A Powerful Combination of Content Management and Designing solution by the integration of Alfresco & Adobe (Auto-Extraction of Metadata & Customized Search through an integration of Alfresco & Adobe resulting into Search efficiency)

Information is vital in any organization and digitization has led this information to become scattered in many forms of data. Metadata i.e. “data about data” helps in managing the scattered data enabling the discovery of content and documents throughout the document lifecycle. Elimination of redundancy, increased accuracy and having the right resources for making decisions  all lead to enhanced productivity of business users and developers along with increased business benefits.

Adobe, a pioneer by its innovative solutions, is widely used and when paired with Alfresco, leading Open Source ECM solution can rapidly develop and deploy rich content applications that blend data capture, information assurance, document output, workflow process management and content services. Together they deliver people centric content management and collaboration tools enabling users to mash up and present internal & external content, and bring social computing capabilities into the workplace to ensure enterprise level security and control.

Requirement for Integration Solution Overview

A representative integration diagram (shown below) provides an overview of the solution.

It shows that a team of designers can use content from their local machines and then as someone tries to open the document, they will have issues with not being able to find the original content link. Also, using local content that is not integrated in Alfresco means that other people cannot re-use these assets in other documents or locations.

Another problem that many publishers face before going to market is that the XML content that has been used to create an InDesign Document may be edited directly within the document, and these edits are not automatically synced back to the original document by default.

For the above mentioned problems there is a need for a solution to check the location of any links within the document and then upload content to a central repository (Alfresco ECM) and re-link(version control) if it is detected that they are local content. Also, Extend Script will enable it to be exported and the XML will create either new versions or new sources of the original XML. These new sources can then be linked by calling webscripts in Alfresco and informing them of the relationship between the new and old version of documents.

Unfortunately, Alfresco does not have a readymade solution, but luckily it is possible to couple both Alfresco & InDesign to create a more unified publishing workflow through integration and we have developed an integration utility.

The integration utility is developed using Alfresco Enterprise 4.0, Adobe InDesign CS5.5, Adobe Bridge CS5.1 and Adobe Drive 3 CS5. It automatically extracts metadata from content by extending Alfresco metadata extraction framework reading the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) information from within the files and maps it to the desired location of the Content Model.

Adobe Bridge acts as a medium between Alfresco & Adobe InDesign. Adobe Drive 3 allows a connection to a CMIS repository and the ability to mount it as a drive on your machine. This functionality enables you to browse Alfresco as if it were a folder structure on your machine. It also has a powerful search interface which can search content and has a display preview via Adobe Drive and Adobe Bridge. You can perform your own customizable CMIS calls to search for assets and then use the rendition service to display the same within the document library of Alfresco Share Interface.

Coupled together Alfresco and Adobe InDesign are a powerful combination that provide a robust integrated content management solution. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.