Setting Course

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Setting Course

Active Member II
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Long ago, perhaps 6 or 7 BC (before children, my oldest is 9), I made the adventurous/stupid decision to buy a very used boat off of eBay.

The 1986 Bayliner’s previous owner was a duct tape kind of guy: quick fix now, real fix later, (but later never comes).

I am not a duct tape kind of guy.

My (beautiful and tolerant) wife and I spent many a weekend getting the boat in shape: redoing electrical systems, replacing engine components, refinishing teak… so much so that the marina staff would tease us, asking if we would ever actually take it out.  “We’ll take it out when it’s ready”, we’d reply.

After many months it was finally ready.

We had a fantastic 5 day trip around the Chesapeake Bay planned.  The first day was absolutely perfect, the boat effortlessly gliding across calm, glassy water to Solomon’s Island for a relaxing evening.

The next day started off with promise, but on the way to our second destination things very quickly took a turn for the worse when the boat broke down, leaving us adrift in a shipping channel.

We later learned that a piece of the transmission in the outdrive had worn down and broken off, an internal component not easily inspected, and would likely not have been recognized as nearing failure even if it were.

All of our time optimizing other components wasn’t wasted however, we certainly became much more familiar with them which gave us more confidence when we finally were underway, but perhaps if we had it out on the water sooner, more often, on shorter outings, exercising all of the components working together, we would have identified this issue before it ruined our holiday.

Our family still enjoys boating (albeit on a different boat), particularly actually getting out on the water, but enough of the nautical stories, you’re probably here to read about Alfresco...

As I’m sure you've heard by now, the Alfresco Digital Business Platform (DBP) is quite a compelling story itself: Process, Content, and Governance under one roof powering digital transformation in enterprise organizations across all kinds of industries.  That’s a big ship to deliver, particularly from a software engineering perspective, and as you can imagine something that needs to constantly evolve with the ever changing technical landscape we’re all a part of.

I’ve mentioned previously that we created a new Platform Services team in engineering and we’ve been primarily focused on common deployment needs via Docker and Kubernetes thus far.  Our team’s original plan was to next use this deployment approach to improve the production deployment of specific components of the Digital Business Platform.  Of course, deployment is just one piece of the DBP puzzle and the Platform Services team is also responsible for the shared infrastructure required to link the DBP components together and provide a consistent external interface to them.

If you haven’t seen yet, Alfresco’s Activiti project (the engine powering Alfresco Process Services) and the vibrant community around it has been doing some fantastic, innovative work to bring a modern architecture inline with industry trends to process in Activiti 7.  That architecture depends on pieces of infrastructure very similar to what’s needed for the DBP, and since the DBP will include Activity 7 any duplicated and/or diverging infrastructure could be difficult to resolve in the future.

To accelerate the optimization of the DBP as a whole and across the organization we’ll be bring together the entire DBP as it exists now, get it out on the water, and iterate on the infrastructure, consolidating redundant components and hardening them for release to enterprise customers.

As part of that effort we’ll move some of the existing infrastructure components currently under Activiti’s umbrella to make them more common across all of Alfresco’s ecosystem, still as open source projects and bringing the current active community along with them to the new home.

This approach has a number of benefits:

  • We can benefit from Activiti’s momentum without starting from scratch
  • We avoid the potential for duplication and divergence of Activiti’s infrastructure efforts without slowing down its development
  • We continue to foster an open community around infrastructure, and in fact expand it via shared ownership by Alfresco DBP engineering, Activiti, and the community, with the Platform Services team guiding and being responsible for delivery as supportable DBP components
  • Alfresco engineering teams can have a common development and test environment where they can start to leverage new infrastructure components


I hope you’re as excited as I am for this new way of moving forward and I encourage you all to contribute.


Let’s get out on the water, together.

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