We intend to make this article an objective comparison between the two tools of ECM and DMS (Enterprise Content Management, Document Management System) which have been proven strongest in the market of open source software over other important solutions such as KnowledgeTree or OpenKM. The tools to be compared are Nuxeo 5 and Alfresco.
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To make the comparison, we will focus on 6 different perspectives: usability, functionality, technology, price, community and partners.
Jackob Nielsen has defined usability as the quality attribute that measures how easy it is to use Web interfaces.
In our experience, we used Alfresco since mid-2006 for a project in one of our clients, the Local Government of Malaga. In addition, more recently, we used the Community version that allows Alfresco to use from your web site in demo mode (connecting to their servers with accounts).
The personal view has been that Alfresco has a difficulty, and even say that unattractive.
The facts and our experience support this statement: some customers of Alfresco Enterprise (I2BC, Málaga) and of the now called Alfresco Community Labs (Sutega, La Coruña) confirm that Alfresco is not attractive to workers of their companies, who say the software is difficult to handle.
Moreover, from I2BC we have known of the existence of projects like Opsoro, who make web based interfaces (frontends) friendlier for Alfresco.
Improving interfaces of Alfresco is in itself an Open Source business model.
In this sense, Nuxeo provides Nuxeo WebEngine as a creator of websites for free and completely Open Source. With this tool, you can create totally user-oriented portals without sacrificing all the benefits of records management.
On the other side, the Nuxeo user interface, similar to the one they had in the CPS project, (which is an Open Source ECM that began in 2000 on Python and Zope technologies and twas collaborative and had "web 2.0" functionality long before there was this term around) is clear, sharp. It's nice to work on it.
In the picture we see the Nuxeo ECM personalized with the corporate identity of Yerbabuena Software.
Besides Nuxeo WebEngine and its own web interface, Nuxeo provides a desktop application to manage content stored very fast, it is Nuxeo RCP.
The score on Usability is, therefore, to Nuxeo:
Nuxeo 1- 0 Alfresco
Drag & Drop
Using Drag & Drop, the ability to drag content (files and folders) to the browser to create content (upload documents to the repository) is used for both document management systems. However, and again with the experience of a client of Alfresco Community, told us that this functionality is completely unstable, having tested a large number of different settings (Firefox 3, IExplorer 7 etc.).
The drag & drop of Nuxeo is 100% stable. I use it daily, and several of our clients as well. Goes like silk, only time I saw it fail it was on an old version in Explorer 7, and it's been over 8 months of that.
For reference, the case study program EVA, belonging to the Andalusian Government. And there are more customers.
Live editing lets you edit Microsoft Office documents, Open Office and other very usual formats to work directly with your browser. To see the functionality, nothing better than a video. In Nuxeo, we can use online editing of documents in a large number of configurations: Linux or Windows (XP and Vista) Explorer or Firefox, MS Office or Open Office. Besides, each one of them with multiple versions (Office 2003 and 2007, Firefox 2.X and 3.X, Explorer 6 and 7 ... etc). Totaling more than 60 possible combinations.
At Alfresco, you can see an official with the topic started January 29. Users do not have information that they can not use FireFox (are forced to use Microsoft's browser, which is not exactly free ...) and install a SharePoint module ...
And the answer: This is a feature that Nuxeo resolved months ago, and which offers not only the online edition using Firefox, but using Ubuntu + Firefox + Open Office! We participated actively in the development version of Ubuntu + OpenOffice.
Virtual Browsing (Tags).
Both Document Management Systems allow users to "tag" (label) content to browse through the information using these tags. Nuxeo calls this "virtual browsing" and it makes sense for matters such as browsing the content of different countries (Europe images together) and then switch to browsing folders by "themes" for example images of Economics on the one hand, on the other sports ...
Both platforms also allow for easy management of versions. Version increases, the recovery of previous versions or consulting the history of actions on a document are incredibly easy.
Both Alfresco and Nuxeo base the search on standard open tools such as Lucene and Open Search. These search engines index all the documents (title and total content) in and resolve searches in less than 1 second ("google" style).
Both in Alfresco and Nuxeo, the workflow engine is based on JBPM (Java Business Process Management) and the use of workflows, involving users of the system is very simple. But this feature also tilts the balance back in favor of Nuxeo, the interface management on Alfresco's workflows forces the user to do too many steps to start them, because the wizard's too long.
Total: After tying in several features, Alfresco is surpassed by Nuxeo due to desktop integration.
Nuxeo 2-0 Alfresco
Both tools are based on J2EE architecture, with JBoss as application server and a set of standards for access to documents such as CIFS, WebDAV and so on.
Correction: Nuxeo does not implement (as of now) the CIFS access interface. Nuxeo will do this as soon as a customer needs it. In my opinion it's not a very important feature, but it may be for some customers. We have to thank Luis Sala, of Alfresco, for this correction.
Moreover, both platforms are developing the CMIS standard for document management, with companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, EMC Documentum and Open Text. The technology improvement provided by Nuxeo is in the architecture itself: the Nuxeo Core easily allows for the development of other deployments from Nuxeo (something not as easy with Alfresco).
As the Chairman of Nuxeo, Stefane Fermigier states in a comparison published in CMS Wire "We have designed the Nuxeo software with the explicit goal of creating an Architecture of Participation [...] Our creation of Nuxeo Runtime, the GSO-based plugin system i (inspired by Eclipse's), our use of a component framework like JBoss Seam for our webapp, are consequences of this vision, which comes from years of experience working with System Integrators and ISV. "
"We have designed the Nuxeo software with the goal of creating an architecture of participation [...] The creation of Nuxeo Runtime, the plugin system based on OSG-i (inspired by Eclipse), our use of a framework of components like JBoss Seam for our webapp, are consequences of this vision that comes from years of experience working with systems integrators and ISV (Independent Software Vendors, software vendors).
