Alfresco 2.0 Released

Alfresco 2.0 Community is now available for download. Alfresco has done a lot of work since the last time I posted about their work-in-progress. In that post, I said that some open issues about their WCM functionality included: (1) how workflow would be integrated, (2) how versioning and rollback would work, and (3) how deployment would be handled.

Two of those open issues–workflow and versioning/rollback–were addressed in subsequent preview/beta releases. In 2.0, WCM workflow leverages the JBPM engine, but you don’t have to fire up the JBPM Process Designer to implement Alfresco WCM workflows. Instead, there are two default workflows provided out-of-the-box–one for serial flows and one for parallel flows. When you configure the workflow for a web form you specify the people that need to review the content before it is published. If you specified a serial workflow, they’ll get the task one after another or simultaneously if you specified parallel.
In most WCM implementations, it isn’t practical for 100% of the content to be templated. But non-templated content needs to be reviewed as well. Alfresco handles this by allowing you to configure a workflows for non-templated content. A cool feature is that you can use a regular expression to route the content appropriately. For example, you might want images to route to one group of people but PDFs or other editorial content to route to another group.

Virtualization comes into play with regard to workflow. Alfresco’s virtualization is leveraged when reviewers preview the web site so they can see what the web site will look like in the context of the changes being proposed.

In the versioning and rollback department, snapshots of the entire site are taken every time changes are promoted to staging. You can roll back to any of those snapshots with a single click.

Alfresco’s done a good job implementing web forms to be reusable across multiple web projects within the repository, even when different web sites may choose to use the web forms differently. For example, when you set up a web form you can define the default output path, zero or more presentation templates, and a default workflow. The cool thing is that when you instantiate a web project, you can pick from the available web forms. When you do, you can change the default options. This feature is going to save a lot template development and maintenance time, especially for companies managing multiple online properties.
I haven’t yet figured out how well deployment is addressed in the GA release of 2.0. I know the plan is to support deployment between a core Alfresco repository and a “read-only” Alfresco repository as well as to the file system. The early and beta releases of 2.0 didn’t include this functionality so it will be interesting to see how deployment is addressed in the GA release.

There are several other changes that have been made since the preview release. And not all 2.0 features are WCM-specific. (Many will be glad to know a tree view of the repository is now available). Check the roadmap at the Alfresco Wiki for a detailed list of what’s new.

Note that if you’re downloading Community 2.0 and you want both the core repository as well as WCM you’ll need to follow the 2.0 download link as well as the WCM link. The WCM download includes the virtualization server, some config info, and a sample form.

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