What would you want from a new Document Library?

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ddraper
Intermediate II

What would you want from a new Document Library?

This is a hypothetical question that aims to establish what people would want from a new version of the Document Library in Share. I'd like to understand if there is any desire for this or if people are actually very happy with the current YUI2 based Document Library?

It's fairly clear that there has been a lot of investment by lots of people into customizing the existing Document Library so it's not necessarily completely clear cut that there is any appetite for a new Document Library. 

However, if one was to be provided what sort of features would you like to see retained, added or even removed? Examples of features that could be added would be:

  • automatic display of README.md files (like in GitHub, NPM, etc)
  • dynamic customization / creation of views (adding custom metadata to table views, creating entirely new views)
  • drag-and-drop version update of documents
  • inline commenting
  • inline editing of all metadata
  • inline previewing of content
  • improved accessibility
  • improved customization
  • improved rendering on mobile devices

Would any of these features be of interest? Are there any other features that you'd like to see added?

What about implementation details? There's already an alternative Aikau Document Library implementation (see https://community.alfresco.com/community/ecm/blog/2016/04/12/aikau-1063-support-for-versioned-librar...) but would you prefer to see a different implementation (using some other framework).

What about general user interface changes? Is there anything you'd like to see changed about the appearance or behaviour of the current Document Library?

Are there any actions that are missing? Or actions that you think should be removed?

What about the current views? Are they useful? Should any be changed? What new views would you like to see added?

15 Replies
pingus
Active Member

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Hi

I can write only about the community edition and I will short explain here my challenge with alfresco compared to nextcloud (I know, they are not doing the same, but almost :-) ) and it may probably not answering your questions :-)

Before alfresco I configured a nextcloud 10 installation within less than half an hour including an ldap connection to Active Directory. Also upgrading to nextcloud 11 was a quick and easy procedure.

Then I tried alfresco (linux based). It was also installed quickly but the configuration of ldap took some time. First I had to find out where the configuration file(s) is/are located. It is also not so easy to find it in the documentation. Second I had to find out, how Kerberos has to be configured because cifs authentication with modern Windows servers only works with kerberos. Kerberos is still not working after weeks of reading many documents and trying different configurations (I did not yet start asking questions in the forum) . Debugging kerberos is also a challange if you are not a java developer.

Alfresco itself works great wirh local users and cifs, but then I don't have SSO (correct me if I am wrong).

The hurdle to put alfresco into operation in a standard windows environment with active directory is in my opinion quite high and in my case very frustrating.

  • I would prefer a simpler configuration of alfresco. All configuration files at the same place and, nice to have, the configuration as a web gui.
  • Maybe also more information/documentation in the configuration files prefilled about each option one can configure.
  • Many applications validate the configuration files (Icinga2, postfix, apache, nginx, ...) and they don't start if you have failures in your config und then explain what's going wrong.
  • A nice feature would be to integrate alfresco search into windows client search (I did not research if this already exists)

Hopefully my opinion helps to make alfresco a little better then it already is and thank you for listening to the users!

ddraper
Intermediate II

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

First of all, thanks for the reply Heinz Nemo‌ - all feedback is very much appreciated and valuable and you've raised perfectly valid concerns about the speed at which you've been able to get things up and running and I will pass that information along.

However, I think what you've done is to read "Document Library" as in the entire Alfresco installation (which given that document management is the primary feature of Alfresco that is perfectly reasonable)... however, I'm just looking for feedback on the very specific Document Library page within the Share application, rather than issues with Alfresco as a whole. 

This discussion was very much aimed at getting around user interface features, implementation and customization of document management.

Having said that, I believe that SSO is an Enterprise only feature so you are not going to be able to get it to work with the Community edition unfortunately. Correction, it's only supported on Enterprise, but you should be able to get it working on Community. Maybe posting a question in the forum will help you get the answers to get it working (if you haven't already).

pingus
Active Member

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

You are right. It was a little bit off topic and I'm not yet at the point where I can tell you what can be optimized inside the document library because I'm still trying to get the basics up and running. But I'll do it.

jego
Established Member

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Dave, this is defintely a good topic. It is hard to say when you have no specific use case in mind. 

In general the doclib is the best part in Alfresco Share because you have worked a lot on it and provide a lot of configuration and customisation options.

