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Kalpesh Patel, CEO at ContCentric

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

 

I came to Alfresco as a team leader of my ex-employer when the department

was new. I am one of the first Alfresco Certified Trainers in Asia. I went

on to overlook around 80 Alfresco installations.

 

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

 

Find trained developers!

 

I am most proud of the fact that expansion was very quick I took the number

to 60 Alfresco developers in 3 years. Four books were authored by the team

under my review. I am proud to be mentor of those authors.

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

I am owning the startup named ContCentric. The mandate is to have 100%

Alfresco Certified engineers in the company. We are currently using

community versions of both Alfresco Share and Activiti to develop projects.

We are high on using add-ons or customizing the product to suit to the

client's requirement better.

 

What resources have been the most helpful?

 

Community is the most useful resource. We get to enrich our knowledge. New

much organized documentation is equally helpful.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

Alfresco is a great product. It is very important to understand the best

practices to use Alfresco. I advice to follow and understand alfresco

documentation thoroughly before diving deep into Alfresco. For developers,

I advice to get trained by a professional trainer or by online training

sessions organized by Alfresco University time-to-time. When you are facing

issue, do not get overwhelmed by error. Just copy the message, and search

on community or google and majority of the time, you will end up on useful

information to solve the issues.

 

What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?

 

I would like to throw a light on two prominent projects based on Alfresco.

 

One is for Non-Banking Financial Services sector which will cater to the

necessity of controlling huge amount of documentation and the processes

such as lead management, solution offering, credit process, disbursement

notifications and revenue control.

 

The other project is for IT Change Management. We have made a POC using

Activity 6.0.0 beta. The process flow of system changes requested by the

users is managed. There are more than one approval workflows which are

triggered to the particular user. The CIO would be able to track all change

requests on real time with their current status.

 

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your

favourite?

 

Alfresco project at CCH - a prominent healthcare staffing services spread

across 50 states of USA was a great experience. We replaced a proprietary

DM to establish robust and cost effective system. We used third party

integrations to achieve customized view, advance editing, fax set-up etc.

The client runs 700+ workflows/day, 280+ file-types and 100,000 folders and

over 2 million documents. Client saved around 70% of cost by adopting

open-source product and eliminating vendor-locking.

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

Being an Alfresco aficionado, my excitement also revolves around Enterprise

Content Management. The large organisations are considering a separate ECM

engine like Alfresco in addition to ERP they already have, is going to be

key-growth driven in near future.

Since many of you already know our Alfresco employees and their backgrounds, I thought we would stray from the Featured Member interview, and instead share what they do on a day to day basis. Today, we're featuring Dave Draper, Senior Engineer:
I usually start my day by going through my e-mails - usually to see what issues have been raised on the Aikau in GitHub or in JIRA. I will usually then review the previous day's IRC logs for any interesting conversations and browse all the new questions that have appeared on the Alfresco Community Platform and Stack Overflow. I do my best to answer any questions to the best of my ability and will often reach out to other members of the Engineering team if I see a question that they are better placed to answer.
I also check any new conversations that occurred in the many Skype groups that I’m a member of as well as checking for anything relevant to me on Twitter. Quite often there will be one or two interesting blog posts that have been shared so I will read through them as I like to try and keep my knowledge of what’s going on in the industry (and in web development in particular) current.
I always try to finish each day “cleanly” so that I don’t spend my evenings thinking about unfinished problems. This means that I’ll usually be making a start on a fresh feature or bug fix. I’m simultaneously active in two sprints - one for Aikau and one for Share - although there is usually considerable overlap. 
I try to follow a Test Driven Development approach as best I can so will always try and write my tests before I write the code. Once tests are passing I will create pull request and which I will get reviewed and merged. 
If Aikau is ready to be released (I try to ensure that there is at least one release a week) then I’ll run a full regression test, update the release notes and use our Bamboo servers to perform the release and updates to the JSDocs and Sandpit applications.
When I’m not fixing bugs or working on features I’ll most likely be writing up something in a blog post and increasingly I’ve taken to recording video posts (because I feel like I can convey more information in less time that way).
In the very rare moments when I have something approaching free time I will try and spend some time working on specific areas of Aikau that need to be pushed forward - the forms runtime service for example or looking at ways in which to increase performance. 
Fortunately I have very few meetings each week, but there is always a daily scrum call for the Share project and occasionally I will have a 1-to-1 meeting with my manager or some other such thing to attend.
When I’m working from home (which I do 3 days a week) my day is broken up with school runs and dog walks. I find that the time I spend walking my dogs can actually be very productive to problem solving - stepping away from the keyboard into the fresh air and getting my body moving helps me to think clearly through any tricky bugs that I happen to be dealing with. 
When I’m in the office my day is broken up with my 2 hour commute on the train. I’m usually able to work effectively on the train despite an occasionally patchy 4G service and find that getting stuck into an interesting problem makes the journey fly by. My days in the office are also valuable as this is when I can most effectively network with my colleagues - although I would say that on the whole I’m probably more productive working from home as there are generally less distractions.

