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Just in time for the Alfresco Summit in Barcelona, we are proud to announce that the Maven Alfresco SDK 1.1.0 is out!

In this release (tested with Alfresco 4.2.e Community and supported with Alfresco 4.2.0 Enterprise) we have focused to make the development experience even faster, on top of keeping all process oriented and automation SDK features.

Key features that you might be interested in (and hopefully very excited about) are:

  • JRebel integration to allow zero redeployments when developing Alfresco Java components
  • Support for running JUnit test on a running Alfresco instance, in fractions of a second, not minutes. This leverages junit-remote and requires JRebel to hot reload classes
  • A new profile ‘-Prad’ to enable the 2 aforementioned features
  • Jetty replaced with Tomcat7 embedded, for improved supportability
  • Multiple fixes and improvements in the Eclipse integration
  • Works with Alfresco 4.2.e Community and Alfresco 4.2.0 Enterprise

This release represents a major improvement towards a full supportability of the SDK when working with Alfresco Enterprise, as well as providing a way to develop customizations in minutes, not hours.

Hope you enjoy it, feedback and contributions more than welcome, here or in the Google Code project!

EDIT: Slides are available on the Summit website. Apologies to everyone who asked before for not having uploaded them before the presentation!

Maven is very good with J2EE WARs. Resources, packaging, overlays.

I admit that if it wasn’t for the great features and clean development model imposed by the maven-war-plugin, I would not even probably looked at Maven in the first place when I developed the first version of the Maven Alfresco SDK.

Lately though, especially working with large WARs overlays like Alfresco (120MB) and Share (40MB), I have seen all my efforts for standardized development falling badly short on the rapid development side. Suddenly (on my Mac, or I assume on any Unix/Linux environment) my WAR overlays started to take minutes to complete, with a big so long to the quick dev-fix-test cycle. As a Java performance expert, I decided to debug it and understand where it was actually wasting time.

Turns out that for each and every unpacked resource from WAR overlays the Maven unarchiver would fork a chmod process, to modify some file permissions!!! (Windows users, you can stop reading here :)

Leaving out that I’m not sure of the original reason for this, I later found out (also thanks to Samuel, kudos!) that this was due to a misconfiguration of the plexus-archiver package, which instead of using native JVM chmod capabilities was forking the process. All details unfolded in a related maven-dependency-plugin issue, MDEP-368.

Basically turns out this properly fixed in plexus-archiver-2.3 (the Maven shared component used by plugins to manage ZIP & co. archives), where no process is forked and the overall WAR packaging / overlay time is reduced drastically. And now the fix, and later the wow effect (I hope) :) ))

Luckily enough the fix is pretty simple and only requires to have your plugins (unless they do it already) depend explicitly on plexus-archiver version 2.3. In other words just add the following snippet (the example is for the maven-war-plugin, but you can use the trick for the maven-dependency-plugin and any other plugin you see poorly performing on resource unpacking) to your pom.xml:

 <plugin>
     <artifactId>maven-war-plugin</artifactId>
     <dependencies>
         <dependency>
             <groupId>org.codehaus.plexus</groupId>
             <artifactId>plexus-archiver</artifactId>
             <version>2.3</version>
         </dependency>
     </dependencies>
 </plugin>

EDIT: This is fixed in the maven-war-plugin version 2.4 (and you don’t need the explicit plexus-archiver dependency anymore), see related issue MWAR-280).

Just to give you an idea how the performance improvements with this little fix, I will use as an example the Maven Alfresco All-In-One Archetype, which allows to develop and run an Alfresco Repository, Share, Solr and an AMP in the same Maven multi-module project. The SDK currently does NOT use plexus-archiver 2.3 (there is an issue for it), so it’s extremely (and unnecessary) slow in the Alfresco and Share overlays.

After I created the project from the archetype as per docs, here’s the output of a simple

mindthemac:alfresco-parent mindthegab$ mvn clean install -DskipTests
...
[INFO] Reactor Summary:
[INFO]
[INFO] Quickstart of Alfresco and Share with DB and runner embedded  SUCCESS [0.978s]
[INFO] Alfresco AMP Module ............................... SUCCESS [11.271s]
[INFO] Alfresco Repository and Explorer Client ........... SUCCESS [4:10.599s]
[INFO] Alfresco Apache Solr customization ................ SUCCESS [6.504s]
[INFO] Alfresco Share Client ............................. SUCCESS [4:08.038s]
[INFO] Alfresco and Share Runner ......................... SUCCESS [0.045s]
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 8:41.062s
[INFO] Finished at: Thu Jun 20 14:54:35 CEST 2013
[INFO] Final Memory: 38M/782M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

What? 8m41s total build time? 4 minutes for each WAR? On my very decent Mac 8GB RAM+SSD?

