by March 10, 2007 0 comments

What’s more this browser based system called
Alfresco allows access to the documents
through Windows share as well as WebDav. Alfresco showcases a number of features
like smart faces, automatic metadata extraction (from MS Word files), content
versioning and an advanced content search, but in this article we focus on a
must have feature from a document management system namely — a document
workflow. Alfresco makes it a breeze to take documents across a workflow
process. But first comes, booting up the PCQLinux Content Management Appliance
and starting Alfresco.

Start up Alfresco
Start up the PCQLinux Content Management Appliance and set up its networking
(refer to the section on Virtualization with VirtualBox ). To start Alfresco:

cd /var/alfresco

Fire up a web browser (IE or Firefox) from one of the machines on your
network and type in the URL: Substitute with the IP address you assigned to the PCQLinux appliance. Click
on “Login (guest)”. You will be redirected to the login page. On the login page,
login as admin with the password as admin.

Workflow 1: Here you can
see that the author can submit articles to the editors. He can even start
discussions with them

A sample scenario
An example to show the easy setup of Alfresco’s workflow, we take up the case of
an author who upon finishing the article clicks on “Move to edit”. This workflow
action moves the article document (say an MS Word document) to a folder
(referred to as Space in Alfresco) called Articles. The Editor has view and
check out rights to this Space and can hence checkout the article to edit. Once
edited, the editor clicks on “Move to publish” action which moves the edited
article to a Space called “Ready to publish”.

To achieve this, we first create two groups called editors and authors
respectively. We create users corresponding to the editors and authors and add
them to the respective groups. Next we create the Spaces (Articles and Edited)
and assign logical permissions to these Spaces, for the editor and author group.
Finally we create a workflow to achieve the above mentioned flow of an article

Create users and groups
Upon login as admin, click on the ‘Administration Console’ icon (the first icon
after the blue band on the top). On the administration console, click on Manage
System Users>Create User and follow the wizard. Create users corresponding to
authors (say Shekhar Govindarajan) and corresponding to editors (say Rinku Tyagi).
Note that the default home folder (as specified in the home space name) of the
editors and authors get created while creating users corresponding to them.

We will set the home space name to ‘shekhar govindarajan’ and rinku tyagi’
for the users in our case. In their home space, users have full access to
upload, create, delete and edit their documents. Once done with the users’
creation, click on Manage User Groups. On the ‘Group Management’ page, click on
Create>Create Group. For the identifier, enter the group name (Authors and
Editors in our case).

On the Group Management page, click on the second icon (which has a + symbol)
to add users to the group. That is, Shekhar Govindarajan will be added to the
Authors group and Rinku Tyagi will be added to the Editors group.

Workflow 2: Using this
interface, the editor submits the article for publishing, after editing it

Create Spaces & set permissions
While logged in as admin, click on “My Home”. Click on Create>Create Space (note
the menu on the top right). For name enter “Articles”. Fill in other fields
(title, description), select an icon for the Space and click on “create space”.
Similarly create a Space called “Ready To publish”.

Onto setting the permissions, click on “My Home”. There you will see the two
Spaces that you created, amongst some of the existing or default Alfresco
Spaces. Click on Articles Space. Click on More Action>Manage Space Users. Click
on Invite. Select Groups from the dropdown, type in Author and click on Search.
Select Contributor from the role list. Click on Add to list. Similarly add
Editor group with the role as ‘Editor’. Click on Next and for e-mail invitation,
select no. Click on Finish.

Similarly setup the Editor group with the Contributor role for the “Ready to
publish” Space.

Setup the workflow
Click on the ‘Shekhar Govindarajan’ Space. Click on More Action>Manage Content
Rules. Click on Create Rule. From the ‘Select Condition’ dropdown, select ‘All
Items’. Click on ‘Add to list’. Click on Next. For ‘Select Action’, select ‘Add
simple workflow to item’. Click on ‘Set Values and Add’. For ‘Name to Approve’,
select ‘Move to edit’. Select the radio button labeled move (or copy). Click on
‘click here to select the destination’ and select the Article Space. Select No
for reject workflow. Click on Ok and then on Next. On the Enter Details page,
select Inbound for Type. For title and description, type in ‘Move to edit’.
Check the box labeled ‘Apply rule to sub spaces’. Click on Finish.Follow the
same steps for the Space named ‘Rinku Tyagi’. But substitute ‘Move to edit’ with
‘Move to publish’. Select the destination space as ‘Ready to publish’ on the
‘Set action values’ page. Also in ‘Step 3 — Enter Details’, select Update for

See the workflow in action
Now login as Shekhar Govindarajan with the password set during the user
creation. Click on My Home and then on ‘Add Content’. Follow the wizard to
browse and upload a file. Once done, you will see the file (pcqlinux-article.doc
in our case) on the My Home page. Click on the icon labeled >> and select ‘Move
to edit’.

Now login as Rinku Tyagi and click on Company Home. Click on the Article
space and you will see the pcqlinux-article.doc lying there. Click on the arrow
icon to check out the document. On the check out page, click the radio button
labeled ‘In the space select’ and select the Space named ‘Rinku Tyagi’. Click on
check out.

Once checked out, you can download the article and edit it. Once the editing
is over, right click on the pcqlinux-article.doc icon and click on update. When
prompted upload the edited document.

Now when you again right click on the pcqlinux-article.doc you will find the
option of Move to publish. Click on it and voila, the article moves to the Space
called ‘Ready to publish’, that is, to its final destiny in our simple workflow.
You can check out the ‘Ready to publish’ space by clicking on Company Home.

There is more to Alfresco’s document management, workflow, permissions and
there is more to its features. And if you want more details about the software
then check out a flash demo at

To create categories goto
Administration Console and click on Category Management
On the category management
page, click on create>add category. Then fill in a category name and

Click on a Space which has
a document or content to categorize. Then click on the ‘View Details’ icon
Expand the Category
section and click on allow categorization. Next, click on the edit icon in
the categorization section

On the subsequent page,
click on the select button and select a category
You can search the
documents by their category using Advanced Search

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.