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2016
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 C., 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/