 

Cesar Capillas, ECM/Portal Consultant & Co-Founder, Zylk.net 

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

 

My career in IT started about 10 years ago, while I was finishing my Ph. D. in Computational Physics. In college, I worked on the implementation of crystallographic algorithms and development of applications that we maintained on a internet site free of use, so I improved my computing skills a lot. Then I decided to found an IT company (zylk.net) with some of my classmates. Our company is specialized in Java open source technologies and products and one of my first projects was to provide technical support to a company that used Alfresco as part of their final solution. I also had to train users and system administrators of the service (so I had to learn it the hard way). Thanks to this project I started participating and contributing in the community forums, and writing small recipes and blog posts about Alfresco in the corporate site (http://www.zylk.net/alfresco-blog).

 

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

 

Well, we did not have much experience neither in IT nor Alfresco when we started. In fact we were learning how to make IT projects while we bet on new emerging and visionary technologies such Alfresco. During that time, any project started with an Alfresco Community setup, a small customization, a sysadmin training and a content migration. Step by step, we were involved on bigger Alfresco projects with bigger repositories and more development requirements. Nowadays, we are working in 24x7 high availability use cases with huge repositories of about 100 million documents. It was nice growing up with Alfresco, at the same time it consolidated in the ECM market. 

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

Mainly in a collaborative way with Alfresco Share, and also as backend repository for custom content centric apps via CMIS API framework. 

 

What resources have been the most helpful?

 

Probably the best resources for learning I have ever used are ecmarchitect.com and blyx.com. I learned a lot (and I still do) with Jeff Potts and Toni de la Fuente, from architectural, development and sysadmin points of view. And not only with their blogs, Alfresco Developer Tutorial Series (by Jeff) and Alfresco Backups and Security whitepapers (by Toni) are really very good resources, and highly recommended for developers and system administrators respectively. Some recent Alfresco books are also useful for certification such as Alfresco CMIS, Learning Webscripts or Alfresco Administration from Packt Publishing. And last but not least also the Alfresco Enterprise PDF documentation.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

Patience at first, specially for developers. It is important to understand Alfresco features and capabilities before starting to write code, while you need to know the different APIs and their possibilities. It is essential to follow best practices, and read all documentation and technical tips and then try to put this reading into practice. Not only about Alfresco itself, also about the different technologies around the product. Finally, learn helping to others, writing small recipes or wikis to explain what you learned. Alfresco has a nice Community, enjoy the the people involved, or in community events like BeeCon.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

I'm currently involved in several high availability Alfresco Enterprise installations, providing architectural advice and best practices. I also support and train sysadmins and developers, helping our customers to maintain their Alfresco-related services. We also have an internal Alfresco Community installation in zylk.net, which is countinously improved for our clients and workers with new Alfresco addons and features. Recently, we finished a protocol-based digital signature addon for Alfresco 5, based on Sinadura 5 desktop client, one of the open source products of the company.

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

 

Probably one of my fav project and also one of the most complete was one related with a migration from multiple CMS repositories (Sharepoint + Plone) to Alfresco. It had about 800 sites including users, permissions and contents. We used also Alfresco as a backend with a custom REST framework for corporate applications with a BPM integration. We also developed custom authentication subsystems, custom policies, custom content modelization, custom SSO integration... so much customization.

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

Recently I am interested in NoSQL databases and Big Data ecosystem of the Apache family. Alfresco related, I would like to dive deeper into Activiti, and Alfresco Application Developer Framework based in Angular 2, which seems so promising.

Since many of you already know our Alfresco employees and their backgrounds, I thought we would stray from the Featured Member interview, and instead share what they do on a day to day basis. Today, we're featuring David Webster, Senior Javascript Engineer:

My day typically starts quite early, when either my nearly two year old daughter or five month old son wake up. I live in a village just outside of Reading, about 45 min - 1hr from the Maidenhead office; I split my time about 50:50 between my home office and Maidenhead, enjoying the extra time I get to spend with my family when I don’t have to commute in.

 

Once I’m at work, I’ll grab a fresh pot of tea if I’m at home, or a cup of Earl Grey if I’m in the office and then catch up with Skype and Emails quickly. I’m a big fan of using email to pull together information from other data sources and so get my JIRA, Gitlab and GitHub notifications that way. I work on the Information Governance team and we’ve got about half the team in Romania as well as Roy in Sydney, so there’ve been quite a few hours worked by the team between me finishing one day and starting the next. Follow the sun development, FTW!

 

The morning is typically when we do our team meetings, so we’ll have a daily stand up, as well as one or two other meetings from the usual meeting list most agile teams have: sprint planning and pre-planning, reviews, retros, as well as a bug triage a couple of times a week. All our calls are video calls (using what every tech is flavour of the month), and we try to get together in person with the whole team a couple of times a year, which makes a huge difference to how well we work together.

 

I also join the 3-in-a-box calls between John Iball (PM), Roy (architect) and Shane (User Experience Designer) to give some UI expertise. I work closely with Shane especially, working through the wireframes he produces, reviewing them from a implementation view point, looking at things like new features required in Aikau requirements and REST API implications, as well as helping to try to pick up on anything that might be need fleshing out in more detail before sizing with the rest of the team.

