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Open source CM



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Alfresco has developed what it calls the first open source enterprise-scale content management system that includes a modern content repository, an out-of-the-box portal framework for managing and using content designed to work with standard portals and a Common Internet File System (CIFS) interface that provides Microsoft Windows file system compatibility. The Alfresco system is developed using the latest Java technologies including JBoss 4.0, JBoss Portal 2.0, Spring 1.2, Hibernate 3.0, MyFaces 1.0, Lucene 1.4 and Java 1.5.

Some of the first features available in this release include:

Modern repository. Alfresco says its repository is designed to be distributed, federated and scalable. The system is architected to use aspects and aspect-oriented programming wherever possible, facilitating streamlined communication between components and the introduction of new capabilities incrementally without re-coding. Aspects allow collapsing of communication barriers, introduction of Web services and simplifying the use of security, transactions, caching and version control.

Standards-based portal components. Alfresco explains its system includes an out-of-the-box portal solution to simplify the development of enterprise and departmental portals. This component includes a framework of portlets for interacting with the repository. The reusable, extensible portlets are developed using the JSR-168 standard and integrate with any JSR-168 compatible portal, such as the JBoss 2.0 Portal. Further, says Alfresco, the portlets are developed using the JSR-127 Java Server Faces standards, which is a tagged-based interface for adding user interface capability without programming the user interface presentation. The Alfresco JSF tags can be used in the development of custom portlets.

Shared file system emulation. Alfresco has included emulation of the Common Internet File System (CIFS) standard, which allows users to access the Alfresco repository as though they were accessing a shared drive, permitting offline synchronization, drive mounting and access from any application. A rules-based engine provides automatic versioning, classification and control, eliminating the manual work associated with content management systems.

Application programming interfaces. The Alfresco system is designed to make programming of content management applications easy. As standards emerge, Alfresco will add these interfaces to the repository and make them interoperable with existing APIs. The main API is service-oriented to support Web services, other languages such as Perl and PHP and to provide a stateless, scalable application base. The Web services and WebDAV interfaces will be available in the near future, says Alfresco.


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