Alfresco Opensource Enterprise Content Management

4 08 2007

In one of those random conversations on IRC, my friend Duncan pointed me toward Alfresco. It took a little bit for me to understand exactly what the tool DID, but after a bit it clicked in, and I read more about it. The more I read, the more impressed I was by it.
Alfresco is an enterprise-class document management tool. It allows organization and categorization and management of dozens of document types, via a variety of mechanisms. Documents may be checked in and out of the system, revisions monitored, and indexes updated automatically. High end searching is handled by the server, so searches across Word, PDF, and OpenOffice documents is a snap.
As someone who has more than a passing understanding of CMS tools like Drupal, I made the mistake of assuming this was a similar approach. Nay nay! Alfresco is targeted at the organization that is trying to manage tens of thousands of documents and more.
One of the more intriguing aspects of it is it’s built in CIFS server. You can mount the Alfresco Intelligent File System directly from your desktop machine, and browse documents stored in the Alfresco database (backed by MySQL or the like), as if it were a normal file share. Plugins are also availabale for NFS and FTP.
At the moment, I’m not sure if I’m involved in an operation that could take advantage of such a high end system, but it’s awfully tempting to pull it down and give it a whirl.

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