Terminology Guide

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Terminology Guide

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

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A unit of work that is performed on a node. Examples include adding an aspect, copying a node, or emailing notification.
3.0 term. An activity in Alfresco refers to the updates to content within a site, including the uploaded files, blogs, discussions, calendars, and the team wiki.
The directory containing binary content and Lucene indexes.
Alfresco Share
3.0 term. A new social computing application, built using the Surf platform.
Alfresco WAR
The Alfresco Web application ARchive (WAR) file is for deployment in existing application servers.
Application Programming Interface.  Alfresco supports multiple APIs that allow developers to extend and customize the product.  See Developer_API
A node contains zero or more aspects as the defined set for metadata indication. To extend the metadata definitions, aspects can be added freely to a node or its identifying node type. Afterwards, rules to act on the defined metadata can be applied to the repository content.
Advanced Versioning Manager. Alfresco AVM is an advanced store implementation designed to support the version control requirements of large websites and web applications.


A navigation link that allows you to jump to any part of the breadcrumb path.


Microsoft Common Internet File System (CIFS) is a network file system for sharing files across the Internet.  See CIFS.
Community Labs
Alfresco Community Labs is a freely downloadable version of the Alfresco Enterprise Content Management system. It is unsupported and intended for developers in non-critical environments. Alfresco Community Labs has a daily build, offering the latest bleeding-edge functionality. It serves as the research laboratory vehicle for new features and the platform for the Alfresco Community.
composite action
A composite action is a collection of actions that are combined in a designated order to make one unit of work. If any action within the composite fails, then no other actions within this composite are completed. The unit of work can be any size you determine.
A condition is a test applied to an action used to determine whether the action can be performed.
Can often be thought of as a file or document made of two main elements: the content itself and information about the content (metadata). For example, documents, video, audio, images, XML, and HTML.
content aspect
A content aspect represents another form of encapsulation (known as cross cutting) where the described structure can be applied to any content of any content type. Any number of aspects may be applied to a single piece of content. Aspects can alleviate the unnecessary overhead where all capabilities (or metadata) are dumped onto a root content type. The core repository services (such as versioning and classification) make heavy use of aspects.
content model
A content model is a collection of related content types and aspects.
content type
Content can be categorized as a type and can be one type at any one time. The type describes the fundamental structure of the content.


3.0 term. The Alfresco dashboard is an interactive user interface that presents and organizes information to the user. See also My Alfresco dashboard
3.0 term. A dashlet is an application that appears in the Alfresco dashboard that presents information to the user. Users can organize dashelets into different layouts and set keyboard short cuts for each dashlet.
Document Management
Document management is the Alfresco product for storing and retrieving documents, including content contribution and categorization, advanced search, content transformation, versioning and auditing, collaboration, and security.
description document
A description document provides the main configuration elements for a web script. The description document records the URL that initiates the web script, together with a given short name and description, and with authentication and transactional needs.


Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
Enterprise content management (ECM) is a set of technologies used to capture, store, preserve and deliver content and documents and content related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization's unstructured information, wherever that information exists. Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_content_management
Enterprise Edition
The Enterprise Edition is production ready open source - the stress-tested certified build that is supported by Alfresco Software. It is recommended for corporations, governments, and other organizations looking for a production-ready open source ECM solution, with the primary benefit of being a stable, reliable, certified, supported application with warranty and indemnity, with the support of Alfresco and its certified partners.
execution script
It is possible to create web scripts relying only on the scripting capabilities of FreeMarker templating language. However, an optional execution script gives the web script greater flexibility, especially when creating and/or updating Alfresco objects. An execution script may be written in JavaScript or Java.


FreeMarker is a template engine, which is a generic tool to generate text output based on templates. The output can be anything from HTML to auto-generated source code. FreeMarker is a class library that Java programmers can embed into their products.
FreeMarker template
One or more FreeMarker templates are required to render the web script output in the format for your specific needs. A web script is invoked calling a URL. The URL response is rendered via one of the supplied templates and is chosen at run time based on the required response content-type or status outcome. The template has access to all URL arguments, common repository data entry points and any data items built by the optional execution script.


