2010 Roadmap

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Roadmap


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Alfresco Product Roadmap 2010


Over the past few years, Alfresco has built a feature rich, scalable and reliable ECM solution that benefits from the experience and learning of a seasoned team of ECM experts.  Drawing on lessons learned from Documentum, Interwoven, Vignette and a number of other related technologies, Alfresco's engineering team has innovated to provide a modern and robust approach to ECM, based entirely on open-source and open-platform standards.

During 2010 we plan to continue this innovation as we build out our product offerings so as to provide the industry's most competitive and cost-effective ECM platform and application suite.

For a historical view of Alfresco's previous product objectives and roadmap, please see 2009 Roadmap, 2008 Roadmap and 2006-7 Roadmap.

You can also find information about previous releases, along with links to release notes, here.


Objectives for 2010


The 2010 roadmap builds on the 5 years of development which provides an enterprise-class Enterprise Content Management platform and applications suite that continues to dramatically lower the cost of acquisition and ownership over legacy and proprietary offerings.
We will expand our existing platform capabilities to enhance performance, scalability and data management and address new content applications. Tools and services will be provided to support the management of large scale deployments in mission critical applications for both on premise and cloud deployment.

In order to achieve this, Alfresco will be focusing on the following core and application areas:


  • Enterprise Repository
  • Document Management
  • Web Content Management
  • Records Management
  • Collaboration Services
  • On premise and Cloud Deployment
  • Developer tools

Enterprise Repository


The Alfresco Enterprise Repository is the core of the Alfresco infrastructure.  It presently provides a rich data modeling container, replete with auditing, workflow and collaboration capture.  Designed for high performance and high scalability, the Enterprise Repository is a single, trustworthy engine upon which your business applications and processes can run.


Enhancements for 2010


  • Enhance tools and services to simplify the deployment, monitoring and administration in large scale, geographically dispersed and mission critical applications.  These tools intend to go beyond the current Spring, Java, and XML based configuration offerings by providing a comprehensive administrative experience.
  • Support Enterprise Deployments within single and across multiple data centers including repository to repository replication and cloud deployment.
  • Enhanced scalability to handle extremely large repositories both in terms of documents and users.
  • Extension of public REST APIs to provide further open-platform access to the Alfresco Repository from the remote tier.  This is to include capabilities of the Alfresco Web Content Management, Alfresco Records Management and Alfresco Rules engines.
  • Provide full support for the CMIS 1.0 standard.

Document Management


Alfresco Document Management consists of repository services and applications to provide a powerful document collaboration experience.  Alfresco's applications integrate to the desktop and take full advantage of user permissions, workflow, notifications, email integration, auditing and all other aspects of the underlying Alfresco repository.

The applications provided for Alfresco Document Management include Alfresco Share, Alfresco Explorer, Microsoft Office Integration and Microsoft Sharepoint Connector.


Enhancements for 2010


  • Improved usability via new Document Management Client for the Alfresco Repository
  • Rule and Action support for Share Sites
  • Advanced Workflow for Share Sites
  • New Share collaborative components including support for managing dynamic datalists
  • Enhanced Sharepoint integration for Outlook to support Meeting Sites
  • Enhanced Wiki markup support and editing

Web Content Management


Alfresco provides a scalable, standards-based repository and accompanying services that provide end-to-end Web Content Management (WCM) capabilities.
Throughout 2010, Alfresco will continue to invest and provide Enterprise class Web Content Management with emphasis on website production and dynamic content services. Alfresco 3.3 will build on CMIS and REST based services, that can be utilized for developing highly interactive web applications.
The applications provided for Alfresco Web Content Management include Alfresco Explorer and Alfresco Surf.


Enhancements for 2010


  • Content Services - Provide API level services to assist in the creation and management of web based content.
  • Spring Surf - Continued integration and development of the Spring Surf platform.
  • Content Editorial Tools - Provide rich editorial facilities for non-technical content authors such as in-context editing and forms based content creation.
  • Website Production - provide powerful administrative tools for website production.

Records Management


Alfresco Records Management runs on top of the Alfresco Enterprise Repository and brings the full wealth of Repository features to your RM applications.  Alfresco Records Management brings together several features of the Alfresco Repository including aspect-driven behaviours, auditing, content object modeling, a strong security model and business rules to provide a unified treatment of your documents, policies and work items.


