Screencast: Alfresco One AOS (Alfresco Office Services)

Alfresco Office Services is the new implementation made for Alfresco One (former Enterprise) which allows an user to “Edit Online” a document with MS Office straight from Alfresco Share, provides a fully-compatible SharePoint repository. This new implementation replaces the existing VTI (Microsoft Office SharePoint Protocol Support) already in Alfresco Community.

With Alfresco Office Services (AOS) you can access Alfresco directly from your Microsoft Office applications.  This means that you can browse, open, and save Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) in Alfresco without the need to access Alfresco through Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser. (See oficial documentation here). With AOS you also can connect Alfresco as a network drive or shared folder.
The main differences between this new AOS and the existing VTI are:
  • Removed Jetty embedded server therefore not need to use port 7070.
  • Select document type when saving document form MS Office to Alfresco and fill the type properties within MS Office.
  • AOS is part of the core, not need to install an additional AMP.
  • A new ROOT.war and _vti_bin.war have to be deployed (included in Alfresco One), if you are upgrading from previous versions please check this information.
Here is a quick demo about how it works and how to use it:

MS Office for iPad and Alfresco: simple + smart integration

As you may already know, the Office app for iPad was released last friday. Since then I have been playing around with it, at the end of the day it is free for opening documents as read only. If you want to edit and save documents you need an Office 365 subscription. I purchased their Home subscription, $9.99/month after the free 30 days trial.

Once I opened the Office Word app  I noticed it has an option to add a SharePoint location and YES! I thought about Alfresco. What happen if I try to open a document stored in Alfresco through the SharePoint Protocol?  Well… the answer is simple (and smart), it works!!

Let me explain how it works through some screenshots. Here the screenshot asking for the SharePoint Site URL:


Now you have to add the full Alfresco URL of the document you want to open:


I did try with Alfresco Cloud because it has a valid SSL certificate. In this case you should use an URL like this:<cloud-network-domain>/<site-name>/<file-name>

Now it asks for your Alfresco credentials:


For Alfresco Cloud you have to use your user@domain and a valid password. For Alfresco on-premise your user and password.

Now it downloads the file stored in Alfresco to the iPad, in this case a file called Report.docx:


Once opened we can see their “show-me-the-money” Read-Only warning 😉 and the document opened:


If you tap on “Activate” you can choose between to activate or buy an Office 365 subscription:


After logging with a valid Office 365 credentials you can edit  documents:


And of course, while a file is opened it is locked in Alfresco:

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 9.42.30 PM

Ok, we know how to open and write documents stored in Alfresco, what about to create a document and save it to Alfresco? Easy, tap on new and choose a black document or a template:


After writing the new document, tap to the arrow icon in the top left hand side and the “Save As” option appears with the last location from where the last document was opened:


Chose a document file name and done! It saves the new document in Alfresco.

The app gives you quickly access option to open recent documents, just tap on “Recent” in the left hand side menu:


Versions are  supported in Alfresco and any change in those documents through the Office for iPad app are automatically versioned in the repository.

Another useful option is the ability to send a document link through email, the document itself can be sent as attachment as well:


Does it work with the Alfresco Mobile app? You can open a document in Office from the Alfresco Mobile app and save the document in your recent places including Alfresco, but unfortunately the “Save back” option is not in the Office app:


Does it work with Alfresco on-premise? I haven’t try yet, it should work with Alfresco on-premise but you will need a valid SSL certificate and having Alfresco SPP configured with SSL or you will get the error below. I used an URL like https://localhost:7070/alfresco/<site-name>/documentLibrary/<file-name> note the difference between the cloud and on-premise URL, in both cases the file extension must be added as file name.


I will keep you posted as soon as I can try with a valid SSL certificate.

Finally, you have seen how easy is to take advantage of the Alfresco and SharePoint compatibility 😉

How to compare two documents or versions in Alfresco

I use to be asked about the ability of  Alfresco to compare documents or versions of a document. I used to say “not by default” but, this is not totally true, the right answer is “it depends”. In Alfresco, thanks “Edit Online” option and to the Share Point Protocol implementation in the server and with MS Office 2010 (or any other version with SPP support), you can compare versions of MS Office documents stored in Alfresco. Here you can see what I’m saying:

Apart from this solution, that is very straightforward but also very Windoze based solution, you can try to implement some of these other options (I haven’t tried them, by the way):