As organizations move to the cloud, many have a desire to leverage cloud storage, like Amazon S3. Cloud object stores are ideal given their scalability, security and fast performance for finding and retrieving content. As a simple store, S3 does not provide streamlined abilities to view and interact with that content. This post will look at how Alfresco is able to provide users an in-browser viewing option for S3 content with the Alfresco Enterprise Viewer.
In-Browser Viewing of S3 Content
While the Alfresco Enterprise Viewer (formerly OpenAnnotate) is typically deployed with ECM solutions like Alfresco Content Services, Documentum or any of our NoSQL options, it can also be configured to work independently directly with S3 storage for applications that might not yet have a content management infrastructure. The Alfresco Enterprise viewer provides in-browser viewing for S3 directly without needing to download a document to the users desktop. Based on our comparison of in-browser viewing options, Alfresco Enterprise Viewer provides several advantages over other browser based viewing options particularly with large documents including:
- High speed viewing is accomplished by dividing the documents into small encoded sections allowing very quick first page viewing
- Watermark overlays including user names and time stamps to prevent screenshots of the content
- Security – With the document is in pieces, it is difficult to simply copy a file from the browser cache and these pieces can also be encrypted for an additional layer of security
- Under 1000 Page Documents – the Alfresco Enterprise Viewer can deliver sub-second view times users are used to seeing for smaller documents.
- 1000+ Page Documents – Enterprise Viewer in “view mode” is about 5 times faster for 1000+ page documents that are greater than 20MB.
- 10,000 Page Documents – Enterprise Viewer in “view mode” is about 2 to 3 times faster than the typical viewing options Browser Default and PDFJS. The Alfresco Enterprise Viewer achieves the performance because it avoids loading the entire document into the browser at once. By loading only the pages in view, the document, and particularly the first page, is shown to the user quicker.
TSG/Alfresco have been supporting AWS users for years and due to our prior work with S3 for our DynamoDB benchmark, the integration for a standalone S3 viewer was an easy next step.
Alfresco Enterprise Viewer can view a variety of file formats including video and audio and does not require additional desktop applications.
Alfresco Enterprise Viewer allows for a download option but it can be disabled to support security and reduce desktop clutter.
Amazon S3 is great option for content storage, but lacks an in-browser viewer and interaction tool. The Alfresco Enterprise Viewer provides in-browser viewing for S3 content for a cleaner, richer user experience.
Look for an upcoming post about adding annotations to an S3 object and let us know your thoughts on this article below.
Updated – 07/09/2020 – Now Alfresco Enterprise Viewer can also view Video files directly from S3, as well as annotate objects stored in S3. For annotation, the annotations are stored directly in S3.