Building Content-Rich Java Apps in the Cloud with the Alfresco API


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This presentation, originally delivered at JavaOne on October 2, 2012, talks about why you should use Alfresco instead of rolling your own content repository and discusses the new public Alfresco API for writing content apps that persist content to Alfresco in the Cloud.

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  • Alfresco is an open source Enterprise Content Management platformCan manage any kind of file, any sizeStores the file and metadataAll content and metadata is searchableFiles can be secured to specific users and groupsCMIS-compliantProvides versioning and check-in/check-outHas a built-in workflow engineCan be accessed through a browser or from desktop applications via CIFS, WebDAV, FTP, IMAP, SMTP, SharePointThree editionsCommunityEnterprise (On-Premise)Cloud
  • I’ve got a ton of filesI’ve got people that produce them, sometimes collaboratively, and people that consume them.I want to somehow make it easier to deal with all of this.Inability to find important contentBlack hole processRe-creating the wheelProductivity lossHigher costsUsing outdated contentLegal/business riskLoss-of-life/injury
  • Commons response: Let’s built it ourselves!
  • You’ve built a system that’s pretty bad-ass, and it is customized to your specific needs, but at what cost? - Lots of custom code to maintain - More than likely not standards compliant - It meets today’s requirements, but what about tomorrow’s?
  • Alfresco wants to be your content platform: - Open source - Choice throughout the stack - Your dev tools & frameworksThis problem has already been solved. Don’t build it yourself.Content Platform = Repository + ServicesFind a platform that meets your needsExtend the platform with your own business logicWrite your own front-end using whatever language or framework makes senseOr, customize the UI that the platform provides
  • Alfresco have previously supported CMIS APIs, but these only provided access to a subset of the total functionality available within the Alfresco server. The new public API is much more comprehensive in the capabilities it offers to developers and has two components: CMIS (runs on AtomPub XML) is the standard defined by OASIS, and it is a good position to be in for Alfresco to be able to communicate our compliance with this recognised standard. The other part of the API offers additional integration capabilties via REST, which we will go into on the next slide, along with the Mobile SDK.
  • The Alfresco API enables the developer community to unlock the power of the Alfresco platform to mutually compliment their own developments. We’ve built upon the CMIS standard API format, to provide additional development functionality via the REST element of the Alfresco API. These two elements combine to offer the most comprehensive integration options possible. The two ingredients in the Alfresco API.The CMIS part:Store, retrieve, search and query folder content, access metadata and thumbnails for documents and read and write data.The REST part:The REST element of the API adds in additional functionality, such as access to data on users, sites and the ability to read and write activity streams, and provides developers with extra depth in the options open to them when developing against the Alfresco platform.The two components – CMIS and REST – both run on HTTP and can be used either in combination, or independently, according to the needs/desires of the developer and their project, and provide support for numerous different coding languages.There is also the upcoming release of the Alfresco Mobile SDK, which is toolkit that sits as an additional extraction layer for developers working on iOS and Android apps, to make the process of integration even simpler still. The SDK is completely optional, so it is up to developers to decide whether it will be a benefit in the interface between their app and Alfresco.The Alfresco Mobile SDK is deployed alongside the Alfresco APIThe benefits of the Alfresco APIIt exposes the Alfresco platformAllows leverage of Alfresco as a document/data repository, workflow initiation platform and many other usesUnleashes strength and depth of Alfresco to augment 3rd party appsBenefits of Developing with Alfresco MobileThe Alfresco Mobile SDK in available for both iOS and Android developments, and is an optional extra interface layer to make building on the Alfresco platform for mobile applications even easier.Alfresco Mobile SDK provides the capability to connect to both on-premise and cloud-based servers.Supports Alfresco Enterprise versions 3.4.x and aboveThe Client API provides a library allowing quick incorporation of access to Alfresco servers within mobile applicationsWe provide an SDK Samples Application, an example of how the Client API can be deployed in a typical app integration
  • Built on Spring Surf & YUIConfigurable, customizable
  • Open SourceGet it from bitbucket
  • When registering your app: - For “Scope”, enter “public_api” - For “Type”, enter “Confidential”
  • Authorize URL: URL:
  • Development plan: 5 requests per second, 10,000 requests per dayProduction plan: 50 requests per second, 100,000 requests per dayThese may change over time
  • Building Content-Rich Java Apps in the Cloud with the Alfresco API

