The previous portal was no longer able to meet the needs of archive management, interactive contributions, and frequent updates by distributed site managers. The new solution required portal-like functionalities as well as the ease of use of mass-market tools such as Picasa Web, YouTube, and -- at the users' request -- "like BBC News." The main functionalities include:
- Workspaces for communicating in a vertical manner
- A space for teams to exchange information, such as tasks, agendas, and documents
- A personal space where employees can put anything they want to -- videos, photos, documents, etc. The common denominator for the site? Content, content, content.
At Leroy Merlin, teams are organized within each store by department, such as hardware, woodworking, garden, etc. The Intranet has a team space that must be easy to use by a non-technical person. Employees use this space to leave each other messages, tasks, share photos, etc. The space also has specific widgets to display data, such as financial results. The portal was designed to have an iGoogle or NetVibes feel, so that it would be versatile and easy for everyone to use.
A Platform Approach
In the beginning phases of the project, strategic choices about how to develop the system were on the table. One option was to use traditional Java portals, like Liferay or JBoss Portal, and integrate document management functionalities into them. Another option was to base the system on pure web portal technology. The final choice centered on the robust, extensible, open Nuxeo Platform to store and manage personal workspaces and documents, and integrate OpenSocial to create a dashboard.
Nuxeo was chosen because of its platform approach, instead of the application approach of other vendors. As an open source solution that is built for easy customization, it was a good fit for this project.
Contributing Back to the Nuxeo Community
Damien Metzler, software architect in the CTO group at Leroy Merlin, credits the open source / open standards approach of the Nuxeo Platform as one of the key success factors of this project. He has developed GWT containers and OpenSocial features for the company's Nuxeo Platform-based Intranet Portal, and he has also contributed his enhancements back to the Nuxeo Platform.
The Portal remains a work in progress, with continuous enhancements and improvements.