Category: Alfresco Book

The Alfresco Developer Guide (Packt Publishing) is an award-winning book that is a must-read for developers getting ramped up on the Alfresco platform.

Ungrateful? Nah, just a publishing flub

I suppose it is inevitable that an author opens his book for the first time and immediately sees a problem. An obvious typo perhaps. Or maybe a sentence or topic that could have been made more clear. For me it was a little more jarring. Picture this scene: Wife and kids gathered around a box. Everybody doing a fake drumroll. Box opens, book opens, and…hey, wait a second. Where the hell is the acknowledgements page? You know, the one that thanks my wife and kids for putting up with me. Nowhere, that’s where! Maybe in some unorthodox location? Flip to the back. Nope. Nada.

So, if you own a copy of the book and it is missing the acknowledgements, consider it a collector’s item. Hopefully, Packt will fix this problem before too many more get shipped. To the reader it isn’t an issue, but to me it is a big deal because it is important to express my appreciation to the large group of folks that made this project come together. It certainly wasn’t a solo effort. So, until this gets fixed, here is the elusive acknowledgements section.


This book would not have been possible without Optaros. What an awesome place to work and what a stellar team to work with. Thanks to Bob Gett, Mavis Chin, and Marc Osofsky for providing an incredible level of senior leadership support. Dave Gynn, John Eckman, and Seth Gottlieb (we miss you, Seth!) also provided early inspiration and counsel. Noreen Vincent helped with marketing and promo. Optaros colleagues from around the world rolled up their sleeves and dug in with code and technical editing: Olivier P├ępin, Brian Doyal, Xavier Naud, Jens Scheutter, Alan Fehr, and Michael Ruflin all gave incredible amounts of thorough and thoughtful feedback. The book is significantly better than it would have been because of your involvement.

Alfresco has been tremendously supportive of and excited about this project. Thanks to John Powell, John Newton, Matt Asay, Dr. Ian Howells, Paul Holmes-Higgin, Luis Sala, Phil Robinson, Michael Uzquiano, and Nancy Garrity for providing information and support and for building such a cool platform. Alfresco team members also pitched in with technical reviews: David Caruana, James Urquhart, Jean Barmash, and Peter Monks spent time reading chapters and providing feedback when they probably should have been cranking out 3.0 code.

David Barnes at Packt Publishing deserves thanks for suggesting the project and getting it on track. Rajashree Hamine and Nikhil Bangera have done a great job holding me to task and handling everything on the Packt side.

My readers deserve a big thanks. Your helpful feedback and encouragement motivated me to keep posting. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Finally, to Christy, Justin, and Caroline: Thank you for putting up with the late nights and lost weekends, providing so much encouragement, and being so understanding.

Alfresco Developer Guide released

I can finally answer the question, “When is the book coming out?”. The answer: Today. The Alfresco Developer Guide is now available for immediate shipping from Packt‘s web site.

There are a lot of people who made this thing happen including an awesome team of colleagues at Optaros, the entire Alfresco crew, the Packt team, and the support of my family. I’ve expressed my thanks individually in the acknowledgments and I hope I haven’t left anyone out.

I’m pretty excited how the book turned out. One of my roles as the Director of the ECM Practice is to get our consultants and our clients up to speed on open source CMS technology like Alfresco. I tried to organize the book in the same way I cover these topics in-person so the book flows just like it would if you and I were sitting in a room and you said, “I’ve been poking around with Alfresco on my own but now I’m ready to really start to do something with it.” I start with core fundamentals (content modeling, actions, behaviors, extractors) and gradually work “outward” through web client customizations, web scripts, advanced workflow, WCM, and security.

The book’s title has “developer guide” in it for a reason: It is more of a tutorial than it is an exhaustive reference. I figured with resources available like the wiki, the forums, and the source code, it was more important and helpful to step you through real-world examples.

My hope is that this book flattens the learning curve for everyone. And maybe in some way it will encourage companies that feel stuck in their currently legacy CMS to explore options.

Progress on the Alfresco book

Several readers have asked how the book I’m writing on Alfresco development is coming along. First of all, thanks for asking. It has been quite a project. The first draft of the entire book is now complete. What’s happening now is that a group of technical reviewers from Alfresco, Optaros, and Packt, the book’s publisher, are going through the chapters and providing comments. So far, I’ve been able to turn those around quickly but I anticipate an increasing volume of feedback as we move into the later, more technical, chapters.

I’m pretty excited about how it is coming together. If you like the tone and scope of the Alfresco Developer Series of tutorials you’re going to like the book. The book is full of hands-on examples so it should be really good for people that are new to the Alfresco platform.

It would be great if we could publish by the time the North American Community Conference happens in Washington D.C. on October 9th, but to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the schedule looks like from here on out. I’ll give another update as we get closer to publication.

My Summer Project: a Book

I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, but as faithful readers have noticed, it hasn’t been in the blog. What’s the cause of the post slowdown? I’ve taken on a project that I hope you’ll be excited about. This Spring, Packt approached me about writing an Alfresco developer’s guide. Honestly, I went back-and-forth with the idea. Ultimately, it was the encouragement from readers that swayed my decision.

I began writing on President’s Day. I thought the Alfresco Developer Series articles would be a good start and would save some time, and they have, but they represent a relatively small portion of the overall work and I’m doing a fair amount of restructuring of that content. The current schedule has the writing finishing up toward the end of summer with us going to press some time after that.

Optaros is fully behind the project–there’s no way I could do this without their support. Alfresco is excited about it too, although we’re all expecting the timing to be a bit tricky with 3.0 coming out in roughly the same time frame. I’m currently making sure all example code runs on both the latest Enterprise release as well as the latest Community release–we’ll see if I can keep that up. It remains to be seen how much of the new 3.0 web client I’ll be able to cover based on the timing.

So that’s why posts and comment responses have slowed down a bit. I think I’ve caught up on responding to comments (and keep those coming, by the way). If you posted a comment within the last month or so and never saw anything from me, you might have a look to see if I’ve addressed your question, especially on the Web Scripts as Liferay Portlets post, which saw a lot of activity.