Such a slow cycle is just going to kill the Maven Alfresco Community, to be a little dramatic :)

And now, get ready for the wow…after applying the little plexus-archiver fix above (in the parent POM <plugins> or <pluginManagement> sections) this is the amazingly improved performance of the vary same build:

mindthemac:alfresco-parent mindthegab$ mvn clean install -DskipTests
...
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Reactor Summary:
[INFO]
[INFO] Quickstart of Alfresco and Share with DB and runner embedded  SUCCESS [0.848s]
[INFO] Alfresco AMP Module ............................... SUCCESS [5.630s]
[INFO] Alfresco Repository and Explorer Client ........... SUCCESS [35.372s]
[INFO] Alfresco Apache Solr customization ................ SUCCESS [5.054s]
[INFO] Alfresco Share Client ............................. SUCCESS [23.945s]
[INFO] Alfresco and Share Runner ......................... SUCCESS [0.019s]
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 1:13.143s
[INFO] Finished at: Thu Jun 20 15:56:43 CEST 2013
[INFO] Final Memory: 44M/496M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

WOW!!!  Only 1m13 total build time…a neat 85.96% build speed up :)

I think it’s really worth making sure this trick is known as it’s going to be a life saver to the Maven Alfresco SDK and I’m also using it to speed up our internal Alfresco Maven builds.

Hope you find this useful, to the next tip of this newly born Maven post series!

It’s been a long journey, but we made it ;)

It started almost 5 years ago, and through the years, little by little, we made giant steps towards an open development platform.

If you have followed this blog earlier, you probably have shared some of the pain for an unnecessary difficult integration process of Alfresco artifacts, therefore today we should all re-joy as development on Alfresco got just so much better ;)

Thanks to the great work of the whole Maven Alfresco Community and the strong momentum and Support from Alfresco Engineering and Release Management, it’s with extreme pleasure and pride that I announce you that a fully fledged Maven Alfresco SDK™ 1,0 is now available for your enjoyment and to drastically improve your development productivity on Alfresco projects.

While I recommend to you have a look at the full docs and to the release notes to understand the full extent of features of this brand new piece of software, let me just give you here an overview of the  most exciting features:

  • Zero configuration approach: create an AMP or All-in-One archetype and with one command you are ready to run and customize Alfresco. In the very same place :)
  • Zero download approach: the SDK will take care of downloading the appropriate Alfresco artifacts from the Alfresco Artifacts Repository. Also no DB or application server is required, as the SDK will runAlfresco emdedded on Jetty + H2.
    Note:
    this configuration is not part of the supported stacks, so should be used only for development purposes
  • Zero BS development approach: with new SDK the focus is your creativity, no more boring configuration or hacks to make a particular work.  Just get the setup right with an archetype and start to kicking it on Alfresco :)
  • Zero defect is the main objective of the SDK: with support for AMP unit and integration testing, as well as integration with the strong enterprise development process feature of Maven (e.g. CI, release mgmt, etc.), you can get you Alfresco development to another level. This was made thanks to the availability of POM files for Alfresco Artifacts (as of Alfresco 4.2.b).

NOTE: For those of you wondering about naming and version: yes, the Maven Alfresco SDK 1.0 superseded the old version of the Maven Alfresco Archetypes / Lifecycle 3.9.1.  As of Alfresco Community 4.2.b the Maven Alresco SDK 1.o is the recommended solution.

But without further ado, I can’t wait to join the other Alfresco Rockstarts at the DevCon hackaton, I’m sure we can boost some productivity down then with this SDK. Once again, check out the project website for full docs.

I want to thank you everyone involved in making this happen (especially Mao and Samuel) as we believe it will be a major improvement for the developers, architects and administrators of Alfresco project, finally providing a solid foundation to doGreatWork() and this great product.

Enjoy and let us know your feedback!

Sounds like it’s happening. More, much more that I could expect. Much better than before.

At Alfresco in fact we are finally about to close on two fundamental areas like ECM Scalability and on the availability of a fully fledged Maven based SDK.

