I’m excited about BeeCon! You should register and join us!

In a few weeks I’m flying out to Brussels to attend BeeCon (April 27-29). I’m super excited to see The Order of The Bee arrange this conference. A huge amount of planning has gone into the conference. I truly appreciate the hard work you guys have put into it!

The agenda was recently published and it looks awesome!

John Newton will be presenting “The Journey to Digital Renaissance”. I absolutely love John as a speaker. He understands the depths of our industry and he always manage to find an angle that appeals to the geek within us all. I can’t wait for this one.

The day is full of great sessions, to name a few topic that will be covered: Aikau, Yeoman, Groovy, Share Extensions and REST API’s.

Thomas DeMeo will close the first day with his Product Roadmap. Being part of Product Management at Alfresco I can’t stress enough that this is a MUST for everyone to attend.

On the second day I’m hosting a 40 min session on the Alfresco SDK – Past, present and future. As you probably know, the SDK has been a pet project for me for a while now. As the title says I will reflect over the past, where we are Today and a glimpse of what the future holds. I will also be discussing “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” – no not the movie, but the good and not-so-good parts of the SDK. It’s important to learn from past mistakes.

Again the whole day is full of great sessions. I see a lot of focus on open source, community, contributions that I’m super excited about. It will be a tough balance for me to attend some of the sessions and spend some time in the hackathon to fully geek out.

Overall I will say that BeeCon is the place to bee this year. Partners, Customers, Community Edition users, community members – there is something for everyone.

I always say that 50% of any conference is about the content and sessions. The other 50% is about networking. On top of that you add 25% beer – what better place than Brussels? I can’t wait to see you all there!

What are you waiting for? Register now!

I’m going on an adventure!

AdventureI feel like Bilbo Baggins when he set out to join Gandalf and Thorin for the epic battle of Erebor in The Hobbit.

It has been quiet on the blog for a while, and I have not been as active in the Alfresco community. This is because I have been preparing for my next adventure.

After 10 years at Magenta Aps I decided it was time for a change and I began reviewing 2014 as a whole. Some of the most fun and exciting things I’ve done was the global virtual hackathon where I flew out to Belgium, writing my Aikau tutorial, working on the SDK, help create The Order of the Bee, being part of the awesome community and of course Alfresco Summit!

It was an easy decision, and I’m happy to announce that as of last week I now work for Alfresco as the new Developer Evangelist.

Now I will be able to dedicate myself to these things full time. I’m very happy and excited about this huge opportunity.

I’m still ramping up, but you can expect Alfresco to have a strong community presence once I get settled in.

Why is the admin tools not working in Alfresco Share with the SDK?

I get asked this question a lot. When running Share from the Alfresco SDK, the admin console is broken out of the box – it simple displays an empty page as shown below.

Blank admin tools page

The fix?

To fix this issue you simply turn off development mode. You can do this by editing this file:






Restart share to have the changes picked up.

Why is this happening?

To support hot reloading of server side Javascript files in Share, we have to turn on development mode. This setting will tell the Rhinoscript Processor not to compile and cache the JS files. Cool, we can now change server side JS files and have the changes picked up, without having to restart or refresh web scripts.

But… Due to a known bug in the Surf framework (ALF-9970) this will break the admin consoles in Share.

Alfresco has, for some reason, decided not to fix this bug, so either we can have hot reloading of server side JS or a working admin console.

The permanent fix?

Development mode is an older trick. It solves some of the old -min.js things, most which are not even used any longer. The only thing we want from the “old” development mode is to tell Rhino no to cache the compiled JS files. This could easily be done by extracting this into a config option in XML instead of having it happen via the development mode tag. This change needs to be made in the Surf framework so I expect hope this change makes it into the product in a later release, as it should be a small change.

My thoughts on the future of Alfresco Share

After reading Dave, Kevin, Erik and David’s blog post about the alternate realities of Share development, I treid to make up a good reply but it ended up a bit too long for a comment so I decided to dedicate a blog post about it.

