Alfresco Records Management – Using Rules to Make Records Filing Easy for Users

In a previous blog post we wrote about a common enhancement we often make to ECM systems to automatically file documents based on metadata values. Without development work, performing this same function in a DoD 5015.2 compliant records management system was difficult. However, with the release of version 2.2 of Alfresco’s Records Management module, highlighted at Summit London 2014, the same concept can be extended to automatically file records.  This post will describe how to take the guess work out of filing and instead use Alfresco Rules to make it easy for users to declare and file records. Continue reading ‘Alfresco Records Management – Using Rules to Make Records Filing Easy for Users’

Alfresco or Documentum Collaborative Document Reviews with OpenAnnotate

Whenever we give a demo of OpenAnnotate, clients always ask, “What happens when multiple users need to review a document at the same time?” OpenAnnotate has always supported having multiple users annotating a document at the same time, but a recent client has added functionality which broadcasts “live” the annotations and comments that users are making.  This makes the review process in OpenAnnotate more collaborative. This post will outline some things to look for when evaluating your options for annotating/reviewing documents in your ECM repository.

Continue reading ‘Alfresco or Documentum Collaborative Document Reviews with OpenAnnotate’

Harnessing the Power of Alfresco Data Lists for Cascading Value Assistance

One of the most common Alfresco customization requests that we receive from our clients is for a way to allow metadata constraint lists to be managed by business users, rather than by IT.  TSG has developed an Alfresco Module Package (AMP) that allows picklist values to be managed using the data list functionality in Alfresco Share.  See our previous post on Alfresco Data List-Driven Value Assistance for more information on this module.

This post will focus on recent enhancements to the Data List-Driven Value Assistance module to allow for cascading constraint lists.

Constraint lists have always been available in Alfresco content modeling to allow for users to input metadata using dropdown lists, rather than freeform text fields.  Until the Data List-Driven Value Assistance module came about, the only way to add/remove/change the options in the dropdown list was to update the content model XML file, deploy, and restart Alfresco.

Another common problem is that many implementations require cascading value assistance.  In other words, the available values in one dropdown list depend on what the user selects in another dropdown list.  I’ll illustrate this cascading concept with an example:

I have metadata fields, Level 1 and Level 2.

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Level 1 contains options “1” and “2”.

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When I select option “1” for Level 1, the options for Level 2 are “Red” and “Orange”.

ScreenHunter_21 Dec. 16 14.04

If I change Level 1 to “2”, the options for Level 2 change to “Yellow” and “Green”.  This is cascading value assistance.

ScreenHunter_22 Dec. 16 14.05

Alfresco Share currently does not support this cascading concept.  To satisfy this common requirement, we’ve extended the Data List-Driven Value Assistance module to allow multiple cascading metadata fields to be driven from a single Alfresco Share data list.  Installing and configuring cascading value assistance is similar to the original non-cascading implementation and requires the following:

  1. Install Cascading Value Assistance AMP packages into the Alfresco and Share web applications.
  2. Create a data list in Alfresco Share that will drive the dropdown options. The module provides data list types for non-cascading, 2-level, 3-level, 4-level, and 5-level cascading fields.  The model can easily be extended if more than 5 levels are needed.
    ScreenHunter_23 Dec. 16 14.20
  3. Populate the data list with the options that should be displayed in your dropdown fields.
    ScreenHunter_24 Dec. 16 14.35
  4. Update the metadata forms in the Alfresco Share configuration to use the special dynamic controls. Each control is configured with the name of the data list that the values will come from, the cascade level, and the other properties that it depends on.
    ScreenHunter_26 Dec. 16 14.40

Because the data lists can be easily updated in Alfresco Share, there is no need for IT involvement or server restarts to update the constraints.  This is a huge win for business scenarios that have constraints that change frequently.  Also, because Alfresco Share has robust role-based security already built in, the value assistance data lists can be easily secured to only allow access to the appropriate users.  Typically we see our clients create a separate site for “Alfresco Administration” and grant access to the proper individuals.

Documentum or Alfresco – Engineering Document Transmittals

Controlling the formal release of project, sales, and engineering documents to customers and clients is often done with transmittal letters. The transmittal serves as a record describing the sender, the recipient, and any special instructions or information related to the included documents. Before the controlled release of a transmittal, the letter and included documents are reviewed and approved by an authority before being sent via email, FTP server, or posted to an extranet or cloud-based system. The need for controlling the review, and recording the approval of the transmittal fits well with Active Wizard’s controlled document solution paradigm. This article will focus on using Active Wizard’s document review and approval workflow to semi-automate the creation of a transmittal letter and distribute it via the cloud. Continue reading ‘Documentum or Alfresco – Engineering Document Transmittals’

HTML5 Forms – Introducing Active Wizard’s Next-Generation Interface

TSG is happy to announce our next-generation Active Form 5.1 module in Active Wizard, which uses HTML5!  Active Form is the module in Active Wizard that allows users to fill out forms utilizing an easy to use “Turbo Tax” approach to complicated forms.  In Active Form 4.0, we used Adobe Flash as the primary interface GUI.  While this was a great approach in 2009, Adobe Flash caused Active Form to behave in a less than ideal manner on mobile devices (Android) or in some cases, not at all (iOS).  With this next iteration, we rely on the power of HTML5 to continue to provide a clean, easy to use interface that retains all of the benefits of the older module, while also allowing users to fill out forms on a mobile device.

Continue reading ‘HTML5 Forms – Introducing Active Wizard’s Next-Generation Interface’

Auto-Numbering Content in Alfresco

To continue our series of posts highlighting common design patterns that we see in many Alfresco implementations (see previous posts on Auto-Filing and Data List-Drive Value Assistance, this post will focus on another Alfresco module package (AMP) that TSG has developed that provides a configurable way to automatically number content with a unique numbering sequence upon creation.

Continue reading ‘Auto-Numbering Content in Alfresco’

TSG Hosts Alfresco Lunch & Learn

TSG hosted Alfresco’s Chicago Lunch & Learn in our downtown office on November 20th.  The turnout was great, with over 40 attendees, including existing Alfresco Enterprise and Community users, representatives from Alfresco’s sales and engineering teams, as well as those who are not yet Alfresco users, all looking to learn more about Alfresco.

Continue reading ‘TSG Hosts Alfresco Lunch & Learn’

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