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Some remarks on Alfresco 4.2 usability

Question asked by vassilisx on Dec 6, 2012
Latest reply on Jan 14, 2013 by kevinr
A little out-dated perhaps, the following are some remarks about the usability of Alfresco 4.2, some good points and some shortcomings, as well as some thoughts on a couple of concepts.

Having anxiously waited for what seems like ages now, finaly the new -and much expected- release of Alfresco is out! From the moment I saw that "share" link on the cloud I couldn't see the time to use it on my on-premise installation… And here it is!

A few remarks on usability issues:

Let's take it from the positives:
  • Much faster than the previous one!

  • Users can finall "share" their conent. A necessary feature in a world where "sharing" becomes more an more a main communication channel both in our private and professional lives.

  • Google docs is up and running! This is a very useful feature, since it allows you to edit documents online without having to worry about connecting alfresco with an Office suite.

  • Facebook is working!! (a VERY MUCH expected bug fix…)

  • The wiki has become searchable in non-standard latin characters (I use mixed latin - greek characters for my content)

  • Content workflow visible in "Workflows I've started" list. In v.4.0.1e when I created a workflow using the menu of a content item, that workflow would not show up on the "Workflows I've started" list. Now it does, as expected.
…and let's nug a little about the shortcomings:
  • The flash previewer fails to respond as expected. Some documents in some operating systems (e.g. ubuntu 12.04 LTS) can be previewed, while in some others (e.g. kUbuntu 12.04 LTS) not.

  • Talking about Google Docs, afresco creates a new version of the document every time that google docs auto-saves it. Which means that you end up pretty soon with tens of previous versions!

  • Facebook UI needs a little more tweeking to achieve perfection. If you get a "pop up blocking" alert from your browser when adding a f/b channel, the channel will be actually added, but it may not be visible. Just refresh your browser to see it.

  • "Publish" and "Share" are a bit confusing for the user. I would expect that I would be able to "publish" something in Facebook, instead I can only "Share" it there…

  • All day events cannot be edited in Calendar (Could not load dialog template from '/share/service/components/calendar/add-event'.)

  • The calendar month view does not fit to the screen, which I find counter-intuitive.
Finally a few more remarks on some concepts:
  • Concerning the integration of google docs to alfresco, I can see two major issues: 1) Using GD means that you will have security issues, since google docs is involved in your content management. 2) It confuses the notion of "permission", since a google doc can also be shared with other gmail users, thus creating even more security issues.

  • When creating a workflow on a document and mark its state as "Completed" you can't see the "Approve" button any more, while the task remains in your "My tasks" dashlet. The "Save changes" and "Aprove or Reject" is confusing for the user. For example when you write a comment and "Approve" the document, your comment will never make it to the receiver, because it's not saved!