OS: Windows Framework: Java License: Open Source, Annual Plan Product Cost: N/A Implementation Cost: N/A
David Maharaj, Vice President of Technology at FOX.com described their pre-Alfresco implementation as a “Frankenstein monster” that comprised a disparate stack of technologies. In addition, the system lacked a code repository and web content management. Editorial changes to
content in this architecture was a lengthy and woefully inefficient process.
Content authoring required a complex choreography among content authors, producers and a very resource-constrained engineering team in order to create or modify virtually all content no matter how minor that change may be. This hours-long process was further compounded by the fact that every FOX show has its own “microsite”, each requiring regular updates to content such as character profiles, episode guides, videos and news. Mr. Maharaj’s goal and vision was therefore to design and implement a new, cleaner architecture that employed a consolidated technology stack, leveraged open source technologies and streamlined the content authoring process so that producers could manage the different sites without requiring engineering involvement. Selecting the WCM that fit the needs best was an important foundation to the entire system.
Why Alfresco was Chosen
The company undertook an evaluation of commercial and open source WCM products. Alfresco was selected for its out-of-the-box features, open standards architecture, flexibility, scalability and costsavings. Although Alfresco is a Java-based solution, it’s design did not force that FOX adopt an entirely new web development methodology or programming language. This afforded FOX the flexibility to apply a traditional and inexpensive LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack, which went a long way towards simplifying the production architecture. Finally, Alfresco’s WCM did not
require that FOX undertake a prohibitively expensive migration process, rather they were able to implement a new technology foundation that facilitated the development of new “microsites” while allowing for existing sites to be ported to the new infrastructure over time.
“Our priorities were ease-of-use and programmability, along with straightforward migration of legacy content,” said Mr. Maharaj, “In
addition, we wanted to have the flexibility for content authors and producers to be able to directly manipulate templates to exponentially speed up the content update process.”
Benefits of Using Alfresco
As a result of the Alfresco implementation, FOX was able to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage its Web site content. In particular, FOX was able to:
• Consolidate and simplify the technical architecture built on a 100% open source stack
• Ensure scalability from both an authoring and performance perspective;
• Achieve substantial cost savings
• Apply common templates and assets to maximize re-use where applicable
• Improve ease-of-use and productivity by enabling producers to make content changes directly and dramatically speed the time to publish new content
• Reduce reliance on engineering resources so they can focus on maintaining and improving the underlying infrastructure for its Web site