Rapid development of Alfresco repository extensions in Java. Deploy your code in seconds, not minutes. Life is too short for endless server restarts.
Java Kotlin FreeMarker Groovy Other
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Dynamic Extensions for Alfresco

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Rapid development of Alfresco repository extensions in Java. Deploy your code in seconds, not minutes. Life is too short for endless server restarts.

Dynamic Extensions adds an OSGi container to the Alfresco repository, enabling live deployment of Java code, with no need to restart the server. Alfresco itself is not "OSGi-fied" in any way; the OSGi container runs on top of the core Alfresco platform.

Installing Dynamic Extensions

Dynamic Extensions is distributed as an Alfresco Module Package (AMP).

Supported Alfresco versions

Dynamic Extensions is developed and tested against:

  • Alfresco Enterprise 4.1
  • Alfresco Enterprise 4.2
  • Alfresco Community 5.0

Dynamic Extensions is also known to work on:

  • Alfresco Enterprise 3.4
  • Alfresco Enterprise 4.0
  • Alfresco Enterprise 5.0
  • Alfresco Enterprise 5.1
  • Alfresco Community 4.0
  • Alfresco Community 4.2

Example extension code

This example Web Script examines a node and passes information to a Freemarker template:

public ExampleWebScript {

  private NodeService nodeService;

  // Example: http://localhost/alfresco/service/show-node?nodeRef=workspace://SpacesStore/12345
  public Map<String, Object> displayNodeName(@RequestParam NodeRef nodeRef) {
    Map<String, Object> model = new HashMap<String, Object>();
    model.put("properties", nodeService.getProperties(nodeRef));    
    return model; // Model is passed to Freemarker template.

Note that this is an annotation Web Script. These types of Web Script are configured through Java annotations instead of *.desc.xml descriptors. Annotation Web Scripts are similar to Spring MVC's annotation-based controllers.

Here's the accompanying Freemarker template fragment:

  <#list properties?keys as name>    

This is all the code that is required; there's no need for Spring XML config or Web Script XML descriptors. Hot-reloading and reducing configuration overhead are not particularly novel concepts in the Java development world at large. Essentially, Dynamic Extensions modernizes the development of Alfresco repository extensions.

The example above may be trivial, but the point is that, behind the scenes, services are still wired together through Spring and handled by the Web Script framework. Conceptually there is no real difference between a Dynamic Extension and a regular Alfresco extension. There's just less overhead and more convenience.

Creating your own Alfresco extensions

The example Dynamic Extension provides a good starting point for creating your own extensions.

Clone the example repo and explore it. Here are some pointers to get you going:

See also: Gradle plugin for building your own repository extensions

Configuring osgi-container

The configuration is optional. The default settings are suitable for development environments.

For production environments you should review each setting carefully!

Configuration file location

This file should be placed on the classpath at this location: /dynamic-extensions/osgi-container.properties

Alfresco installations typically use the 'tomcat/shared/classes' directory to store custom configuration. The full path would then be: /tomcat/shared/classes/dynamic-extensions/osgi-container.properties

For directory layouts that differ from this standard Tomcat layout, you can determine the root of the classpath from the location of 'alfresco-global.properties'.

Configuration settings

Description Default Example
Allow restart of the container: useful for development true osgi.container.restartable=true/false
Enable starting bundles stored in the repository. true osgi.container.repository-bundles=true/false
Hot-deploy bundles on a running Alfresco If disabled, only classpath bundles and/or optionally repository bundles will be loaded. true osgi.container.hot-deploy=true/false
Configures the OSGI framework's storage directory. This can be either a relative or absolute path. Specifying an absolute path is recommended. (absolute or relative path) tmp (relative to the current working directory) osgi.container.storage-directory=tmp
Configures the OSGI framework's directory from which to automatically install or uninstall bundles. (absolute or relative path) dynamic-extensions (relative to the current working directory) osgi.container.bundle-directory=dynamic-extensions
Web application classpath scanning behaviour

ENABLE: Use existing cache or create a new cache if a: none exists or b: cache ts < WEB-INF/lib ts. Default setting.

DISABLE: Disable the cache. Rescans the WEB-INF/lib directory at every startup boot, but does not persist it.

UPDATE: Force update of the existing cache.
ENABLE osgi.container.system-package-cache.mode = ENABLE/DISABLE/UPDATE

Barcelona 2013 presentation

One hour presentation on using and exploring Dynamic Extensions for Alfresco