WPS Portal project

Sunday, June 01, 2008

PDM is dead...long life to alfresco !

As an architect, I always appreciate software solutions which are "open" and which can easily integrate with the information system of the enterprise. Alfresco is definetely one of those solutions.
Alfresco has been selected as our "basic" document management tool. In fact, it offers a lots of features out-of-the- box, and it can be almost considered as an "advanced" software...But some of the most important criterias for our choice was not only the document management capacities, but also all the integration capacities...

In term of connexion, Alfresco offers the following various protocol : CIFS, webDav, FTP, and WebService (please note that almost every features are exposed through WS).
So for the portal side we have created a custom Portlet based on the Alfresco standard WS.(the only issue was that the Alfresco WS client is based on JDK 1.5, and WPS portal 5.x uses JDK 1.4...but downgrading the client is not really difficult).
Morevover, it can very easily synchronized with a LDAP. We have made some improvements on the standard "user-provisioning" synchronization scripts, mainly to support embedded UserGroup, and allow for recursivity when doing the User lookup. Once again, doing this modification was quite simple, as the product is designed for openness and configurability. So we are now managing our UserGroup through our group LDAP, and we can control and align ACL of our portal (also based on LDAP), with the rights applied on Alfresco spaces and documents.

Using the CIFS protocol (or even webDAV), users can create "network drive" in the windows explorer, and work with Alfresco as they were using a simple windows file system.(there is also a web UI to manage documents, but for the moment it is not completely user-friendly, and end-users usually prefer working in a "windows like" environment).
In our case, the CIFS security is based on NTLM, and the web UI is protected by our company web SSO (CAS). All these options can be enabled simply by editing the Alfresco configuration files.
And finally, you we use the FTP connexion (or CIFS) to upload quickly a large amount of documents in the Alfresco repository.
For all these reasons, Alfresco is a solution that can be deployed very easily in any enterprise information system.

To prepare the WPS V6.1 migration we have started migrating the content of all our PDM in Alfresco. So for us even if PDM is dead, we now have a much better and scalable solution to replace it...long life to Alfresco !


Post a Comment

<< Home