An advice ? It's Time Testing!
This award is given by Alfresco for members of their community who have given a significant contribution in the said month. Mostly, these contributions are in the form of open-sourcing code or in the form of knowledge sharing.
Alfresco WCM has a lacune in their system; it does not out-of-the-box allow content to be “moved” between several environments. Since we tend to develop on 4 distinct environments (development, test, acceptance-test and production) this was a setback for us. Luckily, there was an existing open source project which allowed importent content to be setup as if they were created in the system itself. This project – the WebSitetools – basically scans a web project for content which should be a webform, but isn’t. It then meta-dates and regenerates whatever it finds so the system will see it as webform content.Now let’s talk about you. What’s your position in Capgemini? What's your Role and what’s your speciality?
I ported this project towards the latest version of Alfresco (2.2 E), since it didn’t work on this platform yet. I of course donated the results to the community!
My role in Capgemini NL is that of a technical WCM specialist. I’ve started off working with several Closed Source packages such as Tridion and Vignette, but moved towards Open Source as the first enterprise-ready packages started coming out. Right now my focus is to create a solid place for Open Source within the Capgemini WCM & ECM community, where Alfresco is an example of the packages we can use for our clients.
Not really ... I actually started off as a metrics specialist in Cosmic and FPA, but I wanted to be more involved in the Engineering side of software. I then joined Capgemini and have been working in the WCM field ever since.
Good question, and a very tough one to answer shortly. For me, the major difference is the focus of the product. WCM is focussed on managing websites, whereas ECM is focussed on managing information. When you have a look at what they offer, you’ll most likely find WCM to be XML-based and revolve around editors filling out forms which get transformed into HTML. In ECM you’ll find lots of features for managing documents such as Word, high-end workflow engines, and lifecycle support. In the end, both systems manage information ... but in different forms and with different goals.
We certainly do! We have been using WCM & ECM since the nineties in Holland, consistently adding value for our clients. We offer every consultancy at every level, including marketing, project management, technical consulting and of course lots of expertise. We have a good track record of implementing ECM package deals – even on fixed-price and fixed-date basis.
I came across Alfresco in 2006 when one of my colleges pointed it out as an enterprise-scale open-source ECM package. At that time, I was looking at several open source WCM packages – but was very disappointed at the options. Most were PHP-based, and really not up for enterprise use. We started working with Alfresco early 2007 with a document-oriented project, but it took off quickly as a back-end for several Rich Internet websites. Coupled with for instance Flex, JQuery or Backbase, Alfresco allows (through webscripts) massive feature-rich websites to be built on proper ECM foundations.
We have several case-studies, even though I cannot share them here. Our two most successful projects were based on Alfresco ECM + Backbase and Alfresco WCM + Flex. The first is a fully dynamic community website, the second a static marketing oriented financial site. We are working on another ECM implementation right now which will become a nice reference too.
The absolute strength of Alfresco lies in its lean-mean repository coupled with Web Scripts. This allows a developer to very quickly build integrations or even a complete website on top of it. Another plus is the accessibility of the repository; the FTP & CIFS integrations are very welcome additions to an ECM system – making life a lot easier for both developers and users.
It’s weakness is the interface. It’s a bit messy, and especially the WCM interface is very hard to use for casual editors.
I try to read the Alfresco forums every week or so, helping out where I can. I am sad to say that I don’t really have enough time to do so – my life is quite hectic. I am however active inside the Capgemini Open Source Alliance which promotes and organizes our Open Source based service offerings in the Netherlands. Amongst others, we organize a yearly forum where we share our experiences with Open Source.Finally, can you recommend us weblinks or blogs about ECM or IT in general ?
Erhm ... no. We have a lot of knowledge inside of our organization, but most is kept internal.
I am happy to see an active blog about open source ECM. Most information to be found is for PHP-based system which we dare not implement for our customers; very little open source packages are really enterprise class. We work mostly for fortune 500 companies and high-end government clients, where you have to offer enterprise level consulting. Alfresco is probably the first open source ECM system to achieve this!