Thanks to how Nuxeo is structured we can modify the functionality of Nuxeo without making any changes in your source code through "extension points". With these extension points contributions can be made ranging from adding vocabulary to the creation of new document types or actions through versioning policies, security policies, audit policies, storage policies, and many more.
Alfresco's code (and we know what we are talking about) is cumbersome and difficult to handle, and in this respect very little has been improved recently.
Nuxeo 3-0 Alfresco
" Both companies derive significant percentages of their revenue from providing support subscriptions. Alfresco charges something like US$ 10,000 per CPU while Nuxeo charges on a per "application" basis, with a tiered program that starts at about US$ 15,000 per application. So depending on your scale and the support requirements you have, annual support costs could be significantly different. These parameters can vary a lot, so its not clear there are real cost differences here. However it would seem that on average a customer will pay more to get started with Alfresco."
Source CMS Wire
In the case of our company, and as Partner Integrator of Nuxeo, we have an annual support cost for companies with a recommended range of 10 to 100 users in an amount of approximately € 3600, representing a 55% lower price compared to the minimum price for Alfresco.
Nuxeo 4-0 Alfresco
To speak of the community once again we cite the official forum of Alfresco:
"I am a Documentum developer and would like to possibly consider learning and promoting adoption of Alfresco, but I have a few problems/questions.
1) I'm trying to decide between Alfresco and Nuxeo. Alfresco seems to have more momentum (pardon the Documentum pun) in US, but at least Nuxeo is fully Open Source, meaning all the source including bug fixes that have not been included in a release are always available."
And in the same post:
"3) Other than market exposure, and give the fully Open (in the sense of open source) approach of Nuxeo, why would someone choose Alfresco instead?"
The number of responses is the most controversial, including some participants in the conversation that instead of talking about Nuxeo refer to the company as Nutseo "(Nuts means "crazy "," stupid "). A sign of elegance and respect within the Free Software community!
By the way, I love the phrase that speaks about "Other than market exposure" There are products like Windows Vista that have failed miserably, despite a strong promotional marketing (as only Microsoft can do), then this is no guarantee of anything.
Conviene aclarar aquí al lector que Alfresco, aparte de dar acceso restringido al código a los que no son clientes o partners (y cobran a los partners, y por supuesto a los clientes también!), no publica la corrección de errores en sus versiones, algo que en la comunidad de Nuxeo si ocurre... Should be clarified here to the reader that Alfresco apart from giving restricted access to the code to non-customers or non-partners (and they charge partners, and of course the customers too!), Alfresco does not publish the correction of errors in their versions, something that happens in the community of Nuxeo... code flows naturally and without restrictions. 100% Free (Open Source) Software.
It is also recalled that Alfresco has an Enterprise version, to pay (and very expensive) and not certified called Labs (Community), with advertising in the footer of your site to recruit support and warning that there is no guarantee (how beautiful messages in the system where I'll work!).
However, a 100% Open Source and Free of charge Nuxeo Enterprise, does not distinguish between the versions for "rich and poor." There is only one way, one version. No ads. . Unrestricted access to the code. Purely open.
Speaking of licenses: "The Nuxeo Core is LGPL, which is broadly described as "business friendly" and is the same license successfully used by projects like JBoss "
Speaking of access to the code:
Alfresco's Community Network edition repository is wide open , but their commercial Enterprise Network edition is not. Nuxeo has ONE repository for the Enterprise Platform and it is open to the public.
Access to Fixes, Patches:
"Access to Fixes . Related to the second point, with a repository that is shared by Nuxeo developers and the Nuxeo community, it follows that all Nuxeo fixes are immediately available to anyone in the community that can make a build. On the other hand, the Alfresco community must wait for any Alfresco Enterprise fixes to be merged from the Enterprise to Community repositories. This is a process that can take time. There's a big difference here. The Nuxeo community immediately benefits from the support activities related to paying customers. The Alfresco community does not."
Moreover, Nuxeo provides full access to its JIRA (project management tool) so that any developer or user can report tasks ( suggestions, improvements etc).
Nuxeo 5-0 Alfresco
For Partners and the many places in the world covered by these, Alfresco is clearly superior to Nuxeo. It has more presence, more impact. But as said before citing the case of Windows Vista, the media, the size of companies and capital will not guarantee that software is of high quality. They Help .. but do not guarantee that a software is of high quality.
By the way, speaking of partners. We are partners of Nuxeo, integrators in Spain and latin america. And we have not paid one euro. Not one.
We were invited to by Nuxeo.
Nuxeo 5-1 Alfresco
Nuxeo seems (and we are increasingly convinced) an ECM platform with a powerful document management functionality more usable, better designed, with a vibrant community, more open and with more competitive prices.
Yerbabuena Software is a Spanish company, based in Madrid and Malaga. The content expressed in this article is only intended to inform anyone who is interested in implementing a document management tool, particularly for document management based on Free Software, to make a choice with as much information as possible .
At no point it is our intention trying to glorify or to shrink any viable, competitive and highly profitable companies, such as Alfresco and Nuxeo, but to provide information and experiences.
The future of ECM market is Open Source, same as the IT sector in general. We do not bet for the prevalence of one tool over another, but for the coexistence of different tools with a different focus in each.
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