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Alfresco had made and has been changing a number of significant improvements to the UI framework in Alfresco Share. Here is the explanation why they have been making those changes and uses of new UI frame work.

What is Aikau:

Aikau refers to a method of creating new Surf Pages or Components comprised of small atomic widgets. The widgets are referenced in a JSON model that can either be defined in the JavaScript controller of a WebScript or as a document stored on the Alfresco Repository. Each widget is an AMD module that references it’s own CSS, HTML and i18n resources. Surf will ensure that all of those resources are imported into the page loaded by the browser when that widget is referenced in the JSON model that defines that page.


Objectives of Aikau:

  • Maximize code re-use
  • Make UI development faster
  • Make it incredibly simple to customize pages
  • Allow continuous iteration of existing pages.


Achievements of Aikau:

  • Zero Build: Using Surf analyse JSON model resolve all the resources and compress as a DOJO layer.
  • Cross JavaScript Library Support: Aikau also provided a mechanism for wrapping our existing YUI2 centric widgets to that they can be referenced in the JSON model for the page.
  • Extensibility: Widgets can be reconfigured, added or removed easily and because the widgets are decoupled making changes won’t cause any errors.


Aikau use in Share:

  • Header
  • Live Search
  • Filtered Search Page
  • Search Management Page
  • Site Management Page
  • Analytics and Reporting Widgets
  • Page Creator
  • Document List Prototype


Updates on Aikau:

5.0.d has a dependency on artefacts created from the independent Aikau GitHub project. This is a significant change because, for the first time, it is going to allow Community users to have access to the latest UI updates and fixes, rather than needing to wait until the next Community release.


The Benefits of an Independent Aikau:

You can get an updated version of Aikau every week – this means you get access to the latest widgets, improvements and bug fixes almost as soon as they are implemented. This means that you don’t have to passively wait anywhere between 6 months and a year for a new release that may or may not contain a fix that you might be hoping for.

The best part is that you won’t even need to re-build anything in order to get updated versions of Aikau… you just need to follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Download the JAR for the version you want from the Alfresco Maven repository
  2. Drop it into the “share/WEB-INF/lib” directory
  3. Restart your server.


And that’s it! You can now enjoy your newly updated Aikau framework.

Reva supports a large range of technologies and has extensive experience on various content management solutions.

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