Alfresco organized a get-together for everyone this year at the impressive Hilton Metropole Hotel in London, near to Hyde Park. Over 600 people attended the gathering (Alfresco employees, partners, customers, community members…) so there was a lot of lively networking going on during the coffee breaks.
On Tuesday we began work with the Hack-a-thon on two initiatives: the integration of TogetherJS in Alfresco and the integration of Alfresco with AWS Glacier. In the first project we started from scratch and managed to get an initial integration in the Alfresco Share interface as well as designing the service structure, model, webscripts and actions required to store chats in a separate Store from the rest of the contents. But we still do not have a totally functional demo so we’ll have to wait until the next time to finish it. The second initiative, available in GitHub has both the action of Alfresco document filing in AWS Glacier and the action of retrieving contents from AWS Glacier to Alfresco. In fact, Alfresco is thinking of incorporating this feature in the product so that we may see it as a native action in the next versions of Alfresco.
On Wednesday in the opening talk by Thomas DeMeo, he invited those responsible for the new Alfresco 5 features to step up onto the stage to demonstrate how they function: enhanced integration with Outlook, editing with Microsoft Office (with types and metadata), online video editing, new search capabilities, Activiti, mobile apps, statistics, reports… This extensive catalogue of new features will be gradually incorporated into Alfresco over the coming months in successive releases of version 5.
After the show we attended the session led by Roy Wetherall, who explained how to extend the Alfresco RM module to adapt it to the requirements of regulations in each country. He also introduced the new annotations that are being developed in Alfresco SDK that simplify development work and allow more efficient programming. It was an invaluable lesson on best practices for working with Alfresco in a safe and effective manner.
In the following session, Maoo y Gab, demonstrated the capabilities of the new Alfresco SDK 2.0 which allows the source code to be modified and hot reloaded viaSpring Loaded. They also demonstrated Alfresco’s capabilities for being deployed with boxes and packer even in high-availability environments. These features are a great advance for all of us who develop in Alfresco and moreover they are equipped with totally OpenSource tools.
Following this it was Dave Draper’s turn to show us the capabilities of the new Aikau web development environment, an architecture focused on reusing components and on the accessibility and usability of the interface. In addition, personalization and extension capabilities have been made as simple as possible and there is an Aikau technology website designer that allows the new website or the extension of an existing site to be exported to code. Currently Alfresco 5 only has a few sites with this technology (menu bar, faceted search…) but over the coming year all of the web layer components will be migrated to Aikau.
The first of the Lightning Talks (7 presenters, 5 minutes per presenter, 20 slides per theme with auto-advance every 15 seconds) formally presented The Order of the Bee, the new community initiative to improve the process of users adopting the Alfresco Community version. Furthermore we took the opportunity to talk with the rest of the members of the Order and to begin to identify the work to be carried out by the Add-ons committee (which we are part of).
The day’s talks ended with one by Sergio Rojas who presented ten of his own thoughts on different aspects that can help improve Alfresco performance.
The sessions were rounded off with a keynote by John Newton, who, as well as revealing his trekkie side, introduced us to the concepts that are going to form part of the Digital Enterprise of the future. As a preview, he promised that active folders, although they still do not have a final name, will become part of Alfresco during the coming year.
On Thursday the day began with Kevin Dorr, who showed us how to use the concepts presented by Dave Draper the previous day, to personalize different pages of Alfresco Share employing good development practices.
Next it was our turn, to present ten functions for Alfresco Share that can be developed in less than ten lines. At the end of the session we had an interesting 10-minute discussion with the audience on development techniques in Alfresco, with notable interest from the participants’ regarding the concepts presented.
In the second of the Lightning Talks, Boriss Mejías showed us how to mount a high-availability cluster in Alfresco for the database layer with PostgreSQL, an interesting point of view that allows us to increase service capabilities in the Community version with OpenSource products.
After lunch we attended the last general session, in which the Alfresco panel answered the questions posed by the participants. Once again they explicitly expressed their support of the Community and indicated that they are 100% behind initiatives such as The Order of the Bee.
In the following session Brian Long spoke about the new content encryption services that are being incorporated into Alfresco. At present the full content of a Store can be encrypted although expected that this service will be exposed at a higher layer so that it is possible to determine contents to be encrypted and contents that can be left in plain text.
It was then time for our second turn and the last of the Lightning Talks. We explained how to add functions to Alfresco SDK to facilitate deployment of AMP modules with shared properties in different environments. All of this in just five minutes!
The Alfresco Summit was rounded off with a beer party organized by The Order of the Bee at which more than 30 members of the community were present as well as a similar number of supporters. The party was paid for by John Newton, a kind gesture that also underlines the importance of the Community for Alfresco and the company’s commitment towards ensuring that the product continues to be 100% OpenSource.
We have discovered a whole range of novelties at this year’s event and it looks as though 2015 is going to be busy with all of the work that the Alfresco engineers are preparing. Stay tuned!!