You might already know Laurent Dreuillat from a previous interview we conducted after Nuxeo World 2011, where we mostly talked about the customers and projects he encountered. Today’s interview will be more focused on his new job and the recent contribution of their Outlook addon.
So Laurent, the last time we talked with you, you were already working in the ECM field but in another company. You’ve recently founded a new company called Astone Solutions, a Nuxeo Gold Partner. Tell us about Astone Solutions. What are the goals of this new company?
Yes, we decided to create a spin-off from Sword that contains, among others, the ECM part of the Western France Business Unit of Sword. Our primary goal is to provide a concrete solution for the comprehensive management of documents and information within the company and its ecosystem. Astone Solutions is an IT services company specialized in the management and development of business flow. Our core knowledge includes digitization, ECM (with Nuxeo of course ;) ), portals, search, BPM and archiving.
What types of projects have you worked on recently? Is there one that really strikes you as a good use of technology to make business processes more efficient?
Today we are working on a very interesting project for a financial company to migrate their ECM system from a proprietary ECM to Nuxeo. This will represent a huge amount of documents and it will be accessed through a Liferay Portal. For that project, we developed a framework to have better integration of Nuxeo inside Liferay. The goal is to improve the business process by relying on a strong ECM core as well as having a central point for accessing documents and a lot of other functionalities (BPM).
You recently contributed an Outlook addon for Nuxeo that is now available on Nuxeo's Marketplace. Can you tell us why you developed this addon and what it does?
We developed this addon because a lot of our customers were looking for such a tool. The goal of that plugin is to allow clients to store emails in Nuxeo. This plugin is fully integrated inside MS Outlook (tested on 2003/2007 and 2010). On Outlook, you can select one or more emails, choose dynamically where you want to store them inside the Nuxeo hierarchy and send them to Nuxeo. Each email will be stored inside a mail object containing:
- The original EML file as the main file
- The attached files of the email as attachments
- The main metadata of the email automatically populated (title, subject, sender, receiver, date, …)
In Outlook 2010 you can even select an email attachment directly and send it to Nuxeo as a file object.
Developing this addon required a much different approach than typical configuration projects on the Nuxeo Platform. How deep was your technical understanding of the platform before you developed the addon? Would you say it was easy to develop?
We already worked on other .Net integrations in our previous projects; for example: an integration between Microsoft SharePoint and Nuxeo. It was very easy to develop by using REST operations. The next step would be to create an automation client API for .Net. That would be really great to improve integration between .Net and Nuxeo. Perhaps here's another opportunity for Astone Solutions to contribute to Nuxeo.
As a systems integrator, you make choices about the platforms or products that you develop and deploy for your customers. Can you tell us why you've chosen to work with Nuxeo?
We chose Nuxeo because, for us, it was the best choice in terms of architecture and extensibility. The learning curve may be a bit higher than other products, but the result is definitely better (better quality/scalability). The other very important point is the availability of Nuxeo Studio, which is a very effective tool that helps us save time on projects.
I understand that you also have other projects going on. Is there anything interesting that you plan to contribute, like you did with the Outlook addon?
Yes, we are working on an addon that we could call “Extended LiveEdit”. With that plugin, you will be able to create a new document (the same way as LiveEdit) and to select the type of Nuxeo document you want to create (not just a file object). It will give you the opportunity to select the type of document you can create (based on your security level) and it will dynamically display the creation layout of the document type. You will then be able to fill in the fields (validation rules are included) and validate the document to create it in Nuxeo. This addon works only on MS Office and will be delivered in the Nuxeo Marketplace when it is completely finished.
If you could have three wishes for the Nuxeo Platform, what would they be?
- First, I wish that the Nuxeo Platform would continue to evolve at the same pace, and keep this high level of quality.
- Then, I wish to be able to use Nuxeo Drive very soon (very exciting functionality).
- Finally, I wish for the integration of something like CIFS to replace the WebDAV protocol.
Astone Solutions is located in the beautiful region of Brittany, France. Do you have any advice for the travelers in the area?
You should take a trip to the beautiful town of Rennes, then go to the coast to visit Saint Malo, Dinard and Cancale (especially if you like oysters). There are many things to discover in this region.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like developing new Java frameworks and plugins… No, I'm just joking. As I said previously, I like to travel in Brittany to discover new places and, of course, to eat “Galette Saucisses” (a specialty of Rennes) and drink beer ;)