Alfresco rolls Web 2.0 features into latest upgrade

The content management vendor has released a new search-friendly version of its software

Alfresco Software is taking cues from the so-called Web 2.0 craze with the release of the latest version of its open-source content management software (CMS).

Alfresco’s 2.1 version assigns URLs to objects such as documents, which enables other technologies to come into play such as Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and Extensible Markup Language), says John Newton, Alfresco’s chief technology officer.

In one example that mimics new functionality seen on some websites, Afresco’s 2.1 software can display a pop-up preview window of documents returned after a search, says Newton.

Alfresco also added a search feature. Alfresco’s CMS is delivered through a web browser, and users can now add an “Alfresco” search in the drop-down search menu, in a similar way to how they may already have web search engines selected, such as those from Google or Yahoo.

The feature helps return a mesh of internal content with web content during searches, Newton says.

It’s based on OpenSearch, an API (application programming interface) that allows the aggregation and syndication of searches in Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0.

Alfresco has also integrated version 2.1 into Microsoft’s Office productivity software via a plug-in. Users see an Alfresco window within Office where they can manage their own documents and workflows.

Another new feature allows bloggers to write, edit and upload blog posts to WordPress and TypePad sites from Alfresco.

A Mediawiki module — a software package for managing user-created content in sites such as Wikipedia — has also been added to allow for content management of wikis, Newton says.

A list of other new features and changes for the 2.1 release is available on Alfresco’s wiki.

Alfresco’s software is free, and the company makes money through support contracts. Organisations typically experiment with Alfresco for a while and then buy a support contract when they want to use the CMS in a production environment, says Ian Howells, Alfresco’s chief marketing officer.

Alfresco clients include the US Department for Homeland Security as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA, says Newton.

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Tags technologyWeb 2.0alfresco

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