The excitement is palpable. The benefits of a Drupal/ Alfresco integration are considerable, both from a developer and an end-user’s perspective. And users of one of these open source systems have already recognized this.
So, what are the two system’s at play in this powerful migration? Drupal is the open source standard for web content management that currently powers millions of websites and applications world-wide. Drupal is built and supported by a vast community composed of millions of users from countries around the world. Alfresco, on the other hand, is the industry- leading open source standard for Enterprise Content Mangement. Alfresco also has a strong relationship with the open source community as numerous customized apps have been integrated on top of this extremely robust platform and repository.
The combination of Drupal and Alfresco in an integrated solution results in a combined content publishing and document management system that truly is the best of both worlds. Still, what are the specific benefits of using Drupal and Alfresco in conjunction with one another? Let’s take a look at two different perspectives:
The Developer’s Perspective:
- Both platforms support open source industry standards such as CMIS, Web Services, Rest APIs, JSON, Atom, etc.
- Drupal as the front-end provides Alfresco with a highly flexible presentation layer that can be used to build websites that would be more or less impossible with Alfresco alone
- There are numerous options in terms of scaling the application based on the business requirements – highly interactive web experience (scale Drupal) or highly content processing with workflows, annotations, etc. (scale Alfresco
- The open source nature of both of the platforms allows the solution to scale without proportional scaling of software licenses.
- Communication between the two platforms is established using a custom RESTful API using JSON which is easily implemented into both systems
- Integration using CMIS – By integrating a CMIS-compliant repository with a CMIS-compliant CMS, the system is able to handle the robust features of the complex Alfresco workflow system while ensuring all content within both systems are not compromising security levels.
- Interoperability allows for multiple Drupal based sites to share a single repository of assets.
From an End User / Client Perspective:
- Alfresco compliments Drupal by providing a feature-rich UI for managing web assets, as well as providing full knowledge and document management support for an entire organization
- Content created and stored within the Alfresco repository can be located from the Drupal front-end. – this eliminates the need to migrate or duplicate content between Drupal and Alfresco.
- Permission limitations associated with each document within Alfresco are carried over to the Drupal end as well – this allows for documents to be shared in a public view while ensuring that all associated annotations implemented within Alfresco are kept.
- Content created in Drupal can be pushed and replicated within the Alfresco repository yet can still be maintained within a Drupal node. – Webscripts grab the data and create the node from a preregistered model. This allows for comments and likes and any other social-integration type activity to take place while ensuring that the un-altered content has been stored as a document within the Alfresco repository.
- Metadata is replicated across the both systems – The relationship between metadata and any search solution is clear. By having metadata replicated between both platforms, users will not have to keep up with multiple search terminology patterns. The same items that bring up an article while searching in Drupal, will bring up the same document in Alfresco.
- Ease of Use for Non–technical users – the user-centered design associated with Drupal’s interface allows for less-technical minded individuals to comfortably operate this system while maintaining document management compliance requirements.
As illustrated, there are several ways to integrate Drupal and Alfresco. A solution based on the integration of these complementary products provides an extensive, flexible and innovative platform to build and maintain a rich content solution while maintaining all of the benefits of open source and cost of ownership as any proprietary solution on the market.