Nevertheless when it comes to certain use cases, you need at least other concepts and another UI.

Example: Media management

Media management is very specific use case where users, for example, want to discover media, bulk manage items, collect items and export the items to hard disk. Users defintely want to bulk tag documents and want to see important metadata like size, height, width of images and other metadata at a glance (without open each document). Users want to collect items in a bag to reuse them and they want to have a visual search for images and videos. 

Nevertheless you have different approaches in the current doclib, but as always it does not fit 100% to the use case and there is always something missing. The reason for that is that the doclib should be generic for many other different use cases...

Example: efile/case Management (handling documents specific to a certain case)

Case management allows users to create new cases, put documents into a  template driven folder hierachy, organize these documents and work on it. These views should be consistent throughout all clients like mobile or outlook client...

You are providing the smart folder feature, but nevertheless it only allows to get a certain/different view on your documents.

In these cases you need (some things you already had in workdesk!!):

- A totally different layout of the doclib - you need a specific folder view (restricted to your case folder) und you will need a master-detail view of your documents (e.g. folder list with documents, document metadata and preview) to browse within the amounts of documents. You need to make annotations on documents and more...

- you will need to directly jump to another case by entering a case number or client name or...

- it is essential that working in such a client must be highly effiently without many clicks and jumps between pages, it must be fast...

As often there are quick wins for you:

- Integrate a clipboard functionality (see here for an example implementation GitHub - fmaul/alfresco-share-clipboard: A clipboard implementation for Alfresco Share )- this would help to collect documents from different folders and search - integrate an advanced table view- currently it is too restricted and not feature rich. People tend to use this kind of view if there are many documents in a folder to faster get an overview and filter out non relevant items. Features could be: user column selection, filtering for specific columns, sorting for all columns, inline editing...

- start to make share more configurable like hiding certain things (e.g. the tag and category section in document library). 

If I understand Alfresco´s vision correctly, you will concentrate on the platform. You want us partners to write use case driven clients. My question is: So how do you see the role of Alfresco Share in the future besides ADF? 

Thanks

Jens

ddraper
Intermediate II

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Thanks for this feedback Jens Goldhammer‌ it's very helpful.

How I see the role of Alfresco Share in the future besides ADF is somewhat irrelevant because I'm not in a position to influence either. I think that it's important for us to try to capture the use cases that people have found in order to either be able to update the Document Library, provide a replacement for it or provide the tools for partners to build use case driven clients. The use cases that you've provided (and hopefully other people will add to these) are very valuable for this regard. One thing I do know is that providing anything that has feature parity with the current Document Library will be incredibly challenging - particularly if easy customization is an objective. Getting constructive feedback on ADF is obviously also essential in this regard so any feedback you can provide to the team responsible for it will also be very helpful.

neilecker
Active Member II

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Hi Dave,

We're using Share as our primary way of accessing Alfresco and your suggestion of being able to add custom columns to table views or being able to create new views would be very useful to us.  The table layout would often be nice to use but many of our users find that it's too cramped and columns like name and title wrap to new lines making it hard to read.  They would like to hide some unnecessary columns (and maybe show others if it was a possibility).

Thanks,
Neil

ddraper
Intermediate II

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Thanks for providing this feedback... just as an FYI, it is already possible to customize table views in the existing Document Library (see Customizing document library views | Alfresco Documentation ) although it's not the most straightforward solution. 

With regards to views generally ... are they types of views that we could look to add? And are there specific ways of rendering metadata in views that we need to address?

jego
Established Member

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

I would prefer improving the existing tableview with following features:

  • users can choose columns and their order and admins/developers can decide which columns are available and how they should be rendered
  • values in columns are inline editable
  • user settings are persisted
  • users can filter values (however you will implement these filters in UI)

Thanks,

Jens

neilecker
Active Member II

Re: What would you want from a new Document Library?

Thanks for the link.  I'll certainly use it to create a couple custom table views.

It would be nice if users had some control over which columns they wanted to see but we can get by with some custom ones that I pre-define.  

I really like what Jens mentioned, being able to filter values within the document library.  I picture it as viewing a folder in the document library and then being able to type in some text to filter the results (something like how the datatables.net library handles it).  I imagine that would more difficult as it would likely have to involve search in some way.