After the morning meetings are done, I’ll recharge my tea cup and get into my IDE. I use IntelliJ and typically have a couple of projects open. My main project has almost all of the Alfresco code base (Repo, Share, Aikau, RM, etc) added as modules, which makes searching for stuff easier and means that when I’m extending something in RM I can open the piece of code I’m extending along side it. This is easier to do now that RM uses Git and switching branches is less costly than it was under SVN, when I effectively had a checkout per branch. This set up also enables me to quickly generate an Aikau pull request if I've got an improvement there.

 

There's never much time between the morning meetings finishing and lunchtime, which, when I'm in the office, often involves a trip to the local pub for a pint of one of the guest ales at The Bear. Tuesday is pizza day when the whole of the Maidenhead office catches up in the large ground floor kitchen.

 

After lunch is when I get most done, usually blissfully uninterrupted by meetings. Back in IntelliJ, my open editor tabs will typically either be some new feature work or bug fixes for a maintenance release. Recent tasks include: a hot fix request for RM 2.2 requiring me to look at the details of how RM works with our outlook integration; a maintenance release for 2.5.1, ensuring compatibility with updates to Share made for Alfresco 5.2; and reviewing the API specification for some of the new public API work we're doing. Not all the time is scheduled, I try to find time to browse the forums or IRC chats, write blog posts like this, or look at product and process innovation: I've recently been helping the localisation and user assistance teams with their roll out of a new tool (Passolo and Rigi) that will enable easier and quicker translations, and can show the strings in context. The innovation ethos is quite strong in the RM team and we've got our own demo server and raspberry pi.

 

Most days include some JIRA wrangling and some code reviews in git lab. We use a modified version of git flow (master is our develop), meaning all work is done on a feature branch and code reviewed before merging.

 

At the moment, I'm also getting involved with the hiring process as we've got a couple of entry level vacancies within the team.

 

The end of the working day always comes around quickly and I make sure I'm home before my kids' bedtime.

kgastaldo

Featured Member: Yann Coulon

Posted by kgastaldo Employee Nov 22, 2016

If you've visited the French language group, you've probably run across Yann, who is constantly offering suggestions and help to fellow community members. Get to know him a bit better below:

 

 

Yann Coulon, Software Engineer, Blue XML

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco. 

 

I started with Alfresco in 2012 while joining a team who was working on Alfresco 4.1. I was first assigned to level 2 support, to qualify and fix issues raised by customers. I also provided support to the operating teams, helping them with Apache configuration, as well as JVM and database tuning. After 3 years working on Alfresco projects, I joined a French partner, BlueXML, as a software engineer. BlueXML main customers are French authorities and administrations who are using Alfresco as a collaborative platform with Share

 

What challenges did you face? 

 

Upgrading Alfresco production environments is often challenging, as it may require to tailor existing customer adaptations  with new features brought by the new release. It's also during those upgrades that customers start thinking about new business cases to develop.

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

BlueXML uses Alfresco to manage documents using Share like most of our customers.Some of our customers use Alfresco as a sole repository for their business applications.

 

What resources have been the most helpful?   

 

When I started with Alfresco,I received some initial training by a colleague working on the project..Then, I found valuable information in the old wiki, the forum and of course the tutorials from Jeff Potts. The official documentation is also a very useful knowledge base.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?  

 

The documentation is a good starting point for installing and administrating Alfresco. This is also where to start if you want to customize Alfresco.

That being said, if you start working on Alfresco, then have a look at Jeff Potts’ tutorials on his blog (http://ecmarchitect.com/).
 

What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?  

 

I work on different projects: some of our customers need support to upgrade their existing deployment to Alfresco 5.x,, while others need support to integrate their business solutions with Alfresco.I also recently enhanced the build pipeline used at BlueXML, by migrating or adding various tasks in Docker containers (unit and integration tests, ...).

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

I'm generally curious about a lot of things. Docker is one topic that I recently started to explore, as well as microservices architecture ... And I'm also interested in how big players of the tech industry manage their applications.

 

 

Francesco Corti, Developer Evangelist, Alfresco

 

Be sure to check out Francesco's blog

 

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

I clearly remember that my most relevant challenge on Alfresco, has been to start developing over it, with the goal to get a relevant expertise in a short period of time. It was around 2011 (or 2010, I don't remember exactly) when I started to move my first steps on a Alfresco 3.4 Community Edition Release.

 

I decided to start studying Alfresco during my free time, because I found a lot of people in the web, talking about this framework (Alfresco at that time was not a platform but a framework). The challenge has been to demonstrate to my Employer, that the custom solution we were developing at that time was extremely old fashioned and we were "reinventing the wheel". After few time I succeed in the goal, even if the Employer is always right. :-)

 

At that time it was hard to find official documentation and the only documentation available was in personal blogs, most of them wrong or not updated. I remember that period as frustrating especially because I didn’t have a clear idea of the best practices of developing over Alfresco. It seems to be a lot of time ago...

