FaQ working document

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FaQ working document

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The official documentation is at: http://docs.alfresco.com

Draft Pages

  • Tips/Guidelines: 
    • Keep answers short (1-5 lines). If you need more lines it's better to split the subject in multiple questions.
    • An answer is very much a summary (detailed info is elsewhere on Alfresco sites).
    • Keep questions short (1 line).
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    • The FaQ will only be updated once a quarter or so. Q&A's should not contain info with a short lifespan
    • Don't add Wiki formatting to this page (keep it basic). This will make is easier to update for others. Also the final location for this FaQ is undecided.
    • Each question must start with ';' and each answer with ':'. You will see this when editing the page. A ':' for each answer has already been added. Just start typing after the ':'.

About the company Alfresco

Who are the founders of Alfresco?
Alfresco was founded in 2005 by John Newton, co-founder of Documentum® and John Powell, former COO of Business Objects®
In which countries is Alfresco represented?
Alfresco has offices in UK and US and has local representatives in many major countries like France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Netherlands. Alfresco works extensively with local and global system integrators. A complete list can be found on the website under Partners
How is Alfresco funded?
Alfresco's investors include the leading investment firms Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund and SAP Ventures.
What does Alfresco do and don't do?
Alfresco develops and supports Open Source ECM software called Alfresco. Implementation services, consulting services and increasingly training services are provided by our partners and not part of our core business. We actively support our partners in delivering these services to our mutual customers.

Customers and Partners

Who are your customers?
Alfresco has customers in all major markets and regions. A selection of our customers, markets, regions inclusing case studies are available on our website, section 'Customers'
Does Alfresco have any local partners?
Alfresco has multiple partners in each major geography. The list is constantly growing and we actively support our partners. A list of partners can be found on our webiste, section 'Partners'
Why should I become a partner?
Flexible technology, easy to integrate and extend. Support during pre sales phase by dedicated team, internal use of the product.
How can I become a partner?
There are several partner programs. The Alfresco partner network is a community of System Integrators, Software Vendors, Infrastructure providers and Resellers. Please contact us about the preferred partnership and services/solutions you expect to deliver.
I want to embed Alfresco I my own products. Can I OEM Alfresco?
Yes, Alfresco was designed from the ground up to be an embedded repository. There is more information available on Alfresco OEM in the Content Community. Please contact us how you envision to embed Alfresco.

Learning about Alfresco

What kind of training is available, where and when?

How to get an impression of Alfresco in 1 hour?

What resources are available for self learning and reference?

I'm a technical person. What's the best starting point to learn more about Alfresco?

I'm a business manager. What's the best starting point to understand the benefits of Alfresco?

Support (general)

What's the difference between Alfresco Enterprise and Alfresco Community?

What levels of support are available?

Can Alfresco run on a 100% Open Source stack?

What Operating Systems do you support

what Databases do you support

What Application Servers do you support

What Browsers do you support


Is Alfresco license free?

Why buy a subscription?

How is Alfresco priced?

What's Alfresco's pricing structure?

Alfresco Collaboration Server (CS)

What are DM, WFM, RM, IM, WCM?
All part of ECM and covered by Alfresco. DM = Document Management, WFM = Workflow Management, RM = Records Management, IM = Image Management, WCM = Web Content Management
What type of content/documents can be stored?
Any type of document or content. To name a few: (Open) Office Documents, CAD drawings, scanned images (+ meta data), reports, emails, photo's, video, pictures, music.
What's the maximum content size?
There is no known limitation to the size of the single content item other then the size of the file system on which the content is stored.
How does Alfresco handle meta data?
Meta data can be defined using content models. Besides the standard meta data fields also custom meta data can be defined. Meta data is searchable. There is a set of predefined standard content models, e.g. Dublin Core. Document properties can be extracted from (Open) Office documents and stored as meta data fields.
File server replacement. How easy is it?
Users can directly work with Alfresco from their Windows client using the CIFS interface. No client-side installation is required and Alfresco behaves as a shared drive only now with all the strengths of a scalable, secure, flexible, ECM platform. From a user point of view there is no real difference between working with a shared drive and working with Alfresco via CIFS. Therefore minimal training is required for these kind of users. Alfresco provides a set of export and import content from other systems (e.g. shared drive) to Alfresco.
Can Alfresco handle multiple languages?
Yes. Multi-lingual capabilities are provided for the Users Interface, content and meta data. The Unser-Interface is available in many languages and a single Alfresco installation can support multiple languages for a single repository. Content and meta data can be stored with correct language settings and users can filter on content languages.
Which Windows applications are integrated with Alfresco?
Any application that can store and read files from a shared drive can also work with Alfresco, using the CIFS interface. There are plugins available for Open Office and Office that provide more extensive collaboration capabilities directly in the (Open) Office applications. There are multiple other integrations provided by the community, e.g. an Open Source Kofax release script for scanning integration with Alfresco is provided via Alfresco Forge.
I use Microsoft Office for document creation. Is Alfresco integrated with MS Office?
Yes. Besides using the CIFS (shared drive) and WebDAV interface there is also an Office Plugin that provides more advanced collaboration capabilities to MS Office. With this Plugin users can collaborate from within Office and see their task list, checkout documents, see meta data, start and work with workflows, transform documents to PDF and search the repository.
What Interfaces are available to the Alfresco Repository?
CIFS (shared drive), WebDAV (open extended HTTP standard), FTP, JSR-170 (aka JCR), Webservices, RMI, Webscripts (REST), native Java API. Alfresco also interfaces to many Directories for user authentication.
How to search for content in Alfresco?
Content can be searched full-text and also meta data, including custom attributes. The webclient has a simple search funtion on every page for quick search and an Advanced search page allows users to create very specific content search  queries. Search Queries can be stored as search templates for easy reuse. Alfresco has an Open Search interface so it can be searched by Open Search clients (e.g. MS Explorer and FireFox browsers) and can also federate a search across multiple Alfresco repositories or other Open Search compliant repositories. Other Alfresco API's also allow searching the repository.
How to add business logic to Alfresco?
Bussiness rules in your organization that apply to documents can be implemented in Alfresco using Content Rules. This can be very simple rules from adding versioning to documents, or transform documents to PDF, to more complex rules like adding metadata fields based on document type, start a specific workflow based on document type or attribute data. Even Records Management capabilities can be implemented this way. Space rules are very flexible, easy to extend and create and will make the repository smart.
How to (automatically) transform documents to PDF?
Alfresco can transform documents to PDF either by manual action or automated using space rules. The target space of the PDF rendition can be defined. When using space rules document can be automatically transformed to PDF based on specific criteria like e.g. folder, document type or meta data.
Security. What permissions and roles are available?
Rolles: Consumer, Editor, Contributor, Collaborator, Coordinator. Permissions: View spaces and content, Update/edit content, add new content, edit properties, invite others, take ownership. Each role has a set of the permissions and is configurable. ACL's are created by defining what roles groups/users have on spaces (and subspaces).
Inheritance. Do I need to set permissions and business content rules on every folder?
Alfresco uses inheritance on content rules and permissions. Permissions and rules defined at parent level are applicable to it's children. Inheritance can selectively be disabled.
Does Alfresco have Workflow Management (WFM)?
The very powerful Open Source jBPM workflow engine from JBoss is part of Alfresco.
What is an aspect?
An aspect is an feature of a document. Versioning and a set of meta data fields are aspects.
Security. What directories can be used for authentication and user/group management?

