I have been receiving a steady stream of questions around Web Studio and enquiries around our strategy for future releases with regards to similar functionality, so thought it would be helpful to discuss the product focus.
Firstly to clarify, Web Studio is no longer part of the Community Alfresco product so is no longer available for download. Web Studio was not part of an Enterprise release and was therefore not supported as part of the core product by Alfresco. The Surf framework that Web Studio utilised has been committed to Spring Source. The Surf framework is the underlying framework for Alfresco Share and Alfresco will continue to invest in Surf and surrounding developer tools.
With 3.3 Alfresco started to heavily invest in WCM utilising the core Alfresco repository (non AVM). As part of this strategy we introduced the Web Editor (in-context editing) and Web Editor Framework (WEF). The Web Editor Framework provides a standard plug-in framework that people can develop any type of functionality on. The framework can be loosely considered to be a ribbon toolbar that can be customised e.g. adding custom tabs, buttons and any other UI required. Most importantly it is a common framework that Alfresco, the Alfresco community, partners, customers, the Spring community and anyone else can develop on. A lot of effort has gone into the way that toolbars, buttons and components in general can be packaged into a single file, allowing for new plug-in’s to easily be “dropped in” to a WEF environment.
The Web Editor was Alfresco’s first core product (documented, supported) feature that was built utilising the Web Editor Framework i.e. the Web Editor has a dependency upon the WEF. The Web Editor addresses a single specific use case which is to edit content (semantic page content) in the context of the web site. In context editing. This functionality is something we are now looking to build on in future releases, expanding this functionality above and beyond simple editing. The Web Editor focus however of the next release (internally named “Swift”) is still on the content editorial process for the Web Editor.
There is also a great deal of interest in what I will term “presentation management”, and this is where Web Studio really sparked peoples thoughts around Alfresco WCM. By this I mean providing the ability for a site administrator to manage sites, site structures, templates, components, navigation etc. In order to provide these features in a consistent, supportable manner, an underlying model is required within the repository which can then be utilised by a delivery framework. As the WCM functionality moves forward, we will start to implement such a model, and utilise Spring Surf and the WEF to deliver the presentation management functionality. The Swift release remains focused on web content production, so no presentation management capabilities are in scope for this release, however the building blocks around the model and Spring Surf will start emerge.
Speaking to Alfresco partners, customers and community member recently, I know people are already starting to implement the Web Editor Framework and build out their required functionality. We have current customers who have built presentation management capabilities with full custom clients, and the Web Editor Framework provides a powerful alternative to this route.