This blog discusses how to use Alfresco Smart Folders to present content with intelligence based on metadata. In particular it looks at using Smart folders to allow a user to navigate to content associated with a business process in context of the business flow.
A Smart Folder is a virtual folder which does not physically exist but is presented from an Alfresco Repository and whose content is dynamically populated using metadata searches. This means you can categorise documents and then present them in different taxonomies to the correct people in context of their stage in the business process.
The smart folders use a json template to define the queries for content and structure that should be presented to a user based on metadata.
Smart folders were used to allow users to browse contracts based on their metadata, such as the contracts they own or when they are due for review. This provides users a much better experience both from a usability and functionality perspective.
Contract lifecycle management includes many workflows to manage a contract through its many phases. By using activiti to manage these flows it is possible to collect metadata for the documents that are part of the workflow and then upload the documents and metadata to Alfresco using a Publish to Alfresco Task.
The smart Folders created allowed users to view documents based on the collected metadata and irrespective of their location in the repository. For example in our case, each user would only see their assigned contracts and also interrogate related contract documents by type, status or by customer.
The diagram below shows an example of this:
Presenting Content in Context
In conclusion, using the Alfresco Digital Platform allows us to use activiti to extract information from a piece of content and then store the content with its metadata in Alfresco. This is a powerful addition to standard Business Process Management as it allows for users to view the information they need as it is presented intelligently to them based on the context of their business flow.