Hibernate is an object-relational mapping (ORM) library for the Java language, providing a framework for mapping an object-oriented domain model to a traditional relational database. Hibernate solves Object-Relational impedance mismatch problems by replacing direct persistence-related database accesses with high-level object handling functions.


ImageMagick is a software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images. It can read, convert and write images in a large variety of formats. Images can be cropped, colors can be changed, various effects can be applied, images can be rotated and combined, and text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bezier curves can be added to images and stretched and rotated. Quoted from: http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php


Java Content Repository (JCR) API
Java Content Repository API is a standard Java API (as defined by JSR-170) for accessing content repositories. Alfresco provides support for JCR level 1 and level 2 giving standardised read and write access.
Java Foundation API
The Alfresco Java Foundation API is a set of services providing full access to the capabilities of the Alfresco repository. It is an in-process API meaning that the client must sit within the same process as the repository. For example, the Alfresco web client uses this API and is packaged together with the repository in a single .war file for deployment to an application server. See also Java Foundation API
JavaScript is a scripting language most often used for client-side web development. JavaScript is a trademark of Sun Microsystems.
JavaScript API
The Alfresco JavaScript API allows script writers to develop JavaScript (ECMA Script) 1.6 compatible scripts that access, modify and create Alfresco repository objects. The JavaScript API provides a simple, clean, and object-oriented access to well known Alfresco concepts such as nodes, properties, associations, and aspects. See also JavaScript API Reference documentation.
JMagic is an open source Java interface of ImageMagick. It is implemented in the form of Java Native Interface (JNI) into the ImageMagick API. Quoted from: http://www.yeo.id.au/jmagick/
Java Virtual Machine


Apache Lucene is a high-performance, full-featured text search engine library written entirely in Java. It is a technology suitable for nearly any application that requires full-text search, especially cross-platform. Quoted from: http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/index.html


Metadata is data about content.
My Alfresco dashboard
The My Alfresco dashboard is a space that can be used to hold the content that you would like to be available to anyone with access to your Alfresco server.


A namespace is an abstract container providing context for the items it holds and allowing items to have the same name (residing in different namespaces). Alfresco namespaces start with http://www.alfresco.org. The top-level namespace sub-divisions are: model, identify an Alfresco data model; view, identify a view of content held in the Alfresco repository; ws, identify an Alfresco web service definition; test, identify a test definition.
A node is a specialized object with properties and content. A node has hierarchical associations with other nodes to identify content and content spaces.
A node ref is the unique identifier for a node.    It consists of a store identifier and a unique id.


A node contains multiple properties, a set of manageable attribute values, defined according type and aspects. For example standard content properties in Alfresco are title, description, creator, and modification date.


Records Management
Records Management is an Alfresco solution for managing the life cycle of electronic and other types of records.
The Alfresco repository is the combination of the content, the indexes, and the database.  It contains a collection of Stores. The Alfresco repository architecture is based on the Spring framework. Every part of the Alfresco repository is either a component or a service. A component is an implementation black box that provides a specific feature or capability. A service is an interface entry point for a client to bind to and use.
Representational state transfer (REST) is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web.
The Alfresco RESTful API provides access to its services via HTTP. The REST API is built upon the Alfresco web scripts platform allowing customization and extension of the API. See also RESTful API.
A rule is a action or composite action with a rule type.
rule type
Every rule has a rule type and it characterizes the types of events in the repository that will cause the rule to be triggered. When a rule is triggered the composite action it represents is executed. A rule type is made up of a number of rule triggers.
rule trigger
A rule trigger relates to a repository policy and transforms the information acquired when that policy is fired into the information needed to trigger a rule.


