Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images
"It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom." - President Barack Obama, January 20, 2008
How do you put out a release on one of the biggest days in history? The answer is you don’t, you wait until the day after and create a new beginning.
I’m pleased to announce that the final release of the open source Alfresco Labs 3.0. Alfresco Labs 3 has been our most important version of Alfresco yet. Combining new technologies, new techniques, new standards and new levels of ease of use, we have been fulfilling a lot of the vision that we had when we started Alfresco four years ago. This release combines the stabilization work that we have been working on in the enterprise release with new innovations specifically for the open source community.
The Alfresco Labs 3 releases that started in summer of last year have been aimed at expanding our collaboration and social computing initiatives and to providing an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. In doing so, we have introduced a number of new capabilities that have not been seen in either commercial or open source systems:
- The first implementation of the new CMIS specification that is now in the standardization process with OASIS and promises to become the SQL of content management. Both the REST-based Atom Publishing Protocol and SOAP Web Services are provided.
- The first ECM implementation of the Microsoft SharePoint protocol after publication of the protocol by Microsoft in April 2008.
- New SURF, REST-enabled web runtime to provide an AJAX-enabled set of content management and collaboration components that utilize the rich Yahoo YUI AJAX libraries.
- Alfresco Share, which is a new collaboration application built using our WCM technology and provides on-demand collaboration sites integrated with SURF collaboration and Microsoft Office integration through the SharePoint protocol.
- New SURF collaboration components including wikis, blogs, forums, calendars, discussions, and social tagging.
- A new document management experience with the SURF-based document library that includes thumbnail and preview generation to avoid long downloads and eliminates the need to have the application locally with a Flash-based preview.
- Continued innovation of our WCM platform introducing features from the most recent enterprise release including web farm deployment, virtualization and reuse of assets between web sites. We have also converted much of the WCM functionality into Web Scripts that are accessible from you SURF applications.
- Multi-tenant capability to create virtual instances of Alfresco from a single machine.
- Managing in-bound email to collaboration sites for email-based collaboration.
- Integration of native PHP interpretation with the Caucho Quercus interpreter for integration of PHP applications and development of Web Script and SURF components in PHP.
- The new Web Studio drag and drop web site development tool designed to develop SURF sites and applications.
Perhaps most important is the fact that the enterprise and open source lines were merged to provide bug fixes found by our customers or through the certification process on a multitude of platforms. Since the majority of our enterprise customers start using Alfresco as a result of using the open source version first, it is in our interests to have a viable, robust open source implementation of Alfresco. We also believe that ultimately the primary reason people are buying the enterprise subscription is for support, warranty and indemnification and the fact that Alfresco is open source is what draws them in the first place. We therefore recommend that the community upgrade to this version of Alfresco as soon as possible.
There are still new features being introduced for the first time as part of this release. Web Studio is new separate application using the new SURF web framework to provide a drag and drop design experience to build SURF web sites and applications. Web Studio allows you to work with and view the web site you are developing, but uses the Yahoo YUI AJAX libraries. Web Studio is also designed to develop and edit web sites safely by using the new WCM REST-based Web Scripts and is fully interoperable with the Alfresco WCM application.
With the economy in the dumps, this is a particularly propitious time to release the stable open source version of Alfresco 3.0. Open source should thrive in this environment. Where companies and IT organizations may not even take a call from a traditional enterprise salesperson, they will download open source software. We want to be able to build market share in the ECM market with open source that is robust and thriving.