    1. 1. Building Content-Rich Java Apps in theCloud with the Alfresco APIJeff PottsChief Community OfficerApache Chemistry cmislib lead
    2. 2. Agenda• What is Alfresco?• Why You Shouldn’t Roll Your Own Repo• Getting Started with the API (Demos) – Signing up for an API key – Hitting the API with a REST client – Doing something simple but useful with Java• Brief Intro to CMIS• Guidelines/Tips• Re-cap and What You Should Do Next
    3. 3. What is Alfresco? enterprise content management platform across cloud, on-premise or both API for content apps that can run in the cloud, on-premise or both content hub for your enterprise tablets cloud on-premise hybrid cloud sync
    4. 4. 2,200 enterprise customers66 countries6.6 million users3.3 billion documents managed
    5. 5. BenefitsFor users: Accesscontent on any device,with any content tool, anywhereFor organizations: Manage and control companycontent, with whatever level of security,customization, integration or workflow isrequiredFor developers: Target 1 standards-based API
    6. 6. How do we deliver?Open Sourcefree access to source code for developersOpen StandardsWebDAV, CIFS, SharePoint Protocol, CMISChoiceuse any tool, any device, deploy in cloud, on-premise or bothFlexibilitycustomizable, extensible, easily integrated
    7. 7. A Few Random Examples• Contract negotiation, creation, & review• Press request/fulfillment• Board room/B2B collaboration• Field sales collateral creation & communication• Customer file sharing• University course guide authoring/publishing
    8. 8. Document-Related Pain Source: eqqman
    9. 9. Not so fast,Ryan Gosling!
    10. 10. DIY: Relational May Not Cut It• Relational is good at text and numbers. Binary data? YMMV• Size limits• Random seek (streaming)• Search: Some relational databases can index into blobs, but not all
    11. 11. And what about…• Security framework • Versioning• Search • Check-in/Check-out• Business • Remote API Process/Workflow • Replication Engine • Social features• Transforms/Extractions/ • Mobile access Renditions • Custom code to• Scheduled jobs integrate all of these• WebDAV, CIFS, FTP or subsystems other authoring integrations
    12. 12. Source: gobucks2What Have We Done?
    13. 13. Alfresco Content Platform• Our Apps, Your Apps, Third-Party Apps• Any device• One API Alfresco API• On-Premise, in the Cloud, or Both• Open Source (LGPLv3) Sync Repository + Services
    14. 14. Repository• Hierarchical collection of typed nodes – Folders, Documents, Contracts, Resumes• Nodes may have content associated with them• Metadata• Secured• Searchable
    15. 15. Services• Embedded workflow (Activiti)• Transformations• Rules• Versioning• Many more
    16. 16. Alfresco APIAPI Options• Alfresco’s “foundation” API is Java• Server-side JavaScript is also an option• Remote APIs – CMIS - Atom REST or SOAP – HTTP REST Webscripts - Java or JavaScript• Alfresco Cloud API – Launched October 2! Source: 96dpi
    17. 17. Alfresco API & SDK• What are we announcing? – New public API for Alfresco in the Cloud • Based on CMIS (AtomPub) and Alfresco REST (JSON) – Alfresco Mobile SDK • iOS and Android client SDKs • Wrap the new Cloud API and the existing on- premise API • Coming soon!
    18. 18. Alfresco API Launch Partners
    20. 20. Alfresco Cloud UI
    21. 21. Alfresco Mobile
    22. 22. Developer Portal
    23. 23. How OAuth2 Authentication Works Application Alfresco End-User Sign up for an Assigns you a API key consumer key and secret Invokes the Authorize URL Asks the user for permission User grants access Redirects to your Grabs the app’s callback returned code URL Exchanges the code for an access token Returns an access token and expiration Adds the token to Not shown: Refresh Authorization header after access token expiration
    24. 24. Example: Hitting the REST API
    25. 25. Alfresco REST API• Sites – Members – Favorites• Networks List will expand• People over time• Containers• Activities• Ratings• Comments• Tags
    26. 26. So what is CMIS, anyway?
    27. 27. What is CMIS?• Content Management Interoperability Services• Language-independent, vendor-neutral API for content management – CRUD functions for nodes – Check-in/check-out – Associations – Permissions (Access Control Lists) – Policies – Queries – Repository traversal
    28. 28. The Beauty of CMIS Presentation Tier REST SOAP ? Content Services Tier Enterprise Apps Tier ?
    29. 29. • Open Source implementations of CMIS• Apache Chemistry is the umbrella project for all CMIS related projects within the ASF – OpenCMIS (Java, client and server) – cmislib (Python, client) – phpclient (PHP, client) – DotCMIS (.NET, client)
    30. 30. CMIS & Apache Chemistry inAction• Everything you need to know about CMIS 1.0 & 1.1• Lots of Groovy and Java examples• Also covers Python, Android, & iOS• Now on MEAP!• 37%-off: 12cmisal
    31. 31. Example: Create, Find andComment on a Document withJava Screenshot, TBD
    32. 32. Things to Consider• Rate limits – 5 requests/second, 10,000 requests/day (Dev) – 50 requests/second, 100,000 requests/day (Prod)• No limit on # of applications• Alfresco Cloud users own their content• OpenCMIS 0.8.0-SNAPSHOT• cmislib 0.5.1dev
    33. 33. Where to Get Help• Alfresco API forum• #alfresco on freenode IRC• Alfresco Technical Discussion Google Group• examples• examples• Come by the booth!
    34. 34. RECAP
    35. 35. Alfresco as a Content Platform• Alfresco is an open source ECM platform – Repository + Services + API• Choice throughout the stack• Flexibility in deployment options• Standards-based API – CMIS AtomPub + Alfresco REST• Register your application at
    36. 36. Your Next StepsCloud Account Register App ParticipateSign up for a Become a Registered Join our community offree 10GB Alfresco Developer at developers atnetwork in the cloud., m in IRC, and on Twitter Grab your app key and secret
    37. 37. Berlin, Germany San Jose, CaliforniaNovember 6 & 7 November 14 & 15
    38. 38. Our Community al_Communities
    39. 39. For More Information…• Alfresco Developer Portal –• Alfresco Forums – My Contact Info…• Alfresco Wiki Jeff Potts – Email:• Alfresco Blogroll jeff.potts@alfresco.c om –• ECM Architect Blog Twitter/Skype: jeffpotts01 –