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In my last blog, Getting to Grips with Alfresco Certification, I reviewed the background to our certification program and the learning resources available to you. In this post, I'm going to take a look at some real questions from the certification exams to give you an idea of the range of questions which face you.

I have chosen questions which demonstrate this range and rather than simply giving you the question and answers I’ve also delved a little bit more behind each question, to explain the correct answers and the distractors, or incorrect answers.

In order to set the pass marks we have used a modified Angoff method which uses subject matter experts to determine the difficulty of each question.  It defines the cutoff score as the lowest score a minimally competent candidate (MCC) is likely to achieve.

Essentially, it works this way:

  1. A panel of experts independently rate the difficulty of each question. This rating is based on what percentage of MCCs they estimate will answer correctly.

  2. As an example, a question that is rated as 60% means that the panel believes that only 60% of the MCCs would answer correctly.  This would be a much harder question, than one that is rated as 80%.

  3. The panel then reviews each test question as a group and comes to a consensus for the rating of each question.

  4. The final pass mark is determined as the average of the ratings for each question in that exam.  By way of an example: an exam that consists of 50 questions with average ratings of 65%, would require at least a score of 65% to be passed.  An easier exam, with a rating of 80% (say), would require a score of at least 80%.

I have described this process because I also want to give you an idea of how these ratings work so that you can gauge how difficult our subject matter experts have determined it to be.

Let's jump right in. Our first question relates to Share and is from the ACE exam.

In order to configure Alfresco Share, best practice dictates that you edit which file?

  1. share-config.xml

  2. share-config-custom.xml.sample

  3. share-config-custom.xml

  4. web-client-config-custom.xml

The correct answer is 3. This is a relatively easy question and shows that there are some knowledge based questions which require you to memorize file names, locations or other items. These are used only in situations where the piece of information is so key that we would expect a competent Alfresco developer to know this without looking it up. Configuring Alfresco Share is covered on the Share Configuration course. Let’s walk through each of the answers in turn...

  1. share-config.xml: This is the systems configuration file for Share, you can edit this and make configuration changes in this file and the changes will work. However if you perform an upgrade at a later stage your changes will be over-written, so best practice dictates that you should not modify this file. Hence this answer is wrong.

  2. share-config-custom.xml.sample: This is the sample file that is supplied with Alfresco and which you would copy to share-config-custom.xml before making your changes. Simply editing this file will have no effect because the system will ignore files with the extension .sample.

  3. share-config-custom.xml: The correct answer! Your changes should be made in this file which can be created by copying the share-config-custom.xml.sample provided.

  4. web-client-config-custom.xml: This file is the file that you should use to make configuration changes to the Alfresco Explorer client, not to Share.

You can see from the answer choices that some options are distractors (or wrong answers), in many cases making them look viable in other circumstances, so it pays to read the questions carefully. This question has a rating of 90%, and so means that we would expect 90% of MCCs to get the answer correct.

Let’s look at another question - again from the ACE exam.

Fill in the blank on the architecture picture.

  1. alf_data

  2. content services

  3. database

  4. file system

  5. repository

  6. Solr

This is a simple question relating to the architecture and is covered in the introductory classes. The right answer of course is #3 – database. Let’s look at the distractors in more detail:

  1. alf_data: This is typically the location where Alfresco will store the content files on the file system.

  2. content services: this is the range of services provided by the server for managing content for instance versioning.

  3. database: the correct answer, Alfresco stores metadata in a relational database.

  4. file system: Alfresco store the metadata in the database (some is also stored in the full-text index, but that is already shown in the diagram)

  5. repository: this is the name given to the collection of database, file system and indexes as a complete and consistent unit.

  6. Solr: This is a simple distractor. Solr is an enterprise indexing server which Alfresco introduces with 4.0.

Now we look at a question from the ACE exam which requires you to have an understanding of Alfresco development best practices. This subject is covered in all the training courses which deal with development. This question has a rating of 88%, hence it is considered slightly more difficult than the first question.

A repository web script is defined in the directory


inside the Alfresco installation. Which of the following procedures should you use to change the default output template, while adhering to best practice?

  1. Copy the output template file into <TOMCAT_HOME>/webapps/alfresco/WEB-INF/alfresco/extension/templates/webscripts/org/alfresco/test, make your changes there, then update the web script descriptor to reference the new file.

  2. Copy the output template file into <TOMCAT_HOME>/shared/classes/alfresco/extension/templates/webscripts/org/alfresco/test and make your changes there.

  3. Copy the output template file into <TOMCAT_HOME>/webapps/alfresco/WEB-INF/alfresco/extension/templates/webscripts/org/alfresco/test and make your changes there.

  4. Create a copy of the output template file in the same directory, then update the web script descriptor to reference the new file.

In this case, #2 is the correct answer. This question is rated at 75% and so is more difficult than the preceding two examples. Let's review the answer choices:

  1. This copies the file to a different directory but it is still in the Alfresco webapp, which is not best practice.

  2. This is the correct answer! The file should be copied to this directory, often referred to as {extensionRoot}, and edited there to ensure that upgrades do not over-write your changes. In fact, this is the only one of these answers which copies the file outside of the webapp and so is the only answer which is correct according to best practices.

  3. This options behaves in the same way as #1 and is also incorrect.

  4. This also keeps the file in the webapp and is therefore incorrect.

This is our final sample question from the ACE exam, and demonstrates the application of knowledge gained through development or by researching the subject.

A RESTful API is called via a POST request to the URL /example/mycontent/item1, relative to the RESTful API base URL. Based on your knowledge of Alfresco's RESTful API and the REST architecture, what will be the logical result of this?

  1. A new resource 'item1' is added.

  2. The content of the resource 'item1' is returned to the user.

  3. The existing resource 'item1' is deleted.

  4. The existing resource 'item1' is updated.

The correct answer is #1. Resource representations have been modeled on Atom & Atom Publishing Protocol. Resources support methods with the primary ones being GET, PUT, POST & DELETE. You will have realised through development and use of technologies such as web scripts, that Alfresco uses GET for information retrieval from the repository, PUT for updates, POST for adding or creating new items and DELETE to destroy or remove items. Therefore in this case using a POST, the correct answer is that item1 will be added. This is the most difficult question we have looked at and is rated at 65%.

I hope that this blog has given you some idea of the types of questions you will face in the Alfresco certification exams and has given you confidence to undertake the tests for yourself.

Good luck and hope to see you in class.

Carlos Miguens

Global Training Director

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