Early 2013, Nuxeo developed a relationship with Unicon, a consulting/solution provider located in Gilbert, Arizona, US. Unicon is a leading provider of IT consulting, services, and support for education technology and works with institutions and organizations to find solutions to meet business challenges.

Recently, Unicon took on a client who wanted to try Nuxeo’s Digital Asset Management software. We spoke with one of the lead architect/developers on that project, Russ Trotter, about his experiences with the Nuxeo Platform.

The project, which is on-going, involved a proof of concept for a content production company to manage its assets for e-marketing, online delivery, and offline. According to Russ, the client had a very ad hoc process for managing content - Windows file shares, spreadsheets, documents, etc.. They wanted to get a better handle on all their assets, and put them into a single repository. They also had a lot of editors who needed to manage the assets (100 content staff with about 50-100 using the platform at any time).

It was the Client who selected the Nuxeo Platform. The fact that Nuxeo is open source was important, but there was additional value in the tooling Nuxeo provides, such as Nuxeo Studio. Russ said that the client wanted to spend money on tooling, not on licenses and servers.

The Proof of Concept

Unicon, and thus Russ, was brought in to develop a POC. Unicon had to take the Client’s current content and port it to the Nuxeo Platform and be able to easily query it.

Now as we all know, technology can do amazing things, but there’s some planning that needs to take place before a great technology is really worth the time and effort to implement. In this case, Russ said they had to understand the client’s current content, develop a unified content model, and then utilize Nuxeo tools (like the REST APIs) to push the content into the Nuxeo repository.

While much of the project time was spent developing that unified content model, they used Studio to model it within Nuxeo. The proof of concept also covered workflow creation, using the document management REST API to create and export documents, using the digital asset management REST API to push large amounts of images, getting a feel for performance, and understanding metadata extraction.

Interestingly, this was the first time Russ had used the Nuxeo Platform, but he felt it was a great experience. He pointed to the excellent Nuxeo documentation which helped with both the document management and digital asset management aspects of the POC.

Russ said that at their heaviest development point Nuxeo was between releases (Fast Track releases) and they actually found a couple of bugs. He went through the Nuxeo Community to find the answers and Nuxeo responded with the hotfix a day later (that, Russ said, really demonstrated the responsiveness of the company). Once they made it through these initial bugs, everything went smoothly.

Russ noted that the REST APIs were very straightforward and he’s looking forward to the additional improvements Nuxeo has planned, including schematic changes, and more facets that leverage additional aspects of the content management platform.

A big part of the POC was looking at the Digital Asset Management System Module. Russ said that it was really cool. He said the Client was interested in the metadata extraction capabilities, so they did a demo “out-of-the-box” to see what it could do. The Client’s metadata goes way beyond what’s encoded in the DAM module, so they knew they would have to extend/augment the metadata. Thanks to the underlying content management platform, they knew they would be able to it.

The Client also wanted to see the breaking point and any pain points/configurations to get the Asset Manager to work the way they wanted, but in their testing, Unicon couldn’t find anything that concerned them.

Although the UI design wasn’t part of Russ’s mandate, he told us that a design team was looking at the front-end at the same time. The Client had very demanding UI goals, so using the Nuxeo Platform’s flexible REST APIs, they were able to build a slick modern interface using state of the art JavaScript tools like AngularJS.

Russ’ Feedback on the Nuxeo Platform

As a newcomer to the Nuxeo Platform, we asked Russ his thoughts on how it worked, how easy it was learn. He said that Studio was very useful, great for a POC or rapid development, and for learning and experimenting. He said it made their lives a whole lot easier.

He also pointed to Nuxeo Answers as being very helpful, saying there were a lot of people on the Internet using the Platform and ready to help out.

His favorite parts included:

  • The platform model - modern/useful and integratable,
  • The REST APIs,
  • A lot of aspects are modular and are evolving,
  • Key functionality is maintained,
  • Implementing a lot more new technologies.

Given the Nuxeo Platform’s ease of use, his team produced a POC that the Client was happy with in one month - with most of that time focused on understanding and developing the content model outside of the Nuxeo Platform.