Enhancements for 2010


  • Official DoD 5015.2 Compliance for Alfresco Enterprise. Alfresco have formally registered for certification according to the DoD 5015.2 records management specification.
  • Out-of-the-box object models to provide entry point for customers wishing to achieve DoD 5015.2 compliance in a short timeframe.
  • Out-of-the-box enhancements to Alfresco Share web application to support DoD 5015.2 compliance project spaces and records management scenarios.
  • Provide an extensible service infrastructure to support record declaration, retention and disposition policies.
  • Enhancements to Alfresco Records Management REST API as detailed above.

Collaboration Services


Collaboration Services are collaboration focused features of the Alfresco Repository which span multiple products within the Alfresco Suite.  Implemented in the Alfresco Repository, these services are available to applications to enhance the collaborative experiences of end users.


Enhancements for 2010


  • OpenSocial support for collaborative applications both inside and outside of the enterprise.
  • Updated support for Portals based on JSR-168/283 including Single-Sign On and new portlets.
  • Subscriptions and Read Tracking

Standards


  • Completion of CMIS implementation for full CMIS 1.0 provider support
  • JSR-223 support to allow any JSR-223 compliant scripting language such as Groovy, JRuby etc to be used for development
  • OSGi to allow dynamic loading of Java extensions at runtime

Deployment


  • Updated services for deploying all types of content including web content and documents to delivery runtimes.
  • Services for large scale deployments for both the cloud and on-premise

Developer Tools


  • Simplified application development via enhanced developer tools for defining models and workflows, building Spring SURF and CMIS based applications.

Scheduled Releases


3.3. Add-ons


The below details projects that will be delivered outside of an Alfresco release cycle prior to Q4 2010.


WCM Quick Start


The WCM Quick Start will provide a production-strength, end-to-end best practice implementation of an Alfresco managed website.  The primary purpose of the Quick Start is to allow simple product evaluation of Alfresco WCM, and serve as a quick start platform for content editors, developers and architects alike.

The WCM Quick Start is designed as an add-on to Alfresco 3.3 (Community and Enterprise) to provide an editorial environment for managing content along with a delivery web application (website).  The website will be built using Spring MVC, Spring Surf and CMIS.


DocLib Portlet


Portals typically provide rich capabilities for collaboration, integration, aggregation and personalization. However, they do not provide the rich depth of content services provided by Alfresco. Alfresco will provide a portlet version of the Alfresco Share Document Library (repository and site views).  Features will include:


  • 2 New Document Library portlets - Repository Library & My Document Libraries (Share Sites)
  • Single-Sign on between the portal and Alfresco
  • Rich Document Management Functionality as provided via the standalone Share document libraries including:
    • Checkin/Checkout
    • Version Control
    • Online & Offline Editing
    • Custom Types, Aspects and Properties (Metadata)
    • Thumbnails and Previews
    • Categories, Tagging and Commenting
    • Permission Management
    • Rules and Actions
    • Workflow Initiation

XAM Content Store


An XAM compliant content store allowing content binaries to be stored on content addressable storage (CAS) devices such as EMC Centera.
This allows CAS storage devices to be used seamlessly with Alfresco to support fixed content applications and retention management for governance and compliance.


3.4 (Project Cheetah) Q4 2010


Focus: Reliability, Availability & Serviceability


User Interface Enhancements


Share Advanced Search


Enhancements to search in Alfresco Share providing advanced search capabilities including fulltext, type, aspect and custom property based searching.


Share Workflow Support


New advanced workflow user interface for workflow initiation, task inbox, task and workflow management using embedded jBPM workflow engine.


Social Networking


  • Ratings API - Allows application developers to build solutions that capture feedback on content and allow users to express their opinion though the use of 'vote to promote' style 'like' ratings
  • User Status - Status updates to allow users to share what their doing/working on with their colleagues

Web Editor and Web Editor Framework


Alfresco introduced the Web Editor and Web Editor Framework with version 3.3 to provided in-context editing capabilities.  The Web Editor Framework provides an open, extensible framework that allows developers to easily plug-in new tabs, buttons and components to meet their editorial requirements. 

