Implementing Document Management in Alfresco 3- part2

3 min read

Library services

Library services are common document management functions for controlling the users through permissions, for creating multiple instances of a document(versioning), and for providing users with access into a document to make the changes (checking-in or checking-out).


You might have more than one person who can edit a document. What if somebody edits a document and removes a useful piece of information? Well, you can make use of the versioning features of Alfresco to resolve such issues.

Versioning allows the history of previous versions of a content to be kept. The content needs to be Versionable, in order for versions to be kept. You can enable versioning in four different ways:

  1. Individually: To enable versioning for an individual content object item, go to the View Details page and click on the Allow Versioning link. The next screenshot illustrates how to enable versioning on an individual content item.
  2. Using Smart Spaces: A business rule can be set for a space to allow versioning of all of the content or selected content within that space.
  3. By Type: By default, versioning is disabled for all of the content types in the Alfresco content model. Versioning can be enabled for a specific content type, irrespective of the location of the content.
  4. Globally: Alfresco can be configured globally to enable versioning for all content throughout the site.

Enable versioning for sample file that you have already uploaded to the system. Go to the Intranet > Marketing Communications > Switch to open source ECM > 02_Drafts space and view the details of Alfresco_CIGNEX.doc file. Click on the Allow Versioning link to enable versioning, as shown in the following screenshot. You will immediately notice that a version with a version number of 1.0 is created.

Implementing Document Management in Alfresco 3- part2

At the time of writing this article (Alfresco version 3.1), reverting back to an older version of the content is not supported. There is a plan to support this feature in future releases of Alfresco. The workaround is to download the older version and upload it again as the current version.

For a checked out content, the version is updated when the content is checked in. The version number is incremented from the version number of the content object that was checked out.

Auto Versioning

Auto versioning can be enabled by editing the content properties and selecting the Auto Version checkbox.

If auto versioning is enabled, then each Save of the content results in an incremented version number, when the content is edited directly from the repository. Each Update (upload) of the content also results in a new version (with an incremented version number) being created.

If auto versioning is not enabled, then the version number is incremented only when the content is checked in.

Check In and Check Out

By using the versioning feature, you can ensure that all of the changes made to a document are saved. You might have more than one person who can edit a document. What if two people edit a document at once, and you get into a mess with two new versions? To resolve this issue, you’ll need to use the library services.

Library services provide the ability to check out a document, reserving it for one user to edit, while others can only access the document in read-only mode. Once the necessary changes have been made to the document, the user checks in the document, and can either replace the original, or create a new version of the original.

Check Out locks the item and creates a working copy that can be edited (both the content and the details). Check In replaces the original item with the working copy, and releases the lock.


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