A environment for testing, experimenting, or using as a working area. In WCM, a sandbox is an area where users can make changes to web content. In the sandbox, a user can add, edit, and delete both folders and files.
Software Development Kit
3.0 term. A site is a collaborative area for a unit of work or a project.
smart space
A space that has rules defined for how the content is managed in that space. Typical rules include simple workflow, check-in/check-out, and versioning.
A space is a place to hold and organize content and other spaces. It can hold any type of content.
Spring is an open-source application framework for Java/JEE. The Alfresco repository uses the Spring Framework as the core foundation of its architecture.
A store is a logical partition within the repository, grouped for a particular automated use. Each store contains a hierarchy of nodes with one root node. Two main stores in Alfresco are the Document Management (DM) and the Advance Versioning Manager (AVM) stores. AVM stores are used for Web Content Management. Each store is identified by a content store reference. This reference consists of a store protocol (such as archive or workspace) and a store id (such as SpaceStore or User).
Surf Platform
The Alfresco Surf Platform is a framework for web application and site assembly that bundles a full site construction object model and toolkit for building web applications. The Surf Platform is built to be very lightweight and can be built as a standalone WAR file. It is designed from the ground up to stand alone within the Web Tier. It includes the Alfresco Web Script Runtime so that application developers can build components, pages, and templates using the rich scripting and FreeMarker templating processing capabilities of Alfresco within in the Web Tier.
Surf Platform - Freemarker Template and JavaScript API
The Surf Platform Freemarker Template and JavaScript API provides an extension to the existing Alfresco Freemarker Template and JavaScript API capabilities, including additional, root-scoped objects. See also Surf Platform - Freemarker Template and JavaScript API.


3.0 term. A tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information.
A template is a document that can be applied to an object or objects (for example, one or more documents) to produce another document (see FreeMarker or XSLT template files).
3.0 term. A thumbnail is a small image that provides a preview of the file without opening it.
A node has one content type to define its class in the repository; such as content, space or custom object (wiki, forum, and so on). These types are defined in one of the content models of the repository.


WAR file
See Alfresco WAR
Web Content Management (WCM)
Web Content Management is an Alfresco product for the rapid deployment of your web content, allowing you to create, develop, and maintain content for your websites.
Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning. A protocol that allows users to edit and manage files on remote web servers.
WCM workflow
In WCM, the workflow is configured either for a web form associated with a web project, and/or the workflow is configured for the overall web project.
web form
A web form is a form created by a web developer for use in web projects. The web form is used by a Content Contributor to capture content and store it as XML content in the repository. Web forms enable Content Contributors to create structured XML content based on an XML schema (XSD). When configured with one or more rendering engine templates, a web form can generate multiple renditions of the XML content (for example, HTML and PDF).
web project
A web project is a space for web sites or web applications. The Web Projects space holds other spaces, where each space represents one web site or web application.
web script
Web scripts allow you to extend or customize Alfresco and make it accessible to other tools and applications. Alfresco supplies several example web scripts. Web scripts are bound to an HTTP method and custom URL, and are activated by URL calls. There are two types of web script: data and user interface. Data web scripts return data, and user interface web scripts build user interfaces within the Alfresco web client, or within third-party applications. See also Web Scripts.
Web Script Runtime
A Web Script Runtime is the environment (that is, the host) within which a web script is executed. There are three Web Script Runtimes available: Servlet Runtime (HTTP Access), JSR-168 Runtime (Portlet Access), and JSF Runtime (JSF Component Access). New runtimes may be plugged-in allowing web scripts to be re-used and re-hosted in a number of different applications. See also Web Script Runtimes.
Web Services API
A WSDL based API providing standard remote access to the Alfresco repository from any client environment, for example, PHP, .NET, Java.
A workflow is a work procedure and workflow steps that represent the activities users must follow in order to achieve the desired outcome. Alfresco provides two different types of workflow: simple and advanced. Simple workflow defines content rules for a space. Advanced workflow provides two out-of-the-box workflows (Review and Approve; Adhoc Task).
Web Service Definition Language.

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