In my last blog post I talked about the perspective I’d gained by working in another team at Alfresco that has been using Aikau. For the last 18 months the Aikau team has been so head down in development trying to provide features and fixes for internal teams, customers and the community that we’ve not had much opportunity to focus on reviewing and improving the educational material that is available for Aikau.
Interestingly with the advent of the new Angular based UI framework and the conclusion of a number of major Alfresco projects that use Aikau the heat is now off us and I’ve had some time to start looking at what resources are available and how we can improve the situation.
At this point I think it’s important to state that as far as I’m aware Aikau development is going to continue and that if you want to develop a user interface for Alfresco - particularly if you want to customize or add new pages to Share - then Aikau is still the recommended framework.
Alfresco is still actively using Aikau (most notably for Records Management in Share) which is hugely important for its business. The use of Aikau is never going to be the headline feature in an Alfresco release, but it’s usually there in the background getting the job done.
Eating Our Own Dog Food
I decided to have a go at reproducing some existing YUI2 based features of Share using Aikau to try and showcase how rapid development can be - but more importantly to try to understand where the gaps might be in available education.
I’ve started with the “People” page and you can watch me creating this page from scratch in a brand new client in this video. It’s a bit rough around the edges, for which I make no apologies - but hopefully it will be informative.
Feedback Wanted !
The full disclosure is that the first time I went through the process I found that some of the JSDoc could be better, we could provide some additional widgets and that the UserService needed updating - and I took care of these issues before recording the demo.
However, I would urge that anyone attempting to do any development that has similar problems to report them as a GitHub issue so that they can be addressed.
I’d also love your feedback on whether or not this medium is effective or not, whether I should record more demos and what they should be focused on. I’ve already got an idea for a follow up in developing some custom widgets to go on the page - but it might be better to work through an entirely different use case - Data Lists perhaps?
I'd also welcome any suggestions on other approaches we could take to help people get up to speed with Alfresco development using Aikau.
Accessing the Code
I've created a GitHub repository containing the application that I built in the video. I've tagged the commit with the code (and will continue to tag each commit if I do more examples) so that it's easy to try out the code and experiment with it yourself.