Munwar Shariff

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since Jan 24, 2007
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Munwar Shariff is the CTO of CIGNEX. CIGNEX is the leading provider of open source Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions for businesses and government agencies.
He has worked as the chief architect and manager of engineering teams for 18 years in the areas of system software, Internet applications and mobile applications for customers in the United States, Japan, Germany, UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia and India.
He is an expert in Content Management Systems (CMS). Since co-founding CIGNEX in late 2000, he has successfully delivered more than 80 CMS applications using various open source technologies. He has written a number of articles on open source CMS, he is an experienced trainer, and a frequent speaker at conferences related to this topic.
Munwar earned his MS in Digital Electronics and Advanced Communications from REC Surathkal, India. He has authored two technical books on open source CMS, Plone Live and Alfresco Enterprise Content Management Implementation.
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Recent posts by Munwar Shariff

Good to know that iText library is used as engine behind the scenes for PDF generation.

What are the other open source libraries used?

Is JasperReports used as well?
It is very good to see a book (Pentaho Reporting 3.5 for Java Developers) from the Engineering Team Lead at Pentaho.

I have read that Pentaho offers complete range of business intelligence (BI) capabilities including reporting, analysis, dashboards, data integration and data mining. Is this book focused on "Reporting" features of Pentaho?

Who are the target audience? Can someone who is new to Pentaho can read this book and create reports in Pentaho? Or do we need to have prior knowledge of Pentaho? Or any knowledge of reporting tools needed?

You can save any type of file in Alfresco. It is not limited to text files (HTML, TEXT etc).

Alfresco supports all types of mime-types to be stored in the repository and treats them the same.

You can extend the content types to have more meta-data (properties), business rules, transformations etc.

I would recommend you to download and try with various content types..... I am sure you will like it.

I am not sure about using Python scripts for Indexing etc...

However, most of the enterprise level CMS do provide an advanced "Search Engine" or integrate with few of them.

Alfresco is bundled with "Lucene", an open source and Java based search engine. Lucene is very flexible and powerful. You can index and search millions of documents, web pages and various content (such as Images, Videos, PDF etc).

Alfresco provides a powerful concept called "Aspects" (dynamic properties) to extend the content model and to enable indexing and search.

You can find more information about search in our book ( as well as in Alfresco's Wiki Pages (
Hi Luke,

Alfresco has 3 line of products. 1. Document Management 2. Web Content Management 3. Records Management.

The "Web Content Management" module is a perfect fit for your requirements. The book covers item #1. Document Management features only. However, you can install and try out web content management functionality of Alfresco easily.

Try the 3.x Labs version from Source Forge (which is the latest version of Web Content Management).

Hope this helps.
Hi, Thanks.

All the 4 Authors are going to be available to answer your queries related to the book and the topic (Open Source Enterprise Content Management).

To give you all a brief background... Alfresco is one of the most popular Java-based Content Management System. Alfresco 3 is its upgraded version which includes Alfresco Surf, a new N-Tier Architecture, which delivers scalability and accommodates more users on existing hardware resources. Alfresco 3 offers true Enterprise Content Management (ECM) by providing an Open Source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint, Documentum, and Interwoven.

Hope the new book is going to be helpful to the businesses to roll-out enterprise CMS at cheaper costs.
Hi Michael Juntao Yuan & Thomas Heute,

Thanks for taking time to write a book on much awaited technology JBoss Seam. I followed Seam for few months and lost interest in it due to the HUGE delay caused by JBoss in releasing the Seam framework.

Is Seam a promising framework when frameworks such as Spring are picking up?

How is this technology going to be different than JEMS?

What is going to be the future of Seam? Please let us know a highlevel roadmap?

Once again thanks for answering questions on this forum.
[ June 05, 2007: Message edited by: Munwar Shariff ]
Thanks for the reply.

The best thing I would recommend is to install on your local machine and play with it. Download the tomcat version which is bundled to use Hypersonic SQL. You do not need any other software to be installed to run Alfresco. This installation option is good for testing use only.

It takes about 5 minutes to install it on your localbox. You can uninstall it once you are done with it.

This way you can keep all your sample spaces, documents, business rules, transformations etc till you complete your test run or Proof of Concept.
17 years ago
You are right...Automatic version control is like subversion (SVN). Whenever you check-in a document into SVN it automatically creates a new vesrion.

Similarly you can configure Alfresco to create new versions whenever it is updated. Remember that there are many ways you can create and update a document in Alfresco.

You can use the web client and update the document. If you are a windows user, you can drag and drop the files through CIFS interface into Alfresco repository. You can update the file using web services API and so on. No matter how you edit a document, the automatic versioning is enabled at the repository level and available to all these protocols.
17 years ago
Alfresco integrates with various image capturing systems. This adds to the flexibility, and provides intelligent forms processing that result in greater control and management of crucial information and documents, within and outside the firewall.

You can implement an OCR solution within Alfresco using the transformations framework. There is a product called "Tiger OCR" which has a integrated bundle with Alfresco.

The "Kofax Ascent integration" allows documents to be captured and stored in Alfresco, enabling customers to review and approve documents for long term archival or records management purposes.

Using "eCopy Alfresco connector", any documents can be scanned directly to a selected Alfresco repository using your eCopy enabled digital copier or scanner.

All the above solutions are available today.
17 years ago
There are many content management systems such as Documentum, Stellent, Vignette provide a wide range of solutions such as document management, records management, web content management and much more that what Alfresco has as of today.

However few things to consider for Alfresco are:
1. Open Source
2. Open Standards
3. Single repository for all the solutions
4. Fastest JCR repository
5. Cheaper and low Total Cost of Ownership
6. Runs on wide range of platforms

Some of the commercial closed source companies do not provide advantages listed above.

Alfresco is based on Spring framework with JSF and Hibernate plus additional open source components.
17 years ago
Hi Jan,

I do not know the reason and looks like it is more to do with Standardization. There were lot of discussions happened around the same topic at:

By the way, I found a forum reply about reading the Alfresco repository through JackRabbit at:

Please feel free to include your views on JCR standardization so that we all could benefit.
17 years ago
Alfresco recently released its' repository benchmarks and proved to be the "fastest JCR repository". The results were based on a 10 million document repository.

We recently considered Alfresco for a customer with 225 million documents for 40,000 users. Which is a great benchmark to consider.

Filenet is more suitable for insurance and finance industries with its' strong workflow capabilities.

I do not have a comparison matrix for Filenet and Alfresco. Alfresco offers most of the features of Filenet as of today at very cheaper TCO.
17 years ago
Alfresco is written in Java and follows all "open standards" which is the key selling point for Alfresco.

It is not a is more a like openCMS and MORE>>>

More I mean, Alfresco offers you Document Management, Records Management, Digital Asset Management kind of additional features along with enterprise level WCM (Web Content Management).
17 years ago
The material has to be shared with known people. Please send me an email with your contact details to munwar at cignex dot com.

By the way I liked your quote a lot "My boss never outsources or has lay-offs, and He's always hiring. I work for Jesus! Prepare your resume!".

Good to know that people like you are evangilizing the open source...
17 years ago