The 3.3 release of the Web Editor provided basic edit capabilities and enhancements are planned for the following areas:


  • Content Creation - Add the ability to create new content items from the Web Editor toolbar
  • Delete Content - delete a content item from the page
  • FreeMarker helper support - The Web Editor mark-up uses simple HTML and JavaScript allowing for it to be used with a variety of development languages such as JSP, PHP, Ruby etc.  With 3.3 Alfresco provided a JSP helper tag library.  It is planned that a similar helper library be developed for FreeMarker templates.

Repository Enhancements


Optimised Database Mapping


Hibernate replaced by native database mapping and caching. This allows for improved control of database queries and caching leading to enhanced repository performance and serviceability.


Content Replication


New functionality will be added to Alfresco Share to allow administrators to configure and manage 'Content Replication' jobs.  Designed to be used within a Document Management environment, it will be possible to configure the replication of documents from one repository to another (read only destination) repository on a scheduled basis.

Content replication is designed to assist geographically distributed organisations where limited bandwidth is available.  Benefits include:


  • For content consumers
    • Fast access, improved time to view
    • High availability - removes single point of failure
  • For network administrators
    • Reduced network overhead

Improved Metadata and Text Extraction


  • Updated metadata and text extraction infrastructure using Apache Tika.
  • Simplified configuration through use of auto-detect parser and common mappings from Tika metadata to Alfresco model
  • Support for EXIF image data including geo data via new 'geographic' Alfresco Aspect

CMIS


Various CMIS enhancements including authentication and date processing.


Services Enhancements


Transfer Service


The Transfer Service is used for transferring content between Alfresco repositories.  Enhancements to the Transfer Service to support Content Replication (see above) such as deletions and status tracking.


Project Swift: Q2 2011 - Web Content Management


Focus: Content production: Content Authoring and Content Publishing.


User Interface Enhancements


Web Producer


Web Producer will provide a WCM specific user interface within Alfresco Share. Currently Share allows users to create and manage two site types - Collaboration and Records Management.  For project Swift, Alfresco will introduce a new site type specifically for Web Content Management i.e. 'Web Site'.  Upon site creation, or site opening, the user will be taken into the Web Producer dashboard.

Web Producer will house key WCM editorial features that provide access to Work Packages, Content Libraries and Deployments, and will serve as the WCM editorial interface for Alfresco moving forward.


Work Packages


Work Packages will form a key concept of the Alfresco WCM editorial experience allowing collaboration and management around content assets.  With WCM scenarios, it is typical that changes to the web site(s) may be made up of several content assets.  Work Packages will provide the ability to manage collections of content assets as a single entity, enabling content that is created, updated, and (importantly) deleted to be automatically captured against a work package.  The Work Package can then be subjected to workflow and deployed as required.

Within Swift, the Work Package features will focus on workflow-driven content production.  For example, a content editor may create a new Work Package, add some content such as a press release, an accompanying image and perhaps a video file.  The user may then decide that this particular Work Package should be collaborated upon by another editor who can be 'invited' in to the Work Package.  The Work Package may then pass through workflow to be reviewed (using preview), and then finally published to the live website environment.

For Swift the appropriate initial Work Package API and Share-based user interface will be provided.


Association User Interface


When editing associations, the user needs to be able to search and browse through the repository for the content item they want to associate with.  An example of this within a WCM scenario is to associate a press release with an image, or perhaps an MP3 file with a blog article.  The planned enhancements intend to make this process as simple as possible from a user interface perspective within Alfresco Share.


Rendition User Interface


The Rendition Service was added within Alfresco 3.3 and provides a central service for re-purposing content.  For example, I may wish to create a PDF version of a MS Word document, or an HTML version of an XML document, or resize an image.  The planned enhancements are to provide additions to the Alfresco Share user interface to allow users to view and manage renditions of a particular content item.  Manual creation of ad-hoc renditions is also planned.


Segmented Forms


Provided extended user interface within the Forms Service to be able to group (or 'segment') properties to control how they are presented to the editor.  This will be particularly useful for large forms and will allow very task-orientated forms to be defined.


