Alfresco share - nobody loves me

Alfresco Share needs Love: Let’s save it!

Alfresco Share is an extensible, battle-tested collaboration application(!) which covers a lot of functionality. It is surely not the most awesome dev experience, but minor customizations can usually be implemented easily (= a few lines of extension code), more complicated ones are possible. The point is that there is no need to build an application(!) from scratch using a framework. It is this plugin mix and match architecture which makes solutions like WordPress highly successful. Imagine you would have to ship your solution as custom application instead. How many applications would ops and users be faced with? Unfortunately, Alfresco Share is in trouble.

What’s the problem with Share?

Share has history – and … warts. Some of the concepts implemented proved to be less valuable than expected. A lot of the extension points were incrementally and carefully introduced over the years – always aiming to be backward compatible. Now we have different solutions for basic problems developers face where one would be enough. It is really difficult getting started coding with Share. It is time to clean up the house.

David Draper is doing a great job helping people with Aikau. Unfortunately, this is not enough – a lot of the problems developers have are elsewhere.

On top of that, we now have a new kid on the block – Alfresco NG2 Components. Alfresco is betting big on it. They are putting strong emphasis on its developer experience. Looking at the past, this emphasis almost appears like an overreaction. Bad luck for Share, it does not play nice with Angular (or NG2 Components), and hence – won’t benefit a lot from the efforts or fruit of the latter.

Alfresco Share needs ?. It reminds me of the situation we currently have with Oracle and Java EE. I think it is pretty clear by now that Share has no future without Alfresco allowing it to move forward.

What can be done about it?

This could really be THE opportunity for EVERYBODY in the community to roll up the sleeves and help getting Share in shape. But it only makes sense if Alfresco is willing to support the effort. Moving at least Surf / WebScripts to github seems prerequisite, distributing the application would definitely be helpful. I for one hope Alfresco will break the silence – soon. And come up with a roadmap to save Share.

In recent past, Alfresco always emphasized they want feedback. I think it is time to make some ?NOISE!

Update 07/08/2016: The following video iterates Alfresco plans on Share and responds to this post. Take seven minutes, lean back and let it sink in:

I understand work on Share needs to be prioritized, and that takes a little time. However, I think it is is crucial to get community code contributions right. The signals I received suggest that people are ready and want to get their hands dirty. I hope Alfresco keeps their signals coming frequently. Personally, I would be super curious about the code contributions.


Andreas Steffan
Pragmatic ? Scientist and DevOps Mind @ Contentreich. Believes in Open Source, the Open Web and Linux. Freelancing in DevOps-, Cloud-, Kubernetes, JVM- and Contentland and speaks Clojure, Kotlin, Groovy, Go, Python, JavaScript, Java, Alfresco and WordPress. Built infrastructure before it was cool. ❤️ Emacs.

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