Friday 11am in Edinburgh: Five members of the it-novum EIM team are waiting for their flight back to Germany. It has been intense three days of learning, exchanging ideas and knowledge and meeting other Alfresco enthusiasts. It was the Alfresco Developer Conference 2019!
The Alfresco Devcon is an annual event hosted by Alfresco and is mainly targeted for developers and technicians using Alfresco products. This year, it featured:
- 60+ sessions focusing on Alfresco development
- Preparation classes for ACSCE and APSCE certifications
- Panels and special keynotes from Alfresco leaders
And of course, a hackathon…
One day before the official event, we gathered with other Alfresco developers to participate in the hackathon. Developers were supposed to build and create a new piece of software and present it to the community. The project had to be related to Alfresco, needed to be built in one day and the main focus was on trying something new and having fun.
We decided to look into “Electron”. Electron is a framework for developing cross-platform desktop applications. This means that there is one codebase that outputs a native application for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. This is extremely useful because you have native features like system notifications and there is no need to worry about separately maintaining your application for every OS.
We decided to wrap the Alfresco Content App, a web application, to a desktop application to investigate its potential when it comes to usability and additional features. So we added a progress bar for uploads and notifications for uploads to the Alfresco repository. We even took advantage of the Touch Bar, which is available in the newer Apple MacBook models! By pressing the small Alfresco icon you can take a webcam picture and automatically upload it to the users space of the Alfresco repository. Visit our project on GitHub to see the details.
On Wednesday morning, the Alfresco Devcon 2019 officially started with a keynote from Alfresco founder and CTO John Newton with exciting news regarding Alfresco Share: there will be extended support! John gave insights in the roadmap for Alfresco Application Development Framework (ADF) and how it can be used to provide an even more enhanced user experience in the near future.
ADF is a Library of UI components based on the newest frontend technologies such as Angular, TypeScript or Material Design making it possible for developers to easily create a custom user interface for Alfresco products. We have been very successful using ADF in various projects for our customers.
After John’s keynote it was time for the sessions! For the next two days, we visited many exciting presentations and engaged in various talks with Alfresco engineers and the Order Of The Bee community. ADF was a big topic this year. The project’s tech lead Eugenio Romano showed all of the new features coming with the new version 3.0.0. It was especially nice to see the Alfresco JS API being rewritten with TypeScript which will increase performance and stability. Other developers and companies showed their results with ADF and it was very interesting to see all the different approaches and experiences.
Custom stencils and ReactJS
I was very happy to contribute to the Devcon with two talks about Custom Stencils and ReactJS:
My first session was about the possibilities of migrating Custom Stencils from APS to ADF and all the options you have to customize forms. Custom Stencils are a useful tool for building your own form for a BPMN user task. My colleague Lukas Ladenberger gave a talk about this topic at last year’s Devcon and also just released a blogpost in the Alfresco Community Portal.
In my second talk I showed how to use another UI framework/library with the Alfresco JS API and ADF, in my case ReactJS. It was something I have experimented with and it was nice to see the flexibility and the extensibility provided by these two products.
After three days of tons of input we would like to thank Alfresco and the Order of the Bee for hosting and organizing this event. It has been an exciting Devcon and a huge learning experience. We can’t wait for the next one!
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