Building a Content-as-a-Service Platform using Alfresco and Crafter

Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) is a service-oriented mode, where service provider provides content on demand to the content consumer as a service which is licensed under subscription. Many research institutions adopt this mode to provide services on line, such as Gartner, Forrester and Infotech, etc.

The core digital assets are stored in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. ECM manages the authoring, versioning, approval workflow, archiving and content retention policies, etc. Web Content Management (WCM) / Content Management System (CMS) is in charge of presenting these content on line.

In previous career life, I experienced multiple combinations between ECM and WCM in different organizations. A local crown corporation spent millions of dollars to purchase and implement FileNet (ECM) + Day CQ (WCM, Acquired by Adobe and renamed to AEM). Oracle integrated a WCM into legacy Stellent (ECM, renamed to UCM) and renamed the combination as WebCenter Content. Clients usually have to pay for big bucks in order to make these systems work. Since these ECM systems are built from 1980’s, the final result might not be ideal.

Today, if someone is looking for building a CaaS, I would recommend the combination of Alfresco and Crafter. Alfresco is one of the best ECM on the market, offering best class document management services through a nicely designed web-based user interface Alfresco Share. Crafter, as a CMS, is like WordPress or Drupal. What makes Crafter different is that Crafter offers a deep and easy integration with Alfresco. And best of all, both Alfresco and Crafter offer free open source community editions.

The integration is simple and straightforward:

  1. Get into crafter_install_dir/apache-tomcat/shared/classes/crafter/cstudio/extension/server-config.properties;
  2. Update the server-config.properties file in order to use Alfresco as the repository:

Alfresco offers content library services underneath. Crafter presents contents which are stored in Alfresco. Crafter Studio is used for content authoring and preview. Once the content is published, content consumers are able to view the content on line through Crafter Engine.

Lionsgate Software consultant has 10+ years ECM, WCM and EAI working experience. Should you have any questions, please contact us.