As you might know (if you are reading this blog you probably will), these on the two areas I’ve always been passionate and involved for in the last few years. Just to let you understand how passionate (or romantic, almost Italian) about these topics, enough for you to know that:

    • I ranted about Maven for a few years now and, in this last year, I experienced a momentum never seen before both from a corporate and from a community standpoint. Literally, about to cry here :)
    • I worked for many years as Alfresco Partner and Solution Engineer, without having a quantitative sizing and performance reference for my implementations. In the last year I participated to the Alfresco Benchmarks project, which has shown very interesting results and improved the scalability of our system exponentially. I am so excited about these improvements, both at process and product level, that I can’t wait to share those with you :)

So it’s just a great pleasure and excitement for me to confirm we have a couple of so much awaited HUGE surprises on those areas ;)

But without further ado then, it’s my pride to officially announce that …


…no wait, I have a better idea.

If you are really interested and you want to know what’s going on around Performance and SDK, it’s quite simple: you should just come by for one of the two great DevCons (Berlin and San Jose) that are approaching in November :)

I will give two speeches at both EMEA and Americas DevCon, surprisingly enough about:

And if you are not convinced, hear is a little teaser ;)

Native American Artifacts

Native American Artifacts

It’s my honor – and a a huge personal satisfaction after a few years working on this – to announce the full availability and support of the Alfresco Artifacts Repository, a fully fledged Maven repository hosting the major Alfresco releases and of its flourishing projects ecosystem, both for the Alfresco Community and Enterprise Networks.

For those of you already following this blog this might be no big news, as somehow the information was already around in the Alfresco-sphere and an Alfresco Maven repository has been already unofficially (AKA maintained by me) around for a while. But the great news is that now the repository is officially maintained and artifacts are kept up to date :)

Based on the Nexus OSS mature Artifact Repository technology, and following a few weeks Partner only beta, the repository is now publicly available at:

http://artifacts.alfresco.com (formerly http://maven.alfresco.com)
The Alfresco Artifact Repository

The Alfresco Artifact Repository

What can you find in there (AKA the screenshot is not enough)? Very well, at the moment the Artifact Repository hosts:

  1. Alfresco Community full releases (JARs/WARs) identified with the groupId org.alfresco
  2. NEW: Alfresco Enterprise full releases identified with the groupId org.alfresco.enterprise
  3. NEW: Alfresco Hotfix full releases identified with the groupId org.alfresco.enterprise
  4. Activiti (BPMN 2.0 implementation) Releases and Snapshots
  5. All the versions of the open source Maven Alfresco Lifecycle, a long term but quickly growing Maven SDK approach to Alfresco development
  6. All Spring repository proxies, to ease Spring Surf development by only referring to this repository developing Surf

NOTE: At the moment no POM files / dependency declarations are available, but if you are interested please feel free to vote on this issue :)

Still not sure about the potential? Well, let me just give you an idea:

Read the rest of this entry »

Just in case you were wondering, this is the time things are actually happening.

If you are working or willing to work on Alfresco ECM platform with Maven, you better stay tuned and keep your patience for a few weeks more.

Why?

Well for a few interesting reasons:

*  The Maven Alfresco Community is growing and every day there is more activity in the lists and on the code contributions side. If you need information around Maven and Alfresco, the Maven Alfresco discussion group is the place to be.

* Alfresco is integrating Maven artifacts deployment in its build process (see issue): we are literally days away from having 3.4 and 4.0 Community and Enterprise versions available on the Alfresco Artifacts Repository. BTW, bear with us in these days as some changes might be undergoing in the repositories. This is great news for all of you who are hosting corporate repositories (especially for Alfresco Enterprise) as this way you will just have to point to maven.alfresco.com to retrieve Alfresco artifacts

* We are working actively (kudos to Mau) on a clean, neat, supportable version of the Maven Alfresco Lifecycle project: if you check out the experimental branch you’ll find a nicely merged, lean, fully functional set of parent POMs and archetypes to allow you, for example, to run a full Alfresco Repository, Share, AMP, etc. as a single project embedded in Jetty and H2. Nice, ain’t it? Stay tuned there because we are aligning that to the automated deployment at point #2, so we’re just really weeks away from a nice, fully featured, extensible but above all standard open Maven Alfresco SDK.

As we do lots of progress on this area, your feedback is more than welcome and, once again, bear with us while we actively work to make your Maven Alfresco developer life easier.

Hey guys,

I’m proud to announce that thanks to a vigorous Community help (special mentions and kudos to Mao and Stijnr for the great help in the last period), we have been able to pull out the 3.9.1 release of the Maven Alfresco LIfecycle.

