrated with the ECM solution
  • Support of Glassfish 3 as application server, alongside JBoss 4.2
  • New packaging "Nuxeo Light" based on GF3 embbeded to a faster startup of the platform (under 4s for the Webengine light server)
  • Asynchronous job service: easy grid-based asynchronous execution of actions /jobs, thus allowing high scalability (google-like scalability for your ECM platform ;-)
  • Upgrade of components: Lucene 2.2, Seam 2.0, JBoss 4.2, ...

And on the interoperability front:
  • MS Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS 3) protocols support to use Nuxeo Core as a Sharepoint server from Microsoft applications (ie: Office)
  • CMIS and ATOMPub support
  • OpenSocial support

  • Let's talk now about your ecosystem. What do you think about the recent announcement of the CMIS specification (Content Management Interoperability Services)? Do you plan to integrate it in the 5.2 roadmap?
We're very enthusiastic about this spec and are investing to implement it. You may find our comprehensive reaction at: http://www.nuxeo.com/en/news/interoperability/

  • If, as a developer, I want to contribute to Nuxeo 5, what should I do? What are the constrains? Will my code be accessible to everyone?
There aren't any constrains except from following Nuxeo development rules and quality standards (and signing the contributor agreement).
We warmly welcome contributors, either for platform core modules or for additional plugins. Our contribution policy is very open and we're more than happy to work with new motivated developers.

  • How much does the community contribute to the development of Nuxeo 5? What would you consider the most noticeable contributions?
The community contribution represents around 15% of the platform, which is great. If we add the documentation and the Q&A, it raises to 20-25%.
The most noticeable contribution lis Nuxeo Theme, our theme and layout engine. It's been created by Jean-Marc Orliaguet (Chalmers University, Sweden) who've been working with us for 5 years.

Thanks to Nuxeo Theme, our platform benefits from advanced graphical and user-friendly customization capabilities, far above those of our competitors. I's a truly surprising technology! you may have a look at it... ;-)

  • Does Nuxeo belong to any ECM promoting community, either in France or worldwide?
We're currently an APROGED member in France and an AIIM member at international level.
We're pretty active in the different organizations and work groups working on standardization. Within the JCP, we're participating to the JCR2 standard.
As soon as it'll be approved by OASIS, we'll get deeper into CMIS as well.

  • What are your favorite blogs?
Here is an extract from my blogroll related to ECM:

The Aquarium - http://blogs.sun.com/theaquarium
Scrum Log Jeff Sutherland - http://jeffsutherland.com/scrum
Maison Fleury - http://thedelphicfuture.org
The Open Road - http://news.cnet.com/openroad
CMSWire - http://cmswire.com
Angry Bill - http://bill.burkecentral.com
Alan Pelz-Sharpe @ CMS Watch - http://cmswatch.com/Analyst/10-Pelz-Sharpe
Sacha Labourey - http://sacha.labourey.com/
Jonathan Schwartz - http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/feed/entries/atom
Planet Eclipse - http://planeteclipse.org/planet/rss10.xml
High-Scalability - http://highscalability.com/rss.xml

And few more...

  • Do you have a last word for us?
If I may, I'd like to announce our forthcoming first "Nuxeo Developer Day" which should be held on December 1st, in Paris, within the Open World Forum (http://www.openworldforum.org/). We'll soon post the detailed agenda and you're all warmly invited !

Thanks a lot of this interview. I remain at your disposal:-)

Farewell on the Open Source ECM road !

For more informations, don't hesitate to visit this link : http://www.nuxeo.com/
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