Book Image

Alfresco 3 Enterprise Content Management Implementation

Book Image

Alfresco 3 Enterprise Content Management Implementation

Overview of this book

Alfresco 3.0 has generated a lot of curiosity with its new content management features. Users have been waiting for a book that covers these concepts along with the security, dashboards, and configuration features of Alfresco 3. Alfresco 3 includes Alfresco Surf, a new N-Tier Architecture, which delivers scalability and accommodates more users on existing hardware resources. This new release also includes a draft implementation of the CMIS specification, and Microsoft Office SharePoint Protocol support. The new multi-tenancy features enable Alfresco ECM to be configured as a single-instance multi-tenant environment. This well-crafted and easy-to-use book is a complete guide to implementing enterprise content management in your business using Alfresco 3. It covers the enhanced document management, a new web-based collaborative application called Alfresco Share, and various integration options with external applications. Alfresco 3 offers true Enterprise Content Management (ECM) by providing an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint, Documentum, and Interwoven. It is the most popular Java-based CMS with over 1.5 million downloads, 50,000 live sites, 74,000 community members, and with more than 150 application extensions in forge. This book guides you through creating smart, collaborative content repositories and shows how to use Alfresco 3 to create more elegant document sharing, better collaborative working, and reliable automated workflow processes. The book also explains how administrators can set up Alfresco 3 for multiple business units as a single-instance multi-tenant environment. Business users can leverage Alfresco Share, a new built-in web-based collaborative content management application bundled with Alfresco repository. It simplifies capturing, sharing, and retrieval of information across virtual teams. This book shows you how to unleash the power of Alfresco 3 to create collaborative working systems in your enterprise
Table of Contents (22 chapters)
Alfresco 3 Enterprise Content Management Implementation
About the Author
About the Co-Authors
About the Reviewers


For the past ten years, we have been implementing various Content Management Systems. We talk to customers who have made multi-million dollar implementations of proprietary software, and faced all kinds of challenges, including vendor lock-in, a rigid code base, and expensive upgrades. At CIGNEX, our focus has been provide value to our customers by using open source alternatives to commercial CMS products.

Alfresco 3 offers true Enterprise Content Management (ECM) by providing an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint, Documentum, and Interwoven. It is the most popular Java-based CMS, with over 1.5 million downloads, 50,000 live sites, 74,000 community members, and more than 150 application extensions in Forge.

Unlike most other open source CMSes, which offered only web content management, Alfresco provided a wide range of solutions to Enterprise customers, with an impressive roadmap. Most importantly, it is created using entirely open standards. This excited us a lot, and we started implementing Alfresco in many enterprises. We became the Platinum System Integration partner of Alfresco. As part of an implementation, we also train our customers so that they are equipped with all of the information required to manage their systems. We have trained many users, administrators, and developers in Alfresco. This book distils the hands-on approach of my training courses into a concise, practical book.

This book focuses on business needs rather than technical syntax. We start by showing the reader how to do something—a step by step example. We explain how that process worked. Then, we explain what other options are available, and how they fit into the overall picture. We hope this helps the reader to 'generalize' from such examples. We hope that you take advantage of this book by setting up a flexible enterprise Content Management System for your company and customers.

Your feedback is very valuable to us. You can contribute by reporting any errors that you find in this book, making suggestions for new content that you'd like to see in future updates, and commenting and blogging about this book

What this book covers

This book will take you through the complete cycle of implementing, customizing, and administering your ECM installation. The topics that this book covers are as follows:

Chapter 1 includes an overview of the Alfresco architecture and the key features of the software. It explains various use cases for using Alfresco for your document management, records management, web content management, and collaboration requirements, and also provides a future roadmap.

Chapter 2 provides valuable tips on how to to choose the right installation for you, and also describes installation of the software and how to start using it.

Chapter 3 gives the basic information about Alfresco Explorer and also provides you with various ways of configuring Alfresco, according to your business needs.

