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WCM and pre-version 2.0 abstraction integration...

Question asked by rkylberg on Mar 20, 2007
Latest reply on Mar 27, 2007 by kvc
Alfresco is an exciting platform to me for two reasons:
    1. The architecture offers a number of powerful abstractions for content management that map well onto the underlying technology.
    2. The underlying technology is open source and standards or pseudo-standards based (e.g. Spring) thereby promoting best practices, robust implementation and configurability.
Several important abstractions have been added to Alfresco in version 2.0 with the introduction of WCM. Some of these new abstractions and some pre-version 2.0 abstractions seem not to be integrated across the entire platform; specifically:

Pre-version 2.0 abstractions not integrated with WCM:
    - Extending the content model with custom aspects.
    - Applying custom rules over space content.
    - Define custom associations between space content.
    - Search across content and properties.
Version 2.0 WCM abstractions not integrated with pre-2.0 Alfresco content:
    - XSD definition and XForm creation of content.
    - Template engine transformation of content.
    - Transparent layering of content.
Some forum discussions and Jira issues suggest that integration is underway:
As I am new to Alfresco and despite having studied the roadmap, I remain uncertain of Alfresco's goals with regard to integrating these abstractions across the platform. I am concerned that what Alfresco is today is insufficient for our business requirements, yet I am optimistic that our requirements could be met provided these abstractions are extended across the platform.

Specifically, we publish a web site that promotes a catalog of products, events and services. The product, event and service information originates from any of n business divisions and we modify, embellish and assign supplementary information for publication to the web. Our production process involves the collaboration of many actors with distinct roles and therefore, access control, workflow, versioning and virtualization are all important concerns.

Ideally, division product, event and service information could be ingested into our system and extended with custom meta-data using aspects for reuse, tracking and assembly. This information backed by transparent layering could be collaboratively updated using XForms associated with rendition templates for producing site content. Content changes could be managed via approval workflows that, in conjunction with associated meta-data, would trigger custom rules for further transformation and approval or publication. Contributors include both machines and people so we need interfaces for collaboration suitable to both (specifically APIs and UIs respectively). Finally, our site content must be published either by crawling a virtualized view or from a CIFs mount or a combination of the two.

Alfresco offers the necessary abstractions for each part of our scenario, however, the abstractions do not extend across the entire platform; consequently, there results an arbitrary distinction between pre-2.0 and WCM content that breaks the feasibility of our business requirements. We need the pre and post version 2.0 abstractions working across the entire platform in order to achieve our goals.

Could someone knowledgeable about the Alfresco roadmap and vision speak to these concerns? Will Alfresco be able to meet the requirements of the scenario I outline above and in what timeframe?


P.S. I found the following thread comments closely related to my questions: