Understanding what Alfresco will be like in 2018

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Lot of people is talking in the last months about the new Alfresco UI technology based in Angular and named ADF (Alfresco Development Framework). This framework, which now is just a limited component catalog, is intended to replace completely the current Alfresco Share UI in the next years.

However, initial Alfresco 6 EA releases are revealing how fast the repository part is moving forward to the new Cloud Native approach identified as Digital Business Platform.

Deploying

Alfresco 201803 EA will be released only for Docker Compose deployment. Currently the team is working to release internal images to Docker Hub, as currently many of them remain private in quay.io repositories. Additionally, Alfresco will provide infrastructure charts for Kubernetes managed by Helm.

Alfresco is going to produce public docker images for Community (hosted in DockerHub) and protected images for Enterprise (hosted in Quay.io). Probably the protected images will be more tailored for specific use cases and the public ones will be simpler.

This deployment strategy challenges Community adopters, as many of them may not have infrastructure to host Docker Compose deployments. Additionally, none of them require Kubernetes Cluster capabilities. Alfresco could invest in building an alternative deploying for these kind of organisations.

More information available at:

Living demo by Sergiu Vidrascu available at:

Extending

Since tailoring and extending the UI by using ADF is still an open issue in Alfresco Community, classical extension approach for the repository will be also different in the near future. The new Alfresco API Gateway, based in RabbitMQ or equivalent, will split the repository services API in a set of “well-sized” individual services consuming and producing events and messages.

Every existing repository extension must be re-developed at that time, as the paradigm is so different that current addons can’t be adapted or migrated. Alfresco could provide a technical guide to make easier to developers and contributors the port of these features.

More information available at:

Integrating

This Cloud Native Architecture will also require a new approach to integration patterns. Alfresco is working on a new service named Alfresco Integrations Service (AIS) based in Spring Cloud and ready to be deployed by using Docker Compose or Kubernetes.

Alfresco is testing this integration strategy with a Box Connector, but it seems that this component will be also released as ready-to-use for Alfresco 6 GA.

More information available at:

Activiti 7

If you are still reading at this point, you may think that these are a bunch of changes to be tested before delivering a production ready platform. However, since Activiti 7 adopted this approach many months ago and it’s currently near to release a Final Release, the whole Cloud Native Architecture can be experimented in Kubernetes by using any of the blueprint samples produced by the team.

Alfresco is reusing the same infrastructure, tools and architectural concepts for both Activiti & Alfresco products. Probably the full convergence will take a while, but it will be great when it comes real.

More information available at:

Recap

Alfresco is evolving UI and Repository components to adopt the new “Content Services, Applications and Components” framework in the ECM market. And this time they are using well-known products to build the platform. It looks like no other competitor is following the same path, so the unique barrier to succeed could be a long time-to-market. Let’s see if they can deliver their vision in the following months.

Recycle your abilities to deal with that new Alfresco! It looks like it will give you unlimited power!

Unidad de negocio, keensoft