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It’s that time of the year again, Alfresco Dashletes. It is time to show the rest of the Alfresco community what you’re made of by developing a cool dashlet for Alfresco Share.

Last year’s gold medal went to Florian Maul for his Gallery Plus dashlet. Florian’s dashlet shows images stored in the Share Document Library in a really nice flow layout and allows any folder to be turned into a photo album. Other compelling entries from 2011 included:

  • Recent Comments Dashlet Bertrand Forest’s dashlet shows the site’s most recent comments
  • Tag Query Dashlet Jan Pfitzner’s dashlet shows documents tagged with a configurable tag value
  • Activity Stats Gabriel Willems’ dashlet displays cool charts about the activities happening within your Share site
  • Jira Issues Simon Buckle’s dashlet queries and displays ticket queues from Jira.

All of these (and more than 175 others) are freely-available at Alfresco Add-Ons, which lists all sorts of interesting extensions for the Alfresco Platform.

Florian received an iPad for this hard work on Gallery Plus. This year, I’d like to level up the prizes a bit. So, in honor of our to-be-released Android client application, this year’s top prize will be an Asus Transformer Prime. Second and third place winners will receive a Google Nexus 7. All first, second, and third place winners will get a free conference pass for either DevCon Berlin (November 6 & 7) or DevCon San Jose (November 14 & 15). By the way, early-bird registration for DevCon ends September 10!

I sense that you are definitely in for a chance at an Android tablet and a paid conference pass to the Alfresco event-of-the-year, not to mention the likely formation of a devoted fan following, congratulations from heads of state, and untold riches that come from high-profile endorsements. Sorry, I got carried away–I can make the tablet and the DevCon pass happen, but the rest isn’t likely even for the most decorated Alfresco dashlete. So how will you get an edge on the competition? Let me give you some tips…

Dashlet Challenge entries are judged based on four criteria:

  • Creativity. Be innovative. Have fun. Take risks. Do something no one’s seen before.
  • Business Applicability. Alfresco means business–we’re not some consumer-focused toy. Eye candy is great, but when it comes down to it, your dashlet needs to help others do great work. Your goal should be to write a dashlet that Alfresco Share users cannot live without because it helps them do their job better.
  • Code Quality. The Dashlet Challenge is open to everyone, regardless of skill level. Maybe this will be your excuse to learn something new. We’re not looking for elegance or even strict correctness, but we do require submissions to follow basic best practice. That means things like using our established extension mechanisms, using your own namespace for web scripts, JavaScript, and content models, and writing clean and readable code. Your submission might not only get you an Android tablet, but also will be used by others as a learning tool, so keep that in mind.
  • Packaging. Your best bet is to submit, at most, two AMPs–one for the repository (alfresco.war), if needed, and one for Share (share.war). One of the requirements of entering the Challenge is that your code be freely-available and licensed as open source. So make sure your source includes a build script that works. Maven, Gradle, Ant, we don’t care, as long as we can build it and install it with minimal fuss. At a minimum, you must include a readme file that explains how to install and configure your dashlet. You can definitely curry favor with the judges by also including additional helpful documentation.

The full terms and conditions for the Dashlet Challenge are on alfresco.com, so please do read those before you decide to participate. You have until the end of August to mail the link to your source code to dashletchallenge@alfresco.com.

Last year’s contestants have been training hard for this moment. Will Florian Maul repeat his 2011 performance? Or perhaps Jan Pfitzner will rally to take home the gold. Bertrand Forest filled a gap in the product last year with Recent Comments. Can he do it again? Europe showed clear domination of the entire field last year. Will we hear from the Americans in 2012? And the most important question of all: Will you have what it takes to win Alfresco Dashlet Challenge glory?

(Photo credit: “London Olympic Flame Lighting – Opening Ceremony” by Sum_of_Marc via Flickr)

About the author

Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts is the Chief Community Officer of Alfresco Software. Jeff has been working with Alfresco since 2005 and has 20 years of content management, document management, and collaboration experience. Jeff wrote the first developer-focused book on Alfresco, the Alfresco Developer Guide, and recently co-authored CMIS & Apache Chemistry in Action. Follow Jeff on his blog at http://ecmarchitect.com.

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