 

From another point of view, the thing I'm most proud of, is about my idea of integration between Alfresco and Pentaho to solve a missing key feature of Alfresco at that time: the analytics. I remember the first experiments in integrating the two platforms (it was Christmas 2012), the idea to make it as a project opened to everyone and the idea to present it at the Alfresco Summit in Barcelona. Today the A.A.A.R. project is at its 4-th version and I'm very happy of the feedback, the results and the use I have done during the past years in analytics projects over Alfresco.

How are you using Alfresco currently?
Since October, after my joining of Alfresco, I'm using the latest release available for dissemination purpose. During the last weeks indeed, I'm working on the Early Access Program for the incoming Alfresco One 5.2.


What resources have been the most helpful?
It depends on the year. I cannot avoid to think about my first steps into Alfresco, where a relevant amount of content were available over the web in blogs, tutorials and personal websites. But I cannot also avoid to admit that my preferred resources, at that time, were the Jeff Pott's tutorials.

 

Today I think we are in different era and the Alfresco documentation website is a very good place where you can find a lot of Alfresco knowledge. Of course, being a developer, my preferred page is this.


Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?
Yes, definitely. I think that one of my errors in learning Alfresco is about the #alfresco IRC channel. During my first steps into the Alfresco World I wasn't there, preferring an "asynchronous communication" with people or a “self made” approach. Being in the chat with a lot of experienced developers always available to give a hand and help, is a precious boost to solve the problems with the right approach. So guys and girls, don't hesitate and join the Alfresco Community there.


What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?
Since October 2016 I joined Alfresco witht the role of Product Evangelist. In addition to helping developers to adopt Alfresco technologies, I usually help Alfresco to improve the developer experience through talks, articles, blogging, user demonstrations, recorded demonstrations, or the creation of sample projects.

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?
Developing software, designing architectures and defining solutions in ECM/BPM and BI are my favourites areas of interest. So I cannot avoid to remember all the projects (small projects, in average) where the customers wanted to develop analytics over Alfresco and various other sources (like ERPs, CRMs, BPMs, Custom Softwares or Databases). Working with Alfresco and Pentaho on that has been exciting because I find both the platforms very well done, from a technical point of view.

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

No doubt: the brand new Alfresco Application Development Framework based on Angular 2. Nothing to say about the other interesting Alfresco solutions (Share + Aikau, Desktop Sync, Mobile app, etc. and SDK as milestone for developers) but the ADF is the "new son" and there is always a huge positive vibrations around a platform that promises to be a disrupting solution to develop verticals over Alfresco ECM/BPM.

Enzo.jpg

Enzo Rivello, Senior DevOps Engineer, Alfresco

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco and join the company.

 

My career begin 6 years ago in London, as a Ruby developer, but with time I started moving towards more an hybrid role, trying to understand automation and the balance between Development and Operation. During this time I worked for several companies, amongst them Workshare and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe before finally approached being approached by Mario Romano, now Architect of the ADF and Activiti project, that convinced me to join Alfresco to help the product delivery.

 

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

 

First few months were an incredible blur of new faces, projects, colleagues, talks and initiatives …I clearly remember that the most challenging part was trying to keep up with the ever-changing environment and technologies. Alfresco is full of people with brilliant ideas, and with a lot of passion for their work, so is natural that projects and ideas get free flowing.

 

My proudest moment here was when I was asked to help the Activiti team deliver their product for a big client, in a third-party PaaS service … they were blocked since 6 months with no progression. Turns out, it was just a problem of communication – I set up a ticket to track the history of the problem, came back and forth from both the teams to understand and re-explain the problem, and after one week the IT team of the client were able to deploy Activiti without any issue. The point was that no-coding was required, just fix the process and ease the communication was good enough to move the task quickly to the ‘done’ bucket.

 

What is your current role with Alfresco?

 

I am the Tech Lead for the Tooling & Automation team, inside the big DevOps team. I am also an embedded DevOps for the Activiti & ADF team.

 

What resources have been the most helpful, when learning about the product?

 

Definitely the Community. Before joining, I hardly ever heard of Alfresco, but the community helped me a great deal understanding the importance of the product, while at the same time delineating the flaws and the challenges the community is facing.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

Take care of the infrastructure you use while using Alfresco. Learning deploying methods, what actually compose the product and third-party services is as important as knowing the product itself … after all, you don’t want to be stuck at 3:00 AM because your SOLR partition is full, right?

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

Currently I am busy helping delivery Activiti and unblocking the ADF team for their infrastructure team, but mainly I work on the chef-alfresco project, which will help aid anyone creating your own installation in an easy and repeatable way.

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

 

The Application Development Framework is surely one of my favourites. In there I am experimenting all new technologies like Docker pipelines, Orchestration, automatic buildings while refreshing my Javascript & Node knowledge

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

Currently, I believe that containerisation holds a great potential for my line of work. I don’t talk about big massive scales, but for development, testing, quick pipelines and as on-premise solution for small partners.


