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Developing custom app against Alfresco

Question asked by vladap on Apr 12, 2011
we are seriously considering Alfresco as a DMS in our company to solve our DM needs in general. But we have a custom application producing reports from a manufacturing processes. At the same time we are prototyping a new version of this application for development. It means we are thinking how to integrate these reports to Alfresco. The custom apllication runs on MySQL and there is a table with data for reports and these reports can be easily constructed by a simple SQL selecting rows belonging to a particular report. I'm new to all technologies like Java, Hibernate, Spring etc., thus I have bit of a problem to put my picture together to understand what I need to do to implement it. We would like to use Share and move the custom app to a web app integrated with Share. Please, can anybody bring some light for me what implementation/integration strategy should I use? Many thanks for any advice.

My one idea based on my current understanding of Alfresco is to create a custom type in Alfresco which would represent the report, adding all Alfresco DM features to it - searchable, versioning… I would move all report editing (corrections) to the Alfresco. My question is if it is somehow (and how) possible to map Alfresco content type to an SQL which would retrieve a content for the report from another database and save changes to that foreign database.
Every change is saved as an incremental transaction thus it could be somehow posible to retrieve a particular version (via Alfresco versioning), like the original from machine.

Or should we develop our custom application to work completely against Alfresco repository? No on its own database. Then I would need to convert or add these tables to Alfresco - Transactions (all atomic operations with relation who, what, when, did what, table filled by machine, changes via correction transactions added based on user editing of reports), Reports (grouped and summed transactions for an order, when transaction is added this table changes its sums), Orders (automaticaly imported from an accounting application), Machines.I would like to see orders and reports as documents in Alfresco with all Alfresco dms features and edit them form here.