TL;DR: I can only agree with all the points in the UI teams blog post. I want to see Alfresco invest heavily in Share and Aikau. It’s a PITA right now because it breaks existing addons, but it will provide a much better foundation for the future of Share. Documentation needs to be addressed internally at Alfresco.

Backwards compatibility

Share was not meant to be extended from the beginning. It was supposed to be a reference on how a new web frontend for Alfresco could work.

However, Share was much better than Alfresco Explorer. It started to gain traction and now developers wanted to customize and extend it, but it just wasn’t geared for this. Over the years Share evolved quite a bit and the extension model got a bit better, but let’s face it: If you have done heavy customizations on Share in Alfresco 4.x you will have to agree that it’s a lot of work, and keeping your changes across version upgrades is a whole different chapter for it self.

If you’re doing a small extension it’s easier, but have you ever upgraded to a new version of Share and thought to yourself “Wow, that was so easy!” .. No? I certainly haven’t.

Over the last four years I’ve been working on too many Alfresco projects to remember, but one of the biggest ones involved a heavily customized Share. Maintaining this across version is a big pain. A year ago we upgraded from 4.0.d to 4.2.c. This was a huge task, we had modified some of the core javascript files, because sometimes there is just no way around it. To make it even more fun, we had to continue to 4.2.e because of some serious CIFS issues, and guess what broke again?

The point is, right now, it’s already a pain to keep your customizations working on different versions of Share.

Of course there is a difference in having to modify your customizations and a complete rewrite of your addon, which is the bigger issue right now.

As Share migrates more and more features to Aikau, your customizations will need to be redone with Aikau. There is no way around this, and let’s be honest: Do you really enjoy working with YUI2?
It sucks that your customizations won’t work and you have to do a lot of extra work to port your customizations to Aikau, but what’s the alternative?

Write a completely new client

Sure, why not? I mean it’s not like it’s a TON of work to do. It will be quick and easy…. On a serious note, I don’t think many people realise just how much work it would require for Alfresco to whip up a complete new web frontend with the same features that Share has today. Heck, Share doesn’t even have feature parity with Alfresco Explorer yet.

This would not solve the backwards compatibility issue, at all, if anything it will only make it worse.

But Share is so complex and hard to extend, if Alfresco would just start over from scratch it would be much easier

I’ve heard this been thrown in the ring a few times. Think about all the features we expect Share to contain. Think about the fact that developers demands that we can extend and bend it to our will in every possible way. Now, do you seriously think a fresh start will make it any less complex?

Oh god, why? Why did you create a new javascript framework?

Why didn’t you use Angular?! jQuery! No web components! No, ember.js! GWT! Backbone! Dart! React!

Aikau is *NOT* a new javascript framework to compete with the new cool kid on the block. It’s a framework to support extensions in a proper way, handle pages and dependencies. Wrap it all up with AMD and it enables you to work with your favorite framework and still be able to extend Share.

The very core of Aikau is to make Share more extendible without locking you to a specific framework. The only thing you are tied to is AMD.

Alfresco chose to go with Dojo for the core widgets, but that does not mean you have to.

Summing it all up

Overall I think Alfresco is on the right track with Aikau. It’s a great framework that gives more freedom to the developers and makes it much easier to extend and customize various parts of Alfresco without having to overwrite huge 3000 line javascript files. It is painful to introduce changes like these, but it’s for the greater good, but there are a few things Alfresco needs to pay attention to:

  • Make a clear and open roadmap for Aikau. Developers needs to know what’s happening and when it’s happening. There is already a pretty good Aikau document library. When will it be switched to default? Is the underlying code going to change much in the next release?
  • Make concrete examples on using other frameworks than Dojo. For people to truely understand Aikau, we need to show that it works with other frameworks
  • Improve documentation and examples. Dave has done a great job over the last months by writing blog posts on various examples, but we need all this information in an easier form for developers to consume. If you are new to Aikau, it’s hard to understand the examples. I think the documentation team needs to send a guy over to Dave a day every week to learn and talk, then go produce some great, official documentation

There is a ton of great resources around. My tutorial, Dave’s blog and there is a bit on the official docs, but it could be much better. Documentation is a key area that needs attention, if Aikau is to gain traction and adaptation this.

