Advanced Collaboration using Alfresco Share

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Today, collaboration and team effort have become critical factors, both inside and outside of the workplace. More and more users want simplicity and familiarity with the tools they use day in and day out. They achieve this by searching in Google, reading in Wikipedia, writing on a blog, finding people on Facebook, being notified in a simple RSS reader, viewing friends, activities on Facebook, and bringing all of this together in iGoogle. Alfresco Share delivers all of this functionality to enterprise users, projects, and teams.

Imagine a business user, if given the permission, being able to set up their project web site quickly, being able to invite users to the site, and assign permissions to users within that web site. What previously required a customized solution is now offered out of the box by Alfresco Share.

Alfresco Share

Alfresco Share (referred to simply as Share from now on) is built on the Alfresco enterprise-class document repository, and delivers out of the box collaborative content management. It simplifies the capture, sharing, and retrieval of information across virtual teams. Team members or project members can rapidly find relevant content or excerpts, look at past or similar projects, and stay on top of any relevant changes, in order to make them more efficient.

Share is focused on collaboration tasks and includes integration with popular blogging, Wiki, and forum or discussion products, out of the box. It provides a great interface into more traditional document management libraries (think folders) as well. Keep in mind that all of the web site’s contents and documents are still stored in the Alfresco repository. Therefore they are secured, versioned, searchable, and auditable.


Share is an independent client application that accesses the repository through web scripts. It is built on the Alfresco Surf (referred to simply as Surf from now on) platform. Alfresco Share is a web application that runs on a machine that is separate from that of the repository.

Share provides a paradigm for creating collaborative applications by aggregating Surf components, and incorporating new Surf components as they are developed. With Share, users can modify their workspaces to fit their collaborative requirements inside or outside of the organization. Users can invite their peers to share and collaborate on the project and the content. With the addition of Share, Alfresco delivers a Web 2.0 application that leverages Flash and AJAX with a polished interface, which any business person can enjoy.

Features like Document Libraries, Search, Activity Feeds, Virtual Teams, personalized dashboard, N-tier Architecture, and draft CMIS support make it a really competent tool for collaborative content management. Share allows you to:

  • Bulk-upload content, select content from thumbnails, and view it in a Flash viewer. The content is automatically generated in Flash format. This allows users to view content regardless of the original format.
  • Search for people and experts to contribute to their projects as easily as searching for content. Share provides updates on what is new in a project, especially details of content that has been added, edited, or commented upon. Share can track deliverables and import the information into your personal calendar by using iCal.
  • Use an interactive interface to configure a customizable dashboard, and sites, based on what is critical to a specific role or project. Share allows you to create a virtual team for projects and communities.
  • Develop applications in an environment that uses lightweight scripting and reusable components, as well as deliver scalability and allow more users to access existing resources.

The URL to access the Alfresco Share application is different from the URL used to access Alfresco Explorer. The Alfresco Share application can be launched in the web browser by visiting the URL, http://<server name> /share/

If you have already installed Alfresco in Windows, then you can invoke the Alfresco Share application by selecting the application, as shown in the following screenshot:

Advanced Collaboration using Alfresco Share

You need to provide your authentication credentials, which are similar to those used in the Alfresco Share application. For the administrator, the default username and password are both admin.

Once you have been authenticated, the Administrator Dashboard will be displayed, as shown in the following screenshot. At the top of the page you will find the application toolbar. This toolbar contains links to the various Share pages.

Your Administrator Dashboard will look similar to the following screenshot:

These components are as follows:

  • Getting Started: This dashlet displays the instructions for getting started, and provides you with links to perform common tasks
  • My Profile: This dashlet contains a summary of the personal details provided in your user profile
  • Sites: This component displays the Site Finder page, where you can search for specific sites and manage the membership of Share sites
  • People: This component displays the People Finder page, where you search for specific Share users
  • Help: This component displays the online help available for Alfresco Share
  • Logout: This component logs you out of the Alfresco Share application
  • Search: This component enables you to perform a quick search for content in the current site, or across all of the sites

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