Chapter 4 describes working with users and setting up security, including LDAP and Active Directory integration. This chapter also introduces concepts such as "Single Sign-on", and the daisy chaining of multiple membership sources.

Chapter 5 describes how to use Alfresco as a smart document repository, providing automatic version tracking and control, and accessing the repository from the Web, shared network folders, or FTP. It also includes a description of searching and editing documents directly from Microsoft Office Tools.

Chapter 6 teaches you how to automate document management tasks by using business rules and various content transformations.

Chapter 7 explains how to design custom content types.

Chapter 8 teaches you how to automate your business process by using the advanced workflow concepts of Alfresco 3.

Chapter 9 integrates Alfresco with external applications. This chapter also includes examples of integrations with Liferay Portal, iPhone, Facebook, iGoogle, Microsoft Outlook, Adobe Flex, and the Ffmpeg video transcoder.

Chapter 10 explains how to build collaborative web sites by using document libraries, wikis, blogs, forums, calendars, discussions, and social tagging.

Chapter 11 explains how to customize the user interface and create your own dashboard layouts, presenting content in custom ways that are relevant to your business.

Chapter 12 explains how to content easy to find by using search, content categorization and metadata. It also includes a description of Alfresco's Open Search features.

Chapter 13 describes how to collect paper documents and forms, transforming them into accurate, retrievable information, and delivering content into an organization's business applications.

Chapter 14 explains effective administration and the maintenance of the system for efficient performance and high availability. It also explains how administrators can set up Alfresco 3 for multiple business units in a single-instance, multi-tenant environment.

What you need for this book

The default installation of Alfresco software requires installing the Windows Enterprise version, Alfresco-Enterprise-<version>-Full-Setup.exe, which can be downloaded from the SourceForge project location ( Now, Alfresco is hosting its own community download area, so you can also download it from Select the download package, and you will be asked for a user name and password for the Alfresco content community.

At the time of writing this book the latest version is Alfresco Enterprise 3.1 and the installer file Alfresco-Enterprise-3.1-Full-Setup.exe is approximately 350 MB in size.

This installer will install:

  • Java Development Kit (JDK) [If no JDK is currently installed on your machine]

  • Apache Tomcat 6.0.18

  • Portable Open Office 3

  • The Alfresco Explorer web application, packaged as a Web Archive (WAR)

  • The Alfresco Share web application, packaged as a Web Archive (WAR)

  • SharePoint Protocol support

To install and run Alfresco, you need at least 500 MB of disk space and at least 512 MB RAM on the desktop or server.

Who this book is for

This book is designed for system administrators, and experienced users or developers who want to install and use Alfresco in their teams or businesses. Because Alfresco is free, many teams can install and experiment with its ECM features without any up-front cost, often without management approval. This book assumes a degree of technical confidence, but does not require specialist system administration or developer skills in order to get a basic system up and running.

Alfresco is particularly suitable for IT consultants who want to or need to set up a flexible enterprise Content Management System for their clients, whether this is for demonstration, development, or as a mission-critical platform. This book gets you to that result quickly and effectively.

This book also helps business users to make decisions about migrating from an existing proprietary ECM to Alfresco 3.

This book is not a developer's guide. However, various examples in the book will help developers to extend Alfresco's functionality and to integrate Alfresco with external systems.

Although no knowledge of Alfresco is presumed, exposure to HTML, XML, JavaScript, and related web technologies will help users to get the most from this book.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

There are three styles for code. Code words in text are shown as follows: "Note that the scheduled‑action-services-context.xml file has two blocks of XML configuration."

A block of code is set as follows:

    <cm:person view:childName="cm:person">
    <cm:email>[email protected]</cm:email>

When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the relevant lines or items are set in bold:

      <property name="stores">
      <property name="queryTemplate">
      <property name="cronExpression">
          <value>0 0/15 * * * ?</value>
      <property name="jobName">
      <property name="jobGroup">

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

> chmod a+x ./alfresco-<version>-linux-community.bin

New terms and important words are introduced in a bold-type font. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Go to a space and add a file by clicking on the Add Content link."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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