Repository Enhancements


Composite Content


Composite content is something that is regularly required within WCM scenarios and, indeed, in scenarios where Alfresco is used as a general data repository.  Composite content allows content models to define nested, repeating elements, each one holding a group of properties. The planned enhancement is to provide native Composite Content modelling facilities in the core Alfresco repository.


Dependent Associations


In WCM in particular, there is often a need to associate one content node with another in such a way as to imply a dependency between them. An example of this scenario is the link between a news article and an image. The image is a separately managed asset, but the news article relies on its existence. When the news article is published then the associated image must also be published.  The planned enhancements are to provide the ability for a content item to be marked as 'dependent' on another, and therefore adhere to the dependency logic.


Ordering of Node Associations


Within WCM scenarios, is useful for node or peer associations (one of many types of associations) to be ordered.  This kind of association is used to create lists of assets, such as related articles, featured products, categorizations, etc.


Conditional Constraints


It is often the case that people want to model a property such that its allowable values depend on the value set on another property. For example, the values allowed for the 'country' property depends on the value selected for the 'continent' property. The planned enhancements are to provide this ability as part of the Alfresco native content model.


Services Enhancements


Transfer


Introduced within Alfresco 3.3, the Transfer Service enabled the transfer, or deployment, of content between Alfresco repositories.  For example, within a WCM architecture, the Transfer Service can be used to deploy content from an authoring environment to a delivery environment.  Planned enhancements include:


  • Enhanced reporting
  • Support for transfers in Share - initiate transfers from Share i.e. within Web Producer, and view histories of transfers.
  • Alfresco to file system transfer - transfer content to disk similar to the current AVM based FSR functionality.
  • Encrypted credentials
  • Support transferring model elements (type and aspect definitions)




Project Swift: Q2 2011 - Content Management, Collaboration and Repository Services


Focus: Repository reliability and scalability, easy application development, ease of use.


User Interface Enhancements


Share Component Enhancements


Swift will include a variety of usability and functional enhancements to the existing Share page components these include:


  • Migration of remaining page components to use the Forms service
  • Datalist sorting and filtering options, list export/import, definition and management tools
  • Wiki - enhanced Wiki markup support
  • Calendar support for recurring/repeat events

Site/Space Templates


Simplify creation of application specific sites and spaces and enforce standards though site and space templates. Create Sites based site templates to allow sites to include predefine spaces, content and rules. Allow spaces in the document library to be created from space templates that include other spaces, content, rules etc.


Site Directory


Site Directories provide the ability to assign categories to sites and allow navigation and search via hierarchical site directory structure.


Social Networking


  • Share Custom Views
    • Additions to the Share user interface to allow custom views to be associated with spaces. Views will be able to display HTML formatted text, dynamically generated content based queries and links to other pages and actions.
  • Ratings - Capture feedback on content and allow users to express their opinion though the use of 'vote to promote' style 'like' ratings
  • Create and manage colleague connections
  • Enhanced activity stream feeds

User Actions


  • Management tools for Business Analysts to allow actions to be defined and associated with custom menus
  • Allow users with the relevant permissions to run actions on demand

Digital Assets


User interface enhancements to Alfresco Share to provide out of the box capabilities for managing digital assets such as video and audio.
Enhancements planned include:


  • Preview Video and Audio
  • Rich Media Metadata
  • Video & Audio Transformation

Repository Enhancements


  • Externalized indexing based on Solr for improved indexing scalability and reliability
  • Scriptable behaviours via convention based configuration allowing application developers to easily extend Alfresco through lightweight scripting.

Developer & Administration Tools


Eclipse Plugins


  • Eclipse plugins for rapid application development including Web Scripts, Surf Components and Models

Model Management


  • GUI based tools for business analysts to define and manage models
  • Support for dynamic constraints in models

CMIS Provider


Continued enhancements to the Alfresco CMIS implementation including:


  • Additional authentication schemes
  • CMIS Change Tokens
  • Valid Modified Date processing
  • Admin for mapping an arbitrary folder (something other than Company Home) to a CMIS repository
  • Multi-filing

Spring Security Update


Improved integration and protocol support options such as OpenID.




Project Cumulus: Q4 2011


Focus: Distributed cloud and on-premise deployments

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