Alfresco 4.2.x and Alfresco SDK

During the hackathon at Alfresco Summit in London I worked on porting the nice features of the Alfresco SDK 2.0 to work with Alfresco 4.2.x.

Sadly, we have hit a bump on the road: The Alfresco artifacts changed too much between 4.2.x and 5.x. Because of this we have to branch out and maintain two separate branches. What does this mean for you? Well, remember these two sentences an help other users out, as this will be a very difficult thing to grasp:



We have not released 1.2.0 just yet, but we do have a snapshot version out that seems pretty stable, but I need people to help test it.

Here is a small guide on how to use Alfresco SDK 1.2.0-SNAPSHOT to work with 4.2.x.

First of all you need to allow Maven to use Sonatype’s snapshots repository. You have to add this to your ~/.m2/settings.xml


Next up you generate a project from the archetype:

mvn archetype:generate -DarchetypeCatalog=https://oss.sonatype.org/content/repositories/snapshots/archetype-catalog.xml -Dfilter=org.alfresco:

Select the archetype you want to use, and make sure to select 1.2.0-SNAPSHOT.

Now you’re ready to go, simply run ./run.sh to get started and enjoy all the nice features.

Please raise an issue on our GitHub issue tracker if you encounter any bugs.

Alfresco SDK 2.0 beta4

I’m very pleased to officially announce the beta4 release of the Alfresco SDK 2.0.

Gab has written a great post about the release, which includes a ton of goodies, like hot reloading java code, web scripts and client side resources. We’ve also included a records management profile and extra goodies.

We’re also officially now on Maven Central, so fire up your terminal and run “mvn archetype:generate -Dfilter=org.alfresco.maven.archetype:” – or look at the video below to see how to use it from Eclipse.

It’s been a huge team effort, we’ve had a lot of people help test it out and contribute.

There is a lot of extra stuff going into the final 2.0 release and we’ll be working hard to stabilise these new features, introduce even more features and documentation.

I’ll continue my work with the SDK, create new videos, howtos etc. During the hackathon at Alfresco Summit in London, I’ll be working on back porting some of the reloading features to 4.2.x.

To wrap it all up I’ve created a video that shows how to setup and use the SDK with Eclipse. Enjoy!

Six week pledge: A final update

I promised myself that I would be blogging a lot during the past six week about my pledge to the Alfresco community. I’m sorry that I’ve kept quiet, but I’ve been a very busy bee and working on the Alfresco SDK.

Challenge doneIt’s been a fun six weeks, and I’m proud to announce the beta release of the Alfresco SDK 2.0. I’m proud to be a part of this project and I think we’ve got some really cool features that will increase your productivity when developing with Alfresco and Share.

Besides the SDK, I’ve been on Alfresco Tech Talk Live, helped people out on the Alfresco IRC channel and helped start and form The Order of the Bee where I’m currently on the board. I have been neglecting my duties for the bees while doing the final push for the SDK, but starting from next week I’ll get more involved in the order.

I’ve been encouraged to write up a new revision of my Aikau tutorial, or perhaps even write a second tutorial on the subject with more advanced examples so I’ll start working on it in a few weeks. If you have ideas or some areas you want me to cover in-depth about Aikau please let me know.

I’m also happy to say that I’m going to Alfresco Summit in London this october. I’ll be joining the hackathon and I’ll be buzzing around with the bees.

Alfresco Tech Talk Live today

As part of my community pledge I’ve been giving a lot of my time to the Alfresco Maven SDK. I’ve been involved in this for some time, and today Gab and I will be on Tech Talk Live with Richard Esplin to talk about the upcoming release of the SDK.

We have some great new features, the biggest is much better rapid development features, but a lot of other cool stuff will make it into the final release.

We hope to have a beta release out within the next few days, until then you can watch this teaser video and join us later today for Tech Talk Live.

UPDATE: Here’s the recording of the event: