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Alfresco: Wish List

There is no doubt about it, but Alfresco is already a great system that can allow you to do a multitude of things, but, things can always be improved upon. I would imagine this will be a constantly evolving list, but here's some wishes to start with. If you have anymore, let me know and I'll add them in.

Configuration

The bods at Alfresco realised a while ago that configuration was a pain and not in the least bit simple. So in recent years they have moved away from hand editing XML files to using property files. And now, they have introduced JMX interfaces to make life even easier. However it would be great to get some nicely presented GUI that would allow you to do most (if not all) of the configuration. It would increase adoption as the learning curve would drop and may ultimately reduce their support costs in the long wrong. A nicely presented GUI for expanding the content model would be a dream come true!

Alfresco Share

If you don't already know, Alfresco Share is a content collaboration platform that makes it easy for people from across an organisation to collaborate on content. Whilst it has come on in leaps and bounds since its original outing, there are a few things that could be improved. Given that Alfresco seems to be putting most of their development into Share, some of these might actually already be in the pipeline.

Permissions

At the moment it is possible to invite people to join a Share site with different levels of permission (Manager, Collaborator, Contributor and Consumer). It is also possible to vary the permission levels of those groups within a directory. So, for example, you may want to say that only Collaborators have access to this area and everyone else doesn't have access. But it would be nice to be a bit more granular about it. Could we instead say that Joe Bloggs only has access to this area. This is possible in the now creaking Alfresco Explorer, but as far as I'm aware, not in Share.

Batch Adding

One of the nice things about Share is its ability to invite people to join the site. Whilst this is great for a small number of users, it would be nice to be able to batch import people. For example if I was wanting to use Share as an intranet, whilst I could make the site public and let people find it that way, it doesn't show up in their list of sites. Instead, it would be nice to say that everyone is a member of the site.

Invites

As you add new users to a site, they all get an invitation. Whilst this is all very useful, there are times where it would be nice to turn it off. We have had cases where people have simply kept clicking on the join link in their email to access the site, rather than learning how to navigate to it properly.

Sharing between Sites

As far as I'm aware, as it stands, content within a Share site is isolated from other content. I can't move that content, or share it with another site. This can cause duplication of effort. It would be nice instead to have some mechanism to send it to another site. For example, I could have a collaboration site for a team of people who are working on a specific set of procedures. Once those procedures have been finalised, they send it on to a public site that contains all the procedures for public reference.

Automatic Setup of Content types based on Content Model

Again, another great feature of Alfresco is its content modelling capability. Whilst I can just about cope with creating the XML file to extend the content model, what gets really tedious is then having to extend the Alfresco clients as well. This would probably closely relate to my point above about making it easier to configure Alfresco.

Reporting

This is perhaps one of the biggest areas in which Alfresco is lacking. Meaningful management reporting information. At its most basic, I'd like to have an area that lets me see how much space each user is using, how much space is each Site using. Can we see who the most active users/sites are. Who is approaching their quotas. The list could go on.

Backup / Restore

We back up Alfresco on a nightly basis, but restoring that information isn't really an easy process. If a file has been deleted from Alfresco and needs to be restored, it's not a trivial process. Instead it would be nice to be able to point Alfresco at our backups and click the file we want restored and away it goes. I can see infinite complexities with this wish give the myriad of backup options etc etc, but it would be nice!

Quotas

It is possible to assign quotas to users within Alfresco, but what would be really nice is to assign quotas to areas. We have people that deal with huge amounts of data and what we'd like to do is make sure that they are putting appropriate data in Alfresco and not just using it as another storage medium for mp3/video/etc.

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