Boriss.jpeg

Boriss Mejias

 

Holistic System Software Engineer, CIRB CIBG

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

 

I'm a holistic system software engineer with a multi-cultural academic background. The term "holistic" refers to my conviction that problem solving is concerned with the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. The term also reveals that I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams. Originally from Chile, I migrated to Belgium in 2003 to do a PhD. My research was about building self-managing systems based on peer-to-peer networks. Properties such as self-healing and self-organization are means to build resilient systems. All the software we wrote back then is open source.

 

I started my post-academic life in 2011 joining XeniT, an Alfresco partner in Belgium, essentially because of the open source nature of Alfresco. That's when my Alfresco story started. When I attended DevCon in London that year, I got really motivated to get engaged with the community, specially after talking to Jeff Potts and Toni de la Fuente. And no doubt their contribution to the community is really important.


What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

 

Alfresco has a lot of components, and I was using none of them in academia, so basically, I had to start from zero. There is still a big part of Alfresco I don't know about, and never will, specially since I decided to focus on the system administration part. No Java development for me, but still haven't been able to escape from those lovely xml configuration files.

 

I'm proud of participating in the creation of the Order of the Bee. I believe we created it at the right moment, and that we have helped the Alfresco community to collaborate, get together, and have something to say as a group, instead of just individuals. There is still a lot to do, but we have good momentum. I'm also proud of being the local organizer of BeeCon 2016 and I'm looking forward to BeeCon 2017

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

At CIRB-CIBG, we host several instances for organizations of the Brussels Region Government, including ourselves. I'm responsible of keeping them running, upgrade them, and verify that all customizations provided by internal development teams and consultants play nicely with Alfresco. I'm in the operations department.


What resources have been the most helpful?

 

The first resource is definitely the #alfresco IRC channel [1]. Over there I get the best answers, or pointers to answers, of confirmation that the problem I'm dealing with is not a trivial one. Which is comforting. I also like that people in the channel is very helpful with newcomers.

 

When the answer does not come from IRC, the main resources to use are the Alfresco forums, the official documentation, and Alfresco Support (we are Enterprise Customers).

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

If you have to deal with administration tasks, Alfresco's REST API is quite good, and it allows to create external tools in your favourite programming language. The JavaScript API is also incredibly useful, specially if you use the JavaScript console.

 

If you want to get in touch with the community, join the IRC channel, the Alfresco community platform, and the Order of the Bee.

 


What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?

 

I'm currently having fun and learning a lot with the alfgard project [2], which I started during the last Global Virtual Hackathon. It's a tool to monitor different parameters of Alfresco (connections to the database, tomcat status, etc). It currently works only with Enterprise Edition, but I'm looking forward to provide support for Community Edition as well.

 

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

 

Providing resilient databases to Alfresco has been fun. First, we migrated the databases of all our instances to PostgreSQL, and then we built a replicated infrastructure across data centers located in different places in Brussels. Testing failures of different components and see how the whole system deals with the failures is nice. Still improving it.


What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

The free software movement and philosophy is obviously not a trend, but it has always motivated me. In fact, every time there is a new trendy software out there, if it is not free software or open source, it's difficult for me to get excited about it, specially since it's difficult to build a community around a close source software. 

 

[1] http://chat.alfresco.com

 

[2] https://github.com/bmejias/ootbee-alfgard/

 

Anything you’d like to share with the community? A fun fact about yourself?

I love playing air guitar, so I'm always ready for a jam session. A wise fellow once said "life is too important to take it seriously", and that's what air guitar is all about. The good thing about air guitar is that you don't need to know real guitar to play it. What you need is to listen and to observe, and then your air guitar will flow from you. In fact, "to listen" and "to observe" is on my list of "best practices". I'm so fond of air guitar that I even put it as one of my skills in LinkedIn, and to date I even have six endorsements \m/

bindu.jpg

Bindu Wavell, Chief Architect and Owner at Zia Consulting, Inc

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

 

In my early career I worked on customer relationship management systems. I ended up with a great team that transitioned to working on content management. A few of these folks started Zia Consulting and I joined as the first non-founding partner. Before working on Alfresco, I did a bunch of consulting related to Documentum, XML authoring and publishing. We also did a good chunk of work with MarkLogic. We were all very interested in open-source, so when the bubble burst and we had to start finding our own contracts rather than relying on larger consulting firms, we quickly gravitated towards Alfresco.

 

What challenges did you face?

 

No matter how good documentation is, it could always be better. At least with Alfresco when we get stuck, we have the source code.

 

What are you most proud of?

 

I'm very proud of the value we have been able to help our customers achieve. Having said that, being part of the amazing team we have at Zia and the growth I've experienced helping to build this team is what I'm most proud of.

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

We use Alfresco internally to manage our projects from kickoff to closeout. Of course our customers use Alfresco in all sorts of industries for a wide variety of things.

 

What resources have been the most helpful? 

 

Having access to the source code has been invaluable. Having said that, developing relationships with folks at Alfresco and in the greater community has been the most enjoyable and ultimately rewarding thing.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

Shameless self promotion, checkout: https://github.com/binduwavell/generator-alfresco.