Multiple bug-fixes, a zero defect targeted release and a couple of juicy new features like:

make of this one probably the most stable and tested release of the Maven Alfresco Lifecycle. The release is tested against Alfresco 4.0b Community, and it’s the perfect foundation to the great work we are going to do in the next weeks to clean it up completely and support Alfresco Enterprise.

The releases is available in the Maven Alfresco Repository (in case you are wondering, I still need to update the archetype-catalog.xml, but that will happen just after Easter, as I have no permissions right now :( ). Full release notes are also published on the Google Code project and per component documentation is available in the brand new published Maven Site (using the HUGELY COOL Maven Fluido Skin).

Feedback is always welcome in the Maven Alfresco List and we also have a Skype chat so feel free to contact me on Skype if you want to contribute / participate in any way :)

Have fun and let us know what you think!

A bit late, but for those of you following this blog who did not join either the San Diego or the London Alfresco DevCon, here are my 3 presos I gave in both conferences available in Share:

Turnout was great and the event was wonderfully mastered by our beloved Chief Community Officer: regarding my presos, I found a very good general interested public on my Maven + Alfresco Application Lifecycle preso, as the Slideshare searchbox top suggestions seem to confirm :)

Alfresco DevCon and Maven top search in Slideshare :) A couple of other presentations were using Maven and I even heard our mighty VP of Engineering mentioning the magic 7-six lettered word a couple of times in the Engineering QA panel.

New challenges in scalability and complex application management are to be expected with the so long awaited Alfresco 4.x version (BTW, don’t forget to join the 4.o EE launch parties :)

So I think we can expect more VERY juicy news VERY soon in scalability and Maven…once again, stay posted :)

As promised, just a brief heads up on the quite few changes ongoing in the Maven Alfresco Lifecycle project which is now supported by the Alfresco Community Maven repository.  Also I managed to pull out a new version of the Cmis Maven toolkit against the new repository.

Proceeding with order, first of all, I released today a new version (1.1.0) of the maven-alfresco-lifecycle package with the main interesting news (full changes report):

The long Maven Alfresco marathon was then completed by the release of version 1.0-beta-2 of the CMIS 1.0cd04 Maven Toolkit, pointing to the new Maven repository. No actual functionality was modified and it keeps on working happily (by default against http://cmis.alfresco.com) using the latest snapshots from the Chemistry AtomPub TCK trunk. I updated the documentation on the Alfresco wiki as well.

I hope this really helps as it’s just *not that* funny to go over those growing many documentation files to change repos again, so any edit or error you guys can spot in the docs === a beer on me when you seem me :)

Though I first have to apologize to the end users of this build, promising this is the last time this project moves hosting.
Now everything is consolidated, content as artifacts, as in the pure ECM spirit. And with a promising Share archetype to work and customize it productively.

Eager to hear your feedback (curious about the Share archetype), and especially at my Tech Talk on Maven and Alfresco

…don’t be shy :)

Few Build Successful’s were more satifsactory then the one which you can see in the window below ;)

Maven Alfresco Lifecycle build successful

Finally all the modules that I’ve been working together with the community, including AMP & Alfresco Extension Maven archetypes and the AMP plugin, under one single build, control and with a proper release process, called (almost obviously) Maven Alfresco Lifecycle featuring:

It was time to wrap up all this work (merging m2Alfresco, maven4Alfresco and other Maven Alfresco related activities) in a more usable and sustainable platform for growing it.

As usual, many thanks go to Mao that provided 1st class infrastructure support (and much more :) on the new Nexus Sourcesense repository.

And this being a double advantage, not only for the community but for the growing number of enterprise customers interested in working with Maven on Alfresco.
I would like now to grow it with features already present in some development branches and exciting new improvements like:

  • Alfresco Share archetype support (already in 3.x branches)
  • SURF / Spring tool suite integration (as Uzi shown us so to be so cool with the new spring-surf)
  • Update and improve the quality of the sample contexts to match the latest and greatest capabilities

As said, I see the interest of the community at large around the project is growing so in case you’re interested I suggest you to participate by joining the lists or opening issues.

So just give it a try…it’s two Maven commands away ;)

Would love to hear your thoughts on how to improve the platform and grow it to the next (enterprise) level. Don’t forget to check out the 3.1.0-stripped branch, where a Maven Calm based version is hosted and there’s already a working Alfresco Share sample project.

Have fun!