For any content Management System Web Content Management is very significant module. It will be used when we want to store all the contents of particular website in CMS. It could also serve as content creation platform. As far as Alfresco is concern it had WCM module in earlier versions also but the architecture was totally different from the present. Earlier Alfresco was using web author sandboxes, a virtualization server, XForms, XSLT transformations, and a repository-to-file system deployment service to support WCM Module but from version 4.0 onward they have stop supporting existing module.
How it is supported in Current Version of Alfresco?
Currently it uses Form service to create web contents which you can configure in share with the help of content model and share-config-custom.xml file.
To support those web contents migration Alfresco use Replication and Migration services which can be considered as the replacement of sandboxes from previous architecture. Replication service can be used to replicate the contents from one instance to another or to different location in same instance. Migration service can be used to copy contents from alfresco to plain file system. If you choose to use Web Quick Start, the out-of-the-box setup is to have an “Editorial” site and a “Live” site. Content is authored, reviewed, and approved in the Editorial site, then published to the Live site. This gives you the ability to manage content separately from where it is being served up to the live site, including having separate front-ends to effectively preview content. Although the out-of-the-box setup has just these two, you can add as many additional environments as you want (Test, QA, etc.).
Few drawbacks of current structure are as follow:
- There is no good way to perform a site-wide rollback of a deployment.
- Forms have support for very limited sets of component.
- You cannot generate various renditions of one content.
- No support for sandboxes
- Cannot define output path for contents in form
Hope this gives you good insight of current architecture of Alfresco WCM module because there is still there are lots of confusion going on regarding this although it is more than one year old now.