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Alresco functionality questions. Does it exist?

Question asked by grantgochnauer on Oct 10, 2005
Latest reply on Dec 15, 2005 by dancri77
First off let me say that I have been a big integrator of Documentum versions 4 and 5 on large enterprise projects. I am currently evaluating using Alfresco for smaller clients with less enterprise level requirements that Documentum offers. However, there are some basic capabilities that a CMS or WCM need for our team to be able to leverage Alfresco for our clients.

Let me outline the components that I feel are pretty necessary for a CMS/WCM. Forgive me if I touch on things that Alfresco does have and I am unaware. In fact, I’d like to be pointed out for that type of discrepancy because that means the feature I am looking for exists �.

1)   Lifecycle. What I mean by this is that each piece of content in the CMS has a state attached to it. I have gone through the Alfresco 1.0 RC1 release and the only way I can see mimicking this concept is to create folders (WIP/Staging/Active) and move content from one folder to another via simple workflow. The reason this seems odd to me is that the state of the content is dependant on its location and not an intrinsic property of the content itself.
2)   Publishing and clear separation of content displayed on a website and the repository. With Documentum you can publish out content from your repository to another file location and database which contain all the meta-data about the content. This is great because if your CMS goes down, your public facing site will not.
3)   Templating. From what I understand about the new template feature introduced in 1.0RC1 is that it is more of a transformation layer and less of a user input template. When I think of template, I think of creating some concrete input form with various elements which guide the user in creating a new type of content. For example, I could have templates for home pages, modules, footers. Each template would have only the relevant questions inside like “titleâ€? or “header imageâ€? and so forth. The template system in Alfresco now seems to be more like take this HTML and make it into another HTML or other file format.
4)   User definable meta-data and content types (object types). I don’t see any way to create custom types of content which can be queried against in an application. For example, if I have 10 pieces of “general contentâ€?, I want to be able to add meta-data to each piece of that content. This meta-data could include information such as where this content should be displayed on the site or some other business metric. Also, it seems that if I create content in Alfresco, it’s a single type: html. What if I want to create and define my own types like a “homepageâ€? type or a “footerâ€? type? I don’t see a way to do this now.

1)   What is the best way to query for content out of the repository? I am currently working on a Spring based platform (I notice you guys leverage Spring which is GREAT). It seems looking at the APIs available it’s through dependency injection (ala Spring) or Web Services. If I use IOC, doesn’t that mean that my platform which wants to use repository services have to be running in the same JVM?

I have listed some pretty large reaching features above and I realize Alfresco is still a young product. The reason I am writing this is because I believe Alfresco could become the #1 Open Source CMS out there. I am very excited about the CMS which is why I wanted to start this discussion.