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 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.
- 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?