How scalable is Alfresco?
Alfresco can scale in multiple dimensions. A multi server implementation with load-balancer creates high-availability and scalability. Alfresco can also run on a multi core, multi CPU server for greater scalability. A combination of the two (scale out and scale up) is possible as well of course. Unisys and Alfresco recently completed a successfully 100 million document benchmark and we also did a JSR170 benchmark to prove we are the most scalable JSR170 repository. Detailed information of these benchmarks can be found on our website and Content Community.
How to benchmark Alfresco?
We provide guidelines and tools to benchmark Alfresco on your selected hardware and software stack. Please search the Wiki for benchmark. Doing an in-house benchmark on your specific configuration will give you much better data about Alfresco performance and scalability then any benchmark in a Lab.
How to architect a system with high up-time?
When high availability is a requirement we advise to setup an Alfresco cluster with two servers and a load-balancer. The database should also be setup for high-availability.
Tell me a bit about hardware sizing
Alfresco can run from a complete single server system running Alfresco + Application server + Database to a highly scalable multi server multi CPU cluster where Alfresco and the Database run on separate clusters. For smaller systems you can find general hardware recommendations in the Wiki. For larger systems we suggest to do a simple in-house benchmark on a reference configuration.
Can I customize Alfresco?
Alfresco is designed to be very flexible and open. Many of the business requirements can be configured without any coding or programming. E.g. webclient, directory integrations, rules, workflow, meta data, search etc. are all configurable.
How to customize the webclient?
<should we answer this with 3.0 comming up?>
What programming languages can I use to integrate with Alfresco?
You can use any of your preferred programming languages to integrate with Alfresco using Webscripts. Webscripts uses the HTTP protocol for data transfer. The actions and response are configurable. Webscripts are a very powerful way of building applications and integrations in a short period of time. Alfresco and partners have build many applications using these webscripts. Besides webscripts also webservices are available for integration, a standardized Java API (JSR170) and a native Java API.
What API's and open interfaces are available?
REST (Webscripts) is programming language neutral, Java JSR-170, RMI. Native Java API, Open Search. Please check the Developers Guide on the Wiki.
Does Alfresco have Records Management (RM)?
Yes. Alfresco comes with an optional module for Records Management (without extra costs). The RM modules is designed to be ready DoD 5015 certification. Records Management can also be implemented in other ways as customer like .... have proven. Several Alfresco implementations in the Netherlands are in the process of being certified for NEN 2082 (Records Management). Certification is expected in 2009.

Alfresco WCM

How to build multi lingual sites?

Can Alfresco manage multiple sites (across the globe)?

Can CIFS be used to manage websites?
Yes. The CIFS interface exposes the current working version of the web site and all previous snapshots are available.
What are the advantages of using CIFS?
CIFS is beneficial for web developers who wish to continue using their standard tools to author dynamic code (e.g. JSP/PHP) or web assets such as HTML, CSS, images or Flash content. Developers can gain productivity by working within CIFS but web managers are still able to leverage the advanced capabilities built into WCM such as isolated development, previewing, versioning and snapshotting.
Is a content approval process available?
Yes. Alfresco uses the JBoss JBPM engine to provide advanced workflow and business process management capabilities out of the box.
Is a Rich HTML text editor available?

Is insite content editing possible?

Does Alfresco have a Wiki, forums, photo gallery

In what format can content-forms be created?

What language is supported? =>(JSP, PHP, HTML)
Both static HTML sites and dynamic sites built on PHP, JSP, ASP or other server-side technologies are supported.
Can I build dynamic and/or static sites?
Both approaches can be used - for static sites web content can be 'pre-baked' into HTML using content templates, or templates can be used to output JSP/PHP/etc. scripts to provide some level of dynamism. For fully dynamic sites we allow content to be surfaced from an Alfresco 'runtime' server using our Web Scripts technology.
How does content be distributed over multiple sites (over the globe)?

Can Alfresco manage personalized content and profiles?

Can Alfresco manage user generated content?

Which standards are supported?