The ECM landscape improves with Alfresco Community Edition 3.2

There is a real fear out there. A fear involving companies commercially supporting open source software and neglecting the "free" community version of their software. Fortunately for us, when looking for proof of this fear Alfresco is in the wrong direction to look. Alfresco Community Edition 3.2 brings so many new capabilities and improvements to the table that you can almost see the enterprise content management landscape brighten up.

Alfresco Community Edition logo“Lean times call for a lean, robust and inexpensive ECM system. Alfresco Community Edition 3.2 has been designed to reduce the cost of information handling while supporting corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Management,” said John Newton, CTO, Alfresco Software. “Our aim has been to deliver a content services environment in which users can work the way they want, with the tools they want, enhancing productivity through workforce mobility and future proofing organizations’ content applications with CMIS.”

CMIS is an interoperability standard that will allow for compliant clients (such as Joomla! and Drupal) and repositories (such as SharePoint and Alfresco) to interoperate and share content across information silos. There are a lot of companies claiming to support interoperability, but it has been my observation that Alfresco is well ahead of the game when it comes to CMIS. Do a Google search for CMIS and you'll find Alfresco comes on top more often than not.

John Newton provides a nice overview of Alfresco Community Edition 3.2 on his blog, including some very nice screenshots of the new features. One of those screenshots shows the improvements made with accessing content through mobile devices. It's hard not to be impressed seeing Alfresco Share designed for use on the go with the Apple iPhone. If you really want to see the improvements made in Alfresco 3.2, then John's post is a must read.

I don't have the nice pictures of the features introduced with Alfresco Community Edition 3.2, but I do have a press release. Also let me give you a heads up on the DoD certification information regarding enhanced records management (RM). This section of the press release may sound boring stuff, but when you deal with the legal requirements for enterprise level software you'll often find that boring often translates to important.

New features in Alfresco Community Edition 3.2 include:

  • Enhanced Records Management – Laying the groundwork for supporting Records Management (RM) in readiness for DoD 5015.2 certification in September 2009, Alfresco RM will enable companies to support the strict legal requirements needed to manage vital company information. Functionality will include metadata management, YUI-based forms, lifecycle management, CMIS-based query access, email capture, import/export facility and auditing. 
  • Mobile Access – The Smartphone client provides support for mobile devices (including Apple’s iPhone), providing the first ECM designed to enable mobile collaboration for business processes on the go. Users can now search, view and edit content, activities and tasks from anywhere. Rather than delivery by desktop application, the client interface is designed for the new Smartphone form factors.
  • Email Client Access & Archiving via IMAP Support – Simple ‘drag and drop’ allows users to share key messages with colleagues and team members without contributing to the ever-growing volume of forwarded email. Alfresco’s unique transparent IMAP standard protocol support provides full access to repository services without a client install and can be accessed from mobile devices. The virtualized repository support enables users to manage and archive emails within the corporate content repository. By using automation to extract key information from email metadata, attachments and associations, Alfresco Community 3.2 makes it easy to classify emails and attachments in accordance with an organization’s RM processes.
  • CMIS/Interoperability Support – Alfresco Community 3.2 offers full support (SOAP Web Services, REST and Query) for version 0.61 of the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification, providing the most complete implementation of CMIS to date and allowing CMIS compliant clients and repositories to interoperate and share content across information silos.
  • Extranet Collaboration – Alfresco Community 3.2 is scalable to tens of thousands of users, is cloud-ready for EC2 and other cloud service providers and supports content collaboration outside the enterprise or in the cloud. Enhancements to the Alfresco Share application include new components such as image galleries and a forms system for flexible metadata capture.  A new systems administration module provides moderated sites and advanced user, group and site membership management.
  • WCM Authoring and Deployment – Alfresco Community 3.2 includes significant performance increases to improve deployment of web site content to external web sites through highly-parallel web site deployment and publishing. A new open and flexible deployment architecture makes it simpler to deploy content to multiple delivery environments and allows easy integration into the web delivery tier.

For instructions on how to download and install Alfresco Labs refer to the Alfresco Download Community page.