 

A few years ago we were really frustrated with the development experience using the original Alfresco released Maven SDK. We created our own project Maven project structure that we called QuickStart. Checkout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRxvpJcW3Yo if you are interested in some of the cool stuff we did. For several reasons this ended up being an internal project at Zia that we used as the basis for all of our projects for a couple of years. We were not able to share the source for this project with the community.

 

I think Ole Hejlskov and Gab took some inspiration from this effort when they started working on the 2.0 SDK. Having said that, the new SDK was by no means a replica. There were significant architectural decisions made that were not compatible with what we had done with QuickStart. As a result, we started working on QuickStart 2.0, which evolved into our open-source yeoman generator for Alfresco. Ultimately the 2.0 SDK addressed a many of the key issues we had solved with QuickStart, so as we dug into building QuickStart 2.0 we quickly realized we were interested in going in a different direction.

 

The yeoman generator expands on the project structure provided by the SDK for folks that want to build multi-module Alfresco systems. It also adds in some really nice code generators to help reduce the drudgery associated with creating certain kinds of common Alfresco extensions. We've made some great progress and have a project that is very usable as it is. Of course we still have lots of plans to move it even further.

 

One of the things I'm most excited about is working with the team that is developing the Alfresco 3.0 SDK to make sure we can deliver first class generator support as part of the new SDK release.

 

What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?

 

See above I believe Zia is the first US partner to be certified to deliver level 1 support directly to our joint customers. I'm heavily involved in the support efforts at the moment. As Chief Architect at Zia, I spend time helping to validate design proposals and researching issues that arise on projects. Finally I still spend a good amount of time working on customer projects.

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

 

I'll tell you the same thing I tell my grand kids. They are all my favorites!

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

I'm really into tech, I enjoy keeping up to date on trends, software and project delivery practices, mobile stuff, web stuff, enterprise stuff, etc. Much of this is directly related to the work I do at Zia.

 

Having said that, one of the things I'm most excited about is the explosion of free and high quality educational resources that are available to anyone with an internet connection. Khan Academy is a standout for me, but there are tons more.

 

Having said that, it upsets me that there are still many people that don't have access to computers and the internet so that they can take advantage of these amazing resources.

kgastaldo

Featured Member: Kayne Zhang

Posted by kgastaldo Employee Oct 21, 2016

KayneZhang.jpg

kayne zhang, Technical Director at Unisplendour Software System Co., Ltd

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

I have been working on Enterprise Content Management technologies, Enterprise search technologies, Big Data technologies.

I hold Alfresco Certified Engineer/Alfresco Certified Administrator certifications, Cloudera Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop/Cloudera Certified Administrator for Apache Hadoop certifications, HP Accredited Technical Professional/HP Accredited Solutions Expert certifications.

In 2008 our company decided to redesign our archive management system(similar to record management system), we nee to find a good open source project that we can build our project on, from then I came to use Alfresco. Unfortunately, at last we did not choose alfresco because of hibernate performance and learning curve。Any way I began to study and use Alfresco form then on.

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

Our system's data are imported from many source systems, many of these systems have different security models which can't be converted to standard ACLs directly. We need to implement an security model to define permissions according to the document metadata plus ACLS, and also need to add custom security logic easily.

In one of our project by combining Autonomy IDOL,Virage and alfresco ,I won The first prize of scientific and technological progress of The State Archives Administration of the People's Republic of China, that one I think I can be proud of.

How are you using Alfresco currently?

I’m now involved in several projects based on alfresco, I do some development work including webscript/AMP, integrating with other system(Hadoop/mongodb for example).

What resources have been the most helpful?

I read alfresco docs to know new features and functions.

I use wiki a lot for technical information.

I will go to source code if I want to know intern mechanism

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

Alfresco docs is very useful, I suggest new users read it through.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on an unstructured data platform project that use hadoop related technologies, such as hbase/hive/hdfs/mapreduce。

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

Difficult to say ,each project had different requirements, challenges and presented me the opportunity to learn some new skills .I think maybe the one that I have received accolades, both internal and external.

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

Text mining, clustering and categorization, and big data technologies NoSQL, Hadoop,hbase,hive.

 

Cristina Martín Ruiz

Chief Communications Officer, Venzia IT

 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.

 

Comeback to the past.... November 2009: I worked for an IT company based in Seville. One day my boss asked me if I wanted a position @ minister of Economy with a new project. I remember that I was nervous because this opportunity was for me: New challenges, new colleagues, etc.. I was so excited about this change! As you can imagine I said: Yes, I'm in.

That was my first Alfresco project (Alfresco integrated with OpenOffice) and since then I work with Alfresco <3

 

What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?

 

I'm very proud to help and contribute with BeeCon2016!

Also, during 2011 I was coordinating some Alfresco Meetups here in Spain (I really like meet new alfresco community people).

 

How are you using Alfresco currently?

 

I have the maintenance of some clients and also I deliver Alfresco training courses.

 

What resources have been the most helpful?

 

Wiki: You had almost everything there & it has been one of the most important resources since the beginning. Nowadays Alfresco Docs, of course.

 

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?

 

Be patience and try to move forward. If you don´t know something, ask in forums or IRC to the community!

 

What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?

