Some thoughts about Alfresco Devcon 2018
Back to Bilbao from Alfresco Devcon 2018. Many years participating in Alfresco events, connecting with old friends, collaborating with Alfresco Community and learning the new dominating technologies surrounding Alfresco for the upcoming years such Docker, Kubernetes, ADF, AWS or microservices.
What to say… I enjoyed a lot with many of the presentations, and it was a pity I could not attend to others. I liked a lot Michael Suzuki’s Alfresco Reporting and Analytics, and Luis Cabaceira & Piergiorgio Lucidi with Apache ManifoldCF Output Connectors. Michael, that was prized with the best talk award by OOTBee, showed how Alfresco Search Services is going to expose a custom view of Alfresco database in SOLR6 collection for reporting. Alfresco wants reporting without ETLing, and to simplify the old Analytics module stack based on Pentaho and ActiveMQ. This will allow getting reports on the repository using SQL syntax in SOLR6, from Apache Zeppelin notebooks, for example, or from other commercial SQL connectors. I attended to Michael’s presentation on Beecon 2017 about SQL in SOLR6, and applied recently this concept in one of the recent posts about Alfresco monitoring in this blog. In the post, we obtained logs and metrics information in Apache Zeppelin via SQL in SOLR6, which also simplified the monitoring stack and reused the Alfresco one. Also, CMIS output connectors in ManifoldCF seems to me a very original approach when migrating via CMIS and/or Bulk Importing to Alfresco.
One of my favourite things in Alfresco events is the opportunity to see in action people like Toni de la Fuente, Bindu Wavell or Jeff Potts. Toni talked about an ACS infrastructure 100% redundant, auto scalable, auto healing, across multiple physical locations with zero-downtime. Bindu demonstrated how to work on SDK 3 projects using the updated yeoman generator. And Jeff showed a use case for moving gigantic files in and out of the repository, and also presented a new ACL templates feature. Thank you Jeff, for your python cmislib advises in the Hackathon. Much appreciated!
My contribution to Devcon was a lighting talk presentation about Alfresco monitoring with ELK stack. I link here my presentation on github, and the open resources related (below):
Besides, I was awarded by The Order of the Bee with the Best Open Source Spirit Award in form of Rubick’s cube, with other community mates like Angel Borroy (Best Blog) and Mikel Asla (Best ADF Contribution). Rubick’s cube is a nice simile of a community as a set of building blocks working together aligned, and it’s somehow close to the bee concept too. I liked it a lot, a big thank you from these lines OOTBee!
Among the topics of the Devcon, the ones about platform, ADF, AWS Cloud and microservices were trending, and it was time for important announces and confirmations with some controversy too. Alfresco Content Services (ACS) 6.0 release will be on Spring, probably with Docker/Kubernetes resources instead of the classical bundle installer. Alfresco confirmed that it is going to deprecate Alfresco Share in a near future, and it will NOT be a replacement ready-to-use app. Richard Esplin tried to make clearer the roadmap of Share (deprecation), afirming that Alfresco is going to support it, pointing out that Record Management product (aka Governance Services) is now based on Share.
A big IMHO now. I like a lot the the current (and future) platform features of Alfresco. But I really think that it is necessary an extensible ready-to-use zero app in every platform. We need to note that Alfresco Share is not only an application for collaboration purposes nowadays. It is in fact, the administration application for many repository backend use cases, where it is only used as the interface for managing users and groups, setting repository permissions or content rules, or even for deploying dynamic content models. Besides, Alfresco Share provides customers with a powerful zero cost starting frontend application, without having to define either easy nor complex use cases, and without having to develope a complete ad-hoc application.
Alfresco Development Framework (ADF) is planned to be the framework for custom content centric applications in Alfresco. For me, ADF provides a nice approach in principle, as many of us did not feel truly confortable customizing Alfresco Share when major requirements and changes are necessary in a project, and we became experts in hidding and simplifying things with Alfresco Share. But nowadays, an ADF replacement application based on content-app example seems too simplistic. And surely without a clear replacement of Share, it will generate tons of forks based on the default content-app, taking us back to some years ago, where many Alfresco partners developed an alternate frontend for Alfresco Explorer, instead of developing third-party integration addons with an extra value for both the frontend and the platform. So it seems that ADF killed the Share star, and Alfresco is clearly focused on the content and process services platform in the cloud, which are precisely two of the strenghts pointed by Gartner in the latest Content Services report for 2017. The third one is the Community.