Today is a special day! I am glad to present you my first english interview. A real adventure!
The subjects I focused on for these interviews are
1. To introduce men and women playing a role in ECM environment
2. To discover the ECM community
3. To explore ECM Solutions
4. To learn more about technologies and content management practices.
I am delighted to interview today Mrs Nancy Garrity, Alfresco Community Manager.
First of all, let me thank you for the time you take to share your ECM experience and knowledge with us. We all appreciate it!
So Nancy, tell us more about your position in Alfresco Company. What's the role of a Community Manager ? Federating Alfresco world community... Communication... Organizing Events... Facebook representation... ?
The Community Manager nurtures the community. We provide whatever resources the community needs to be successful but even more important; we create an environment that encourages members to contribute. The end goal is that the community “feeds itself”.
Before Alfresco, I worked for ten years at Documentum, a closed source content management vendor. I started my Documentum career as a consultant designing and developing content management solutions for our customers. Later, I was given the opportunity to start the Documentum Developer Program, which I ran for 5 years.Have you always been working in the ECM World? Tell us more about your first experience with content management and ECM ?
When John Newton, the co-founder of Alfresco and also the co-founder of Documentum, contacted me about the Community Manager role at Alfresco, I didn’t hesitate to accept. It was a chance to join a group of tremendously talented individuals, most of whom had experience in the content management arena.
I started my IT career as an application developer for the research computing department at a major pharmaceutical company. My job was to manage research data that was stored in both relational and molecular databases. After a few years, I moved to the software company that provided the molecular database management tool.
Later, I was fortunate to be invited to join Documentum when it was still a very small company. I had no previous content management experience but was intrigued by the business model and the broad range of applications.
Yes, that‘s a great description! It is social-ready but also collaboration-ready, web-development-ready and enterprise-ready. It is a great alternative to the large, expensive closed-source vendors especially in these times of economic crisis.
One thing that stands out in my mind is the robustness of the Alfresco foundation. Most other leading ECM vendor’s base technology was designed more than ten years ago. Our engineers, many of whom had ECM experience before coming to Alfresco, were able to start with a blank slate. With their collective experience and the best development tools available like Spring Source, Lucene and Hibernate, they were able to produce a high-quality product in a short amount of time.
There is a ton of new things in Alfresco Labs 3. We have a new web development platform called Surf, a new Surf-based collaboration client called Share, support for the SharePoint protocol, improvements to the repository layer and the first implementation of the draft specification for content management interoperability, CMIS.
You can learn more on our wiki, http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Alfresco_Labs_3
I’m not sure that I would go that far but the Share social computing and collaboration client has some great features. You can find the entire feature list on our wiki, http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Alfresco_Labs_3_Share_Feature_List.
Yes, the community is experiencing tremendous growth. We now have more than 74,000 register community members, 7,300 members on the forums and 1,300 members on our Facebook group. Both of our recent community meetings (DC, Munich) were so popular that we had to turn away people.
Our awards program is a way to recognize community members for their contributions It ‘s critical to the continued success of Alfresco that not only do we have a large community but we have an active community that participates at a high level.
Yes, we have had barcamps in the past where community members shared experiences and best practices with each other. Starting in November, 2008 we are going to have a series of codecamps across the US and Europe where community members will learn to develop on the Surf platform.
The community meetings are a great way to learn about the new products and features, to provide your input to the roadmap and to network with other community members. Developers should check the forums and Facebook for codecamp details.
I’d invite all of your readers to download our Labs 3 release and try it, http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Installing_Labs_3.
We’ve also put together some great 5-minute videos , you can find them on
YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=alfresco101
and on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/videos/search:alfresco.
Then, join the community and participate!
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!:-)
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.”
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, ...
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.
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.
My recommendation for further information:
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
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/
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.
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... ;-)
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.
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...
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:-)