Month: August 2012

New Dashlet Challenge Deadline: 10 September

Multiple people have asked for an extension of the Dashlet Challenge deadline. So let’s extend it to September 10, 2012 at 12:00 BST. That gives you this weekend and next weekend to get your entries submitted.

That’s also the last day of DevCon early-bird registration. Because some of you might be waiting to see if you win DevCon passes for your submission, it means you are risking missing out on the early-bird discount. I don’t want this to happen, so if you submit your Dashlet Challenge entry by the new deadline, I’ll make sure you get early-bird pricing if you don’t win a DevCon pass. Sound fair?

Now get to coding!

DevCon Hack-a-Thon & Activiti Day

Just a quick note about recent DevCon goings-on in case you’ve missed this via other channels…

Early-Bird Registration Ends 10 September!

Just a friendly reminder: You can save some money if you sign up before 10 September, so do not wait to sign-up.

DevCon 2012 Promo Video

Includes a few quotes from the Alfresco community’s colorful cast of characters.

DevCon 2012 Hack-a-Thon

We’re going to be doing a Hack-a-Thon the day before the main conference starts in both Berlin and San Jose. This will run concurrently with the optional Fundamentals and Advanced Training classes. So if you are an Alfresco old-timer who doesn’t need Fundamentals or Advanced training, show up a day early and join us in the hack-a-thon. We’re still deciding which projects we’re going to work on that day. More info will be posted on the DevCon Hack-a-Thon page as it develops.

Activiti Day Berlin

If you are attending DevCon Berlin and you have any interest in Activiti, you should plan on staying an extra day and joining us for an Activiti Community reception the night of 7 November and then an all day Activiti Community event on 8 November. See the DevCon blog for more details.

DevCon Lightning Talks Debut

We’re planning on having two lightning talk sessions, one on each day of the main conference, at both DevCon events this year. We are planning on using the Ignite format, but if that is holding a significant number of people back, we may decide to relax that requirement. If you want to give a 5-minute talk at DevCon, sign up now.

Alfresco demo showing rule based on lat/lon, Mobile App, & CMIS

When I go to conferences and events like OSCON, JavaONE, and Red Hat Summit that are broader than our little ECM corner of the IT world, I run into many people who have yet to discover Alfresco. So I always try to have a demo ready that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Here’s a screencast of the one I used for OSCON this year:

It isn’t technically mind-blowing, but that’s not the point of the demo. The point is to answer the simple question: What can I do with Alfresco?

I like this demo because it shows…

  • Multiple examples of rules. The ability for an end-user to configure rules in the user interface is such a simple concept, but it is a very powerful feature.
  • Metadata extraction. In this case I’m using the out-of-the-box image metadata extraction to grab the lat/long from some image files. The rule then sorts the images into folders that correspond to the geographic region where the photos were taken.
  • Multiple ways of getting content into the repository. I’m showing inbound SMTP and drag-and-drop, but if someone asks about FTP, WebDAV, or CIFS, that’s easy to show too. And showing that those rules fire in any case is key.
  • A simple example of server-side JavaScript, which is great for power users and administrators.
  • A custom data list (which can lead to a discussion of custom content models). I’m using a data list to define the geographic regions the script uses to sort the photos into.
  • Two of my favorite community contributed Add-Ons, the Geotagged Content Dashlet and the JavaScript Console.
  • The mobile app and gives a glimpse of what you can do with a mobile app when it integrates with other cool mobile apps (PDFExpert in this example).
  • A custom application (happens to be a little Python app, less than 200 lines of code, IIRC) using CMIS. If I really want to drive the CMIS point home I’ll show the app hitting Alfresco, then I’ll point the same app at another vendor’s CMIS-compliant repository. Database people yawn, but anyone that’s ever had to code against more than one vendor’s ECM repository love that.

If I’m doing this for a small group this is usually enough to get a conversation started and we can go off into the weeds based on what piqued their interest, whether that’s a lower level of detail on the points above or some other part of the platform that the demo didn’t hit (like search, workflow, versioning, security, web scripts, and on and on).

There are some rough spots and the “photo contest” story could be tightened up, but I think it gets people’s gears turning.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to demo Alfresco to newcomers?


Alfresco News Recap: DevCon, Survey, Dashlets, & a Forums Milestone

The news in the Alfresco world is happening faster than my sluggish blogging pace can keep up with, so I am forced to write a “recap” style post to keep you informed. It won’t win a Peabody, but at least you’ll be in the know…

Alfresco DevCon Registration Goes Live

Alfresco DevCon registration has been live for a little over a week. This year, we have a cool site just for DevCon that includes the full agenda, travel info, speaker bios, and a sponsor listing. Early-bird registration ends September 10 for both Berlin and San Jose. We’re on a pretty good pace right now with registrations so I would not wait around to secure your spot.

Alfresco Community Survey

The survey ended a couple of months ago. Honestly, we had a disappointing response rate compared to last year. Still, there was some good feedback provided. I’m responding to many of you to get you to elaborate further on your suggestions or to respond to specific questions. I’m about halfway through my follow-up list. Last year, I published the survey results and I’ll do that again this year before too long.

Alfresco Dashlet Challenge

The Alfresco Dashlet Challenge has just kicked off. This is a developer-focused contest in which people try to see who can create the coolest Add-Ons for Alfresco Share. You could win one of three Android tablets and a free DevCon pass if you can edge out the stiff competition. My blog post on talks about some of last year’s submissions and includes a link to the full terms and conditions. My fellow American citizens were a big no-show in last year’s Dashlet Challenge, so I’m hoping to see that corrected this year!

Mark Rogers Makes His 4,000th Post

If you’ve spent any time in the Alfresco Forums, odds are you’ve come across Mark. He’s been a dedicated soul, working tirelessly to answer questions on just about every topic imaginable, since 2008. He’s routinely in the top 1 or 2 users in terms of volume in any given month. What’s great about Mark, though, is not just that he’s prolific–he’s also helpful. The guy has racked up 287 points, which is second only to Mike Hatfield. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Mark’s. Well, last month, Mark made his 4000th post in the Alfresco Forums. 4000 posts! Just to give you some perspective, that’s about 1.5 times higher than the person with the 3rd highest number of posts (Kevin Roast). Of course everyone who spends significant amount of time in the forums on their own time deserves kudos, but when you see Mark at DevCon (or run into him in the forums) please congratulate him on this milestone.

While I’m on the topic of forums, we did pretty good on cutting down on unanswered posts in February, March, and April. Those months had some of the lowest number of unanswered topics as a percentage of topics created. But now we’re creeping back up to our old numbers. If you get a chance, maybe you could spend an extra 30 minutes in the forums this week. If everyone did an extra post a week (which is about 1/30th of Mark’s pace!) it would really help out.