Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trying out Alfresco Document Management

I was interested in how other companies do Document Management so I decided to install Alfresco Labs 3 on my own machine and try it out.

Being that I run Windows XP with OpenOffice.org already installed, I ran into some problems right off the bat. The first thing that happend was that I thought I didn't have to install the JDK. That was a silly mistake on my part, so I just reran the installer again. The next problem I ran into was when I ran the startup of the Alfresco Server. I kept reading the log lines as it started up and noticed that it said something to the effect of "Cannot run C:\Alfresco\OpenOffice.org\programs\soffice". I thought "Wow, that's funny, that's not where I have my OpenOffice installed." So going through the startup program alfresco.bat, I noticed that it called another program SetPaths.bat. I looked in there and noticed that it set an environmental variable called OPENOFFICE_HOME. But the path was my CORRECT install directory. Great I was at a dead end. I ran through a search for the path it was trying to run but Windows XP and Windows Search 4.0 wasn't indexing all the right files fully so it wasn't returning anything. Then i saw that the Tomcat startup was looking at a .properties file. So I adjusted the Windows Search to fully index those files and got a hit. C:\Alfresco\tomcat\shared\classes\alfresco\extension\custom-repository.properties. These files are similar to ini files and had the assignment "ooo.exe=C:\Alfresco\OpenOffice.org\programs\soffice." I just changed that to the correct path and voila! it started up perfectly.

So far I haven't done much with Alfresco so I can't give a really good review. It does seem to be the best open source document management system out there at this time.

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