Alfresco 3 Enterprise Content Management Implementation by Munwar Shariff, Vinita Choudhary, Amita Bhandari, and Pallika Majumdar
After reviewing the first version of this book, Alfresco Enterprise Content Management Implementation, a few months ago, the writer/publisher provided me a free copy of the book and wanted me to review the updated version.
My first impression of the book was that it was much larger than the first book, about 40% more pages. This makes sense, since Alfresco 3 has a lot more features than Alfresco 1.4, which the first book was based off of. Here is my synopsis of the various chapters:
Chapter 1-8 reviews basic features in Alfresco 3. There is new info on dynamic model and how it supports multi-tenancy, which is also a new feature in Alfresco Enterprise. The advanced workflow chapter has been updated and flows better than as described in the first book. This was my only “complaint” in the first book. I was delighted to see that this was addressed in the current version.
Chapter 9 discusses various methods to integrate with other applications. This chapter reads like a cookbook, but this is probably due to the various enhancements to Alfresco 3 that were created to support CMIS, REST, and other apps like Liferay, Dupal, Joomla, iPhone, iGoogle, and Facebook. The core of many of these enhancements is the use of web scripts. For those of you not familiar with web scripts, the authors did a good job describing the technology and providing examples of how to integrate Alfresco with these other apps.
Chapter 10 covers Alfresco Share, which is the collaborative UI built as alternative to SharePoint. Unlike the rest of the book, this chapter was written like a user guide to my dismay. It went into great detail of how to perform various actions in the Share. This information is already available as part of the product help. A high-level overview of all the various features would have been sufficient.
Chapter 11 & 12 talks about how to customize Alfresco Explorer & Share and how Search works. With Alfresco 3, search now includes Open Search, which supports federated search across multiple Alfresco repositories as well as other data sources (eg Yahoo, Google, etc).
Chapter 13 provides an updated example of how to implement a imaging and forms processing solution using Alfresco.
Chapter 14 (the final chapter) provides updated information on the administration of Alfresco. This includes descriptions of how Alfresco can be clustered (multi-server/single repository) and how to set up a Alfresco in a fail-over mode (hot backup). There is also a section describing user quota feature that is part of the multi-tenancy support. I found this chapter very insightful and most useful from an application architect perspective.
Overall, this book is a excellent primer if you are learning about Alfresco for the first time. If you already know the basics about Alfresco or if you already have the original book, about half the book is similar to the original. The other half covers new features in Alfresco 3.
On a side note, even though Alfresco as a technology is cool, Alfresco as an organization is not as impressive. I have reached out to three different people at Alfresco requesting information and have not received any replies. You have to wonder how many people actually are working behind the scenes.