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Finding and Identifying Content in WCM

Question asked by sturner on Apr 9, 2007
Latest reply on Apr 20, 2007 by kvc
Here's an issue I'd like to just post for discussion and to see if anyone else has thought about it.

Part of what we'd like to use Alfresco for is to house what amounts to a knowledge base - a large number of FAQ-type articles each with a fairly simple structure:

- Question
- Answer
- Keyword list
- Category/Topic

We currently have about 1,800 such articles and the number is increasing all the time. With this many items, some problems in managing the content become apparent in Alfresco WCM:

1. It's not easy to find an existing article when you need to make a change. Paging through thousands of documents shouldn't be the only way.

2. When creating a new article, the user must enter a unique name, and there's no easy way for the user to know what names have already been used. In fact, there's no need for the user to have to enter a document name for this type of content.

3. We would really to be able to associate an immutable unique identifier with a document - an identifier other than the document name. This would allow us to change a document's name without breaking web app's reference to the document.

I realize the upcoming search capability may help with the first issue - but only if it's well integrated with the current WCM authoring UI. Will the search feature allow users to say "get me the document with name element = "Dreamweaver" ?

The second part could be addressed by having the ability to let Alfresco auto-generate document names. This could be based on a sequential integer or a guid-type string. A web form could be allowed to have an output-name specifier something like "${autoname}.xml" and the auto-generated name would be placed in the name field when the use first selected "create web content".

The third issue could also be addressed by the availability of a unique-id-generation feature. A unique value could be generated and stored in an "ID" element in the xml file. It would be nice if this element could be made read-only when it appeared on the input forms. We have already experimented with auto-generating ID element values using a custom type & JSP, but we aren't able to make the field read-only on the web forms.

I realize this is all about giving "database" kind of functionality to the WCM - I'll be interested to hear people's thoughts.

Thanks,
Steve

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