In the first blog post of the Alfred Desktop series, "5 ways to boost the desktop experience of your Alfresco end-users", we shared few key things that can help you achieve your organizational goals with Alfresco.
Today, after a full dedicated workshop held @Stadtwerke Munchen, the biggest German municipal utility, six months development, hundred lines of coding and intensive quality testing, we are ready to announce Alfred Desktop 3.6.
Before walking through the main functionalities, let us telling you a little bit more about the Alfred Desktop product evolution.
While it acts like Alfresco, Alfred Desktop looks like MS Explorer to end-users. Known as Fred, it is a desktop application that, on top of the standard Alfresco functionalities, allows you to edit and download metadata, upload folders, zip content, compare versions and extend support to project specific use cases.
Alfred Desktop has been created with the purpose to empower and boost the desktop experience of Alfresco end-users. In the previous versions we focused more on increase the adoption rate and productivity of your organization by choosing a simple and user-friendly user interface.
When you open Alfred Desktop, you can recognize a MS Explorer environment, a familiar layout to the end-user, with the navigation pane, the details pane, the metadata pane and the preview pane.
Customers driven, the product development started eight years ago, as a response to the need from the Alfresco end-users to have Alfresco Content Services (ACS) functionalities in the shared drive mounted in MS Explorer.
Fast navigation, instant document preview, bulk editing of metadata, drag & drop capabilities, personal navigation structure, multiple view sets, workflows, all features have been developed to guarantee the day to day activities on documents and speed up the productivity.
With the new version, we are taking a leap step forward controlling the folder you take off-line for editing while locking the content for others. Let’s jump right into the new powerful functionalities.
1. User input pop up screen
In a nutshell, while executing a command, the user is requested to provide input through a pop-up screen. The input is then submitted as input parameter to any kind of custom web script.
This functionality covers the need to get input from the user to be able to execute a script. It is used in project specific commands that are typically used in location sensitive menu.
The example below is based upon the creation of a project folder structure with a specific naming scheme. The script creates a folder structure using a folder template and the user is requested to provide specific folder names to complete the structure.
2. lock and export
A team @SWM exchanges technical drawings with external parties to be updated according to comments that have been provided by the team that executed some work on the installation.
Taking content off line and preventing access by other users, while the content is being edited, is the main purpose of this feature. The Lock and Export functionality has been implemented as a context sensitive command which appears on a special type of folder, like project folders or case folders. The content is downloaded to a Zip container which can be send off to internal or external teams.
3. import and release
Once you have locked a folder and downloaded it to your desktop, then you can edit off-line the content. In the use case shown in the video below, you can:
- Edit a document
- Delete a document
- Add a new document
After receiving the container with the edited content, the user can upload it to the server and release the content for other users to edit it.
Alfred Desktop is able to compare the content and all updates with the content on the server and shows which content has been edited, removed or added. The user can select which one of the changes to apply to the server.
How many times you have deleted a document by mistake? How many times unauthorized users have deleted a document? With the invalidate functionalities you’ll never be worried about that.
By invalidating a document, a ‘shadow’ folder structure will be created instead of deleting the content.
Only in the invalidate folder structure, an authorized person can delete permanently a document or restore it by moving the content back to the original folder structure.