Digital assets are a key component of almost all web experience and customer engagement projects. In today’s era of engagement with all of the additional content targeting, personalization, internationalization and multi-channel publishing the number and permutation of digital assets associated with any given project are growing rapidly. This trend will only continue as we move forward. Content workers (authors, designers, content mangers) need to be able to create, locate, modify and manage the growing number of assets easily and efficiently in order to maintain brand quality and deliver projects on time and on budget.
In today’s blog entry we’re going to focus on the creative side of WCM (Web Content Management) and DAM (Digital Asset Management) even though this is only a small portion of the overall set of use cases.
Let’s begin by considering the following example use cases:
- Create mobile appropriate image resolution variants
- Create video stills
- Imprint watermarks
- Thumbnails for galleries and promotional kickers
Each of these use cases are important ingredients in providing the user with a great experience but they also introduce a lot of additional work for our content teams. One of the ways to deal with the large volume of asset creation and manipulation responsibilities is to automate them. The use cases mentioned above and many others like them are a perfect candidate for automation.
Crafter Rivet leverages Alfresco’s enterprise content management services for image transformation. With a few simple rules applied at the repository level it’s possible to provide your content team with image resolution variants, video stills, apply watermarks, to scale and crop thumbnails and then to make these assets available for review by our authors all in an automated fashion with no additional labor required beyond uploading the canonical assets.
Another important way to help our content teams cope with the sheer volume of digital asset related workload is to make sure our teams are able to work with the very best tools at their disposal. With today’s modern browsers it is possible to provide a fairly decent set of tools / asset manipulation functionality right with-in the browser. However, while purely web-based tools have their advantages they are often slower and much less powerful than the desktop tools serious content contributors are used to working with.
The biggest productivity boosts are gained when we empower our designers and other content workers on our team with rich, native tools that they are already familiar with and work with on a daily basis.
Adobe’s creative suite (which contains tools like PhotoShop) is the quintessential software package for image/digital asset creation and manipulation. Designers are deeply familiar with these tools and are able to leverage their enormous arsenal of capability to accomplish a tremendous amount of work in a short amount of time. The issue that many organizations often face, is that while the tools themselves are great, the interfaces between the tools and the systems that ultimately store, manage and deliver the assets are either non-existent, human-process based, or have clunky integration. This gap creates a drag on the margin of productivity and introduces room for error.
Fortunately Alfresco, Adobe and Crafter Rivet Web Experience Management have a solution that connects rich, creative desktop tools, to your systems of record (e.g. repository) and ultimately to your systems of engagement (e.g. website) in a seamless fashion. Content creators work right with-in the rich, local tools that they are familiar and productive with and those tools are deeply integrated with the repository which means that all of the organization, policies, metadata extraction, and versioning provided by the repository etc are seamlessly integrated and enforced. Alfresco is a CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Standard) compliant repository. This standards based interface enables it to communicate with external applications like Adobe’s products in order to interact with and operate on the content, metadata, permissions, versions and so on housed within the repository. Adobe provides a platform called Adobe Drive which enables its tools to connect in a rich fashion over CMIS to Alfresco. Once we’ve connected our Adobe tools and our Alfresco repository authors working within Crafter Studio, the authoring and management component of Crafter Rivet can now see content updates coming from the Adobe tools right in context with the work they are doing through in context preview and editing. They can also interact with that content through the web based tools, workflow, versioning, metadata capture and publishing capabilities of Crafter Studio.
By closing the integration gap we can now provide powerful tools for productivity and at the same time do so in a way that makes it seamless and easy for our creative teams to collaborate across the entire process.
Click on the video below to see Adobe and Crafter Rivet WEM / Alfresco in action together!
Crafter Rivet is a 100% open source, java based web CMS for web experience management and customer engagement. Learn more about Crafter Rivet at crafterrivet.org