Comparing Alfresco Enterprise Edition and Adobe LiveCycle Contentspace ES

People sometimes ask what the difference is between Alfresco and Adobe LiveCycle Contentspace ES, so we thought posting a quick overview on the subject would be helpful.

LiveCycle ContentSpace ES is based on Alfresco 2.1 and offers full Alfresco functionality*, plus LiveCycle Content Services ES. Adobe added more service capabilities by extensively customizing the Alfresco user interface and by integrating various LiveCycle Content Services ES solution components.

Technically speaking, these are the key differences between Alfresco Enterprise Edition and LiveCycle Content Services ES:
- Web Content Management is not embedded or distributed.
- Replaced jBPM with LiveCycle Process Management ES.
- Replaced PDF libraries.
- Enhanced security to enable single sign-on (SSO) with other LiveCycle components such as Workspace and integration with Adobe User Management.
- Added support for the full LiveCycle ES 54 platform matrix including clustering/failover.
- Integrated LiveCycle ES solution components such as LiveCycle Workspace ES, LiveCycle Rights Management ES, and LiveCycle PDF Generator ES.

The key architecture of Alfresco in terms of Java APIs, ACPs, customized content models, actions, and so forth, are the same.

Using LiveCycle Contentspace ES, end users can manage the content through library services such as versioning, check-in/checkout, rights protecting, and archiving according to policies. Developers can also implement processes to enable end users to interact with content and automate procedures like document transformation and PDF generation, rights management, as well as workflows like data capture, and document review and approval.

Along with the Alfresco content management system capabilities, LiveCycle Content Services ES provides the following functionality.

Process automation

Content Services ES can leverage LiveCycle ES for business events by running processes based on content events, such as adding new documents to the repository. A process can also wait for content events to occur, such as a completed document review.

Users can perform the following tasks:
- Attach files, such as reports to a form, and submit the form. After the form is submitted, both the data and the attachments are saved, and can be opened and viewed in the same form layout.
- Access different form applications or content types in the same portal.
- Search and browse by association between processes and documents, and by process and document attributes.

Process initiation

Developers can run processes from LiveCycle Contentspace ES and leverage LiveCycle Workspace ES to review and approve content.

Form rendering

Developers can set up the following form rendering tasks:
- Pre-populate forms by using content or metadata.
- Render forms with attachments from Content Services ES.
- Update forms with a new version of assets referenced during run-time.
- Keep form template versions consistent during the life cycle of the process.

Information protection

Content Services ES can leverage LiveCycle Rights Management ES to automatically apply policies to content that is stored in the repository. Using Rights Management ES, organizations can protect PDF documents. The policies are applied transparently to content when users retrieve content from the repository and save it on the local file system, send content by email to someone who is external to the organization, or place content on devices such as USB keys.

Document output

Content Services ES has pre-built actions that developers can use to automatically convert documents to other formats (for example, from MS Word to PDF). Also, developers can configure actions to start short-lived processes for assembling a set of documents within a shared space into a package, generating PDF files from three-dimensional content, or converting content to PDF/A format for archiving.

* LiveCycle Contentspace ES does not utilize the Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) file server configuration capabilities of Alfresco.

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