 

I am Official Alfresco Training and also I am working with an IT company (I love IT stuff).

 

If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?

 

Valor @ Education and Culture in European Commission (Belgium). That was the most challenging project I had never! :-D

 

What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?

 

I think Machine Learning can be part of the future in ECM world.

 

Anything you’d like to share with the community? A fun fact about yourself?

 

Don't be shy and share your Alfresco thoughts & problems! Even if you think that can be a stupid question, share them with the community!

Ben has been working with Alfresco for the past 8 years, and is a certified engineer and administrator.

 

Ben Chevallereau

Software Architect, Armedia

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.
For my last year at uni, I had to do an internship, and I worked for 6 months for the Alfresco integrator called BlueXML. At this time, BlueXML just started to work on the Alfresco platform that was really new on the market. And they decided to invest a lot of energy on Alfresco. So my internship was really focused on this platform. I continued to work on Alfresco during my entire career so, almost 10 years now :)
What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?
One of my biggest challenge is when I was working for WiPro, but dedicated to Michelin. Michelin was really keen to use Alfresco globally but had no experience. I was the team leader that designed, implemented and helped on the architecture of multiple Alfresco projects in France, in Europe and in US. The challenge was obviously technical but as well human. It was my first time working in an international team, and communicating most of the time in english.
How are you using Alfresco currently?
On the different projects, I’m working on. Usually, Alfresco is mostly used as back-end repository. For the front-end, usually, we work on custom UI: Angular App embedded in Share, custom app in Share or completely external custom UI.
What resources have been the most helpful?
Back in the days, the source code was extremely useful. Nowadays, I use a lot the website docs.alfresco.com which contains a lot of information. But as well, the forums and stackoverflow.com.
Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?
Not really a secret or advice. And it’s more for developers. A lot of people are using Maven to run their Alfresco instance during the development step. I’m a bit more old school. I created a bash script that install Alfresco in my local in a specific folder, and it installs three Tomcat instances for SolR, Alfresco and Share. I find it quicker and easier for me...
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I spend a lot of time on the new PacktPub Alfresco book, a lot of time as well on the integration between Angular and Alfresco for different projects. And finally, I’m spending time on IoT devices and technologies.
If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?
Very hard to say. I worked on a lot of projects completely different over all these years. One of the funniest one was for an online payment solution. We developed some customization to help them to improve the collaboration globally to build their mobile app with screenshot generation, approval process and integration to the building platform to automatically build the mobile app and publish it.
What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?
I’m always interested by the BPM world, and so Activiti. But, on an other complete aspect, I’m really excited by all IoT devices, frameworks and standards.

Angel Borroy, keensoft

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.
I’ve been developing mainly in Java from 1998 and I’ve spent about ten years working around electronic signature solutions. I met Alfresco in 2008, when I was involved on a huge project for Spanish Ministry of Justice, and my first impression was not so good. Some awful intermediate API was developed in front of Alfresco and performance in that case was worse than bad. For some years I was just only integrating apps with Alfresco repository (always using native API), but my real story as Alfresco developer started in 2012.
In that year, the time I met keensoft, I developed by myself a full Alfresco installation, configuration, customization and support. Since then, I’ve been studying and enjoying Alfresco every day.
What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?
It’s always easy to remember facts near in the memory, so I’ll tell you about my last successful upgrading and migration project.
We started from two different Alfresco installations based on two different tech stacks (including different databases) and we consolidated a unique Alfresco installation with all the contents and metadata from both and even preserving UUIDs for every object. To achieve this result, we were playing with Docker, patching CMIS API implementation and modifying internal Alfresco logic by using reflection techniques.
I’ve never heard about someone facing such a project, so I think we can be proud of this one.
How are you using Alfresco currently?
I’m involved in several Alfresco implantations, mainly 5.0 CE or upper. I’m helping our customers to maintain by themselves their own server and I’m developing required customizations for them.
We have also an internal Alfresco installation in our company, and my colleagues are always asking me to improve some features. So I spend my free time developing some experiments which sometimes are so useful as to be shared with the Community.
What resources have been the most helpful?
Every Alfresco developer must start his learning by studying the Alfresco Developer Series by Jeff Potts.
In order to acquire the right background, reading the classic Professional Alfresco, Practical Solutions for Enterprise Content Management is also a must.
For specific topics, there are also nice books like Alfresco CMIS by Martin Bergljung and Learning Alfresco Web Scripts by Ramesh Chauhan.
Obviously, I’m using also all the channels provided by Alfresco: IRC, forums, wiki, docs… And even I have elaborated a Twitter list including a hundred Alfresco experts which are publishing relevant blog posts.
Finally, a nice place to talk about Alfresco is The Order of the Bee, where many Community members are working together to improve Alfresco Community product.
Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?
It’s easy to work with Alfresco, if you know how. Following best practices, although it can be hard for newbies, always is required. Don’t think about the shorter path, but find the right one. It takes more time to work like that at the beginning, but it will save you a lot of time (and troubles) in the future.
What are you working on at the moment (could be outside of Alfresco)?
Currently I’m developing an Aikau app to integrate part of the Share functionality into an Angular JS web app. I’m also collaborating to build that Angular JS, which will prepare me to understand the new Angular 2 API provided by Alfresco next fall.
If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?
I’ve worked on more than thirty Alfresco projects by now, and everyone has been challenging and interesting. I’ve been very lucky with my customers, but maybe the more valuable for me has been the collaboration we’ve started with a University Professor specialist in information systems at the same place I studied years ago.
What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?
Microservices, which is not really a new approach, will be the main topic in the next months. Google, Amazon and also Alfresco are providing little building blocks that can be combined to build amazing services for the users.
I’ve been playing this year with Google Vision API and Alfresco to provide some auto-classification features for content ingestion, but my feeling is that all this new universe is exploding just now.
Anything you’d like to share with the community?
It’s easy to reach me at Alfresco channels (IRC, forums, Order of the Bee) and to get some advice from me, however I have always my IRC window open while working not to teach but to learn. There are many people in Alfresco Community sharing useful experiences, so always is a good time to learn something new.
You can connect with Angel on Twitter and be sure to check out his blog, Programming and So!
With 11 years of Alfresco experience, Robin brings a lots of expertise to the Alfresco community. Get to know more about him and his work in this week's featured member profile:

