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Our last release of Alfresco Community Edition was at the end of March, so I should update you on our progress towards the next release. You have probably seen our announcements about releasing a number of modules to Enterprise Edition, but we have also been busy on enhancements to Alfresco Community Edition. Our plans for new features are listed below, but first I want to explain some changes we are making to how we release the product.

Product Evolution

As part of an effort we call “Release Agility”, we have been making Alfresco more modular and easier to release in pieces. These changes are driving two important results:

  • We plan to provide separate installers for the various components of Alfresco Enterprise Edition.
  • We plan to make upgrades from Community Edition to Enterprise Edition easier by including the Enterprise functionality in a single installable add-on.

As a result of these changes, we are evolving how we label Alfresco Community Edition.

  • The monolithic installer may contain modules with different compatible versions, so we will label the install bundle by the month it is released.
  • A release of Community Edition will also be labeled as either Early Access (EA), where our goal is to get feedback on new functionality, or General Availability (GA), when we expect that the Enterprise Edition module can be installed.
  • Individual modules might be EA or GA. Early Access modules will be clearly labeled and not be installed by default in a Generally Available install bundle.

To make things concrete, we will probably call the next release of Community Edition 201508 EA, but we will change the name if it moves to another month.

The Next Releases

The next few releases of Community Edition will help us prepare for the succeeding release of Enterprise Edition. Our engineering team is working to complete the planned functionality and enter a code freeze and bugfix phase. At that point, we will release an EA bundle of Community Edition with whatever goodness has been completed in time for the release. We are working on the following initiatives:

  • The removal of NFS and jBPM (which are currently deprecated)
  • Move Share to its own code lifecycle with its own repository
  • Build Enterprise Edition as an add-on to Community Edition
  • Enforce extension contracts
  • Easy content modeling
  • Improvements to Share usability around site invitations
  • Records management handling of classified content, including permissions
  • Adding a classified records lifecycle to records management, including policy management and declassification reviews
  • Case Management query based virtual folders
  • Auto classification of new content added to a virtual folder
  • Metadata propagation and property mapping
  • Apply multiple taxonomies on existing content at runtime

This work will not be completed at the time of the next Community Edition release, but it will be far enough along that we hope you will enjoy playing with the new features and willing to provide feedback. As we prepare for an Enterprise Edition release, we will have a progressive series of Community Edition Early Access releases where you will be able to see these new features mature.

Disclaimer: remember that this blog post is meant to transparently communicating our current (optimistic) plans. Plans change. Don’t be surprised if we have to push some of these items to future releases, or scrap this plan completely. Please speak to us before using the contents of this blog post to make any important decisions.

In advance of the Community Edition Early Access releases, these changes will enter the nightly builds. Many of them will be implemented as modules that need to be installed manually until they are included by the installer.

Aside from Community Edition Releases

You have probably noticed the recently released updates to the mobile apps. Alfresco Mobile for Android 1.5 includes:

  • App Configuration to show only the menu items you want
  • Profiles that can be created by Administrators for different groups of users to show specific menu items including shortcuts to files, people, sites, and tasks
  • Alfresco Widgets for quick access to essential content or one tap capture of photos and text from the home screen
  • Integration with the Fujitsu SDK to scan directly to your repository with Fujitsu™ ScanSnap® wireless scanners
  • Multiple UI updates, including swiping from the bezel to access the menu and pull down to refresh lists
  • Compatibility with Android for Work (including AirWatch)

Alfresco Mobile for iOS 2.1 includes:

  • Support for the iOS 8 Document Provider App Extension to directly edit, upload and download documents in any compatible app (this allows you to use Microsoft Word™, Excel™ or PowerPoint™ to edit and save a new version of an Office document in Alfresco or use a PDF editor such as PDF Expert™ to annotate or sign a document directly in Alfresco)
  • Restored the option to search the full content text is back
  • Support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus resolutions
  • Improved in-app text editing behavior
  • Direct access to online help
  • Support for Apple Configurator and third party Mobile App Management tools including AirWatch

All of these features are available in the open source applications in our Github repositories. Our goal is to keep Android and iOS as close as possible, so expect the menu customization and profile features in the Android app to be implemented in the iOS app soon. If you are interested in MobileIron versions of these apps, please contact mobile AT alfresco com.

I updated the product roadmap in the wiki to reflect that the functionality listed here is what we expect to complete this year.

I have also been spending significant time better understanding who uses Community Edition and why. My goal is to clearly explain how that product fits into the rest of the Alfresco product portfolio. In the coming months, I will post more details about that effort.

I am looking forward to your feedback.

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  1. Dave

    Dave on #

    Richard,

    Any update on the "201508" release of Community? Does it have the recently missing features in admin view back in place?

    My company uses a much older version of Alfresco on one of our systems (v2/v3 era) and I wanted to know if we should consider the latest Alfresco options for a new project. (Likely merging the other project in as well)

    I'm glad to read about all the changes at Alfresco this past year - I remember 5 years back having a very frustrating time trying to use the forum and not getting any replies. I can't count how many times I searched the forum for specific problems, found another person with my exact issue, and seeing zero replies to the post. I made several posts myself that ended the same way. Please tell me your community team expansion efforts have paid off - maybe you even have some data to prove it.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  2. Richard Esplin

    Richard Esplin on #

    Thanks for the comment Dave.

    Community Edition 201508 EA is available here: https://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Alfresco_Community_Edition_201508_EA_Release_Notes

    We didn't publicize it much because we wanted to get additional testing done. We are more confident in yesterday's release of Community Edition 201509 EA: https://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Alfresco_Community_Edition_201509_EA_Release_Notes

    I blogged about that release today:
    http://richard.esplins.org/siwi/2015/10/01/alfresco-community-edition-september-2015/

    The missing Admin Consoles were restored in Alfresco Community Edition 5.0.d. That is the most recent release that we consider ready for regular use and labeled as Generally Available (GA). However, I hope that many people try the 5.1 Early Access releases.

    We have come a long way since version 3.4 (and even further since V2.x). I think 5.0.d is a great product, and is a solid destination for upgrade. However, you might find it easier to import your content and metadata into a fresh 5.0.d install then to upgrade from V2 or V3 because you need to upgrade to 4.2 before then going to 5.x. http://docs.alfresco.com/5.0/concepts/upgrade-path.html

    The 5.1.b release in 201509-EA is the right product if you are starting a new project that won't be in production for a few months.

    I am sorry to hear that you had a poor experience in the forums. A few volunteers spend a lot of time answering questions in the forums, but there are still a lot of questions that go unanswered. Our marketing and product management teams still want to improvement the forums experience, but most of our work up to now have been behind the scenes. The visible improvements have been to the wiki, documentation, YouTube videos, and Community Edition release process. Progress is always slower then expected.

    Thank you for your interest, and I wish you luck on your project.

  3. dave

    dave on #

    Thanks for the reply Richard. It sounds like we'll need to spending a bit of time evaluating Alfresco's 5.0.d & 5.1.b releases.

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