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.