Robin Bramley

Joint CTO at Ixxus
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to use Alfresco.
I was introduced to computers at a very early age by my Dad who brought home a Hewlett Packard Series 80 from work and I remember playing a downhill skiing game on it. We had a series of home computers from the early 80s (Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48KB, Amstrad CPC 6128) and I used to tag along to the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) computer club in Bristol. The most notable alumni of that club was the late Sir Terry Pratchett who used me as a hat stand for his trademark black fedora.
A computer science degree followed and then I embarked upon a career within IT consultancy.
In early 2005 I was in discussions to join Opsera, a start-up that was going to build a CMS, when Alfresco came out of stealth mode. One quick pivot later and the plan was to build an information management appliance based on Alfresco. So I’d poked around with the earlier preview releases of Alfresco, but started in anger with version 0.6 in September 2005. 
Opsera became the first Gold Alfresco partner in the UK. The Enterprise Services division was later acquired by Ixxus, an Alfresco Platinum partner, in September 2010. Ixxus was acquired by Copyright Clearance Center in May 2016. 
 
What challenges did you face? What are you most proud of?
Having spent the previous 9 months on a Microsoft-based data warehouse programme, one of the biggest hurdles in learning Alfresco was getting my head around the Spring Framework application wiring. Inspecting the runtime behaviour to be met by a call stack full of e.g. Proxy$54 required a different approach to understanding a code base!
I’m proud of having been able to share a lot of my knowledge primarily through Alfresco conference presentations and helping to influence Alfresco’s technical direction, but in hindsight from 11 years of involvement of Alfresco, the idea that I’m most proud of was to expose Alfresco as an IMAP server. Small legal firms were an initial target for the information management appliance and those users lived in Outlook. I proved the concept in late 2005 on Alfresco 1.0 and it later became the OpsMailManagerproduct. Alfresco ultimately commoditised the idea when basic IMAP support was included in Alfresco 3.2. 
 
How are you using Alfresco currently? 
At Ixxus, we took the decision 5 years ago to specialise on providing content solutions to the publishing market. Consequently, we have developed a range of Ixxus Publishing Modules that augment Alfresco and have won various awards from Alfresco e.g. Solutions Partner 2013-2015. The most common use case is for helping publishers create, approve and publish their content-centric products. As Chief Scientific Officer I am mainly involved in higher level discussions & architectural decisions, though I do get the occasional deep dive. 
 
What resources have been the most helpful? 
I learnt Alfresco the hard way at the bleeding edge and tracking the commits, but I have to say that Jeff Potts' ECM Architect blog is a good read.

Any secrets, hacks or advice for new users?
I’m a big advocate of Open Source which has always been one of the appeals of Alfresco. However, with great power comes great responsibility; or just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently doing quite a bit of pre-sales work that will hopefully result in some new customers both for Alfresco and Ixxus. 
 
If you’ve worked on multiple Alfresco projects, which has been your favorite?
It’s a tough call, but a recent favourite was a customer project in 2014 that involved rolling up my sleeves to work on encryption at rest development for AWS S3. Amazon had just released Server-Side Encryption with Customer-supplied keys (SSE-C) so meeting the customer need required modifying upstream open source libraries as well as extending the Alfresco S3 Connector. This was the topic of one of my BeeCon presentations earlier this year.
 
What’s one tech trend/software/app that really excites you?
I think the server-less space is going to get very interesting in the short term, but graph technology is one of my key areas of interest. The Neo4j 1.0 release announcement in early 2010 gave me the idea to reimplement the Alfresco NodeService interface… 
 
Anything you’d like to share with the community? A fun fact about yourself?
I think my earliest contributed patch to Alfresco was to fix the CIFS code to support multi-homed servers. That resulted from some network traffic inspection to see why we couldn’t map a network drive to Alfresco when it was running on a Linux server as opposed to a laptop. 
You can connect with Robin in the community or via: