Introductory tour

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Document Management System Introductory Tour


Clock - Total tour time: 1 hour 20 mins

Warning You will need the following:

  • Webrecs Cloud subscription - if you don't have one please go to the The Webrecs Shop for a one month free trial.
  • Browser (preferably Chrome)
  • Browser popups enabled

Welcome

Welcome to the Introductory Tour for our Webrecs document management system, where we hope to give you an idea of the sorts of things which Webrecs can do which will make your dealings with documents, customers, suppliers, staff and even other 3rd party systems more efficient, manageable and enjoyable.


The Webrecs document management system is a highly customised, hosted version of the Alfresco Open Source document enterprise content management system (as a matter of fact Webrecs put Alfresco in the cloud before Alfreso did !). Check out the Alfresco site to access plenty of detail about the standard product including the Alfresco Cloud version.

Webrecs has taken the base product and applied over 7 years' worth of development consisting of over 100 bug-fixes, custom features and integrations to make the system as easy as possible to use with very little training, yet retain the enormous configurability of the standard Alfresco product. This introductory tour hopes to give you a taste of what is immediately there to use, as well as pointing out some avenues for further exploration.

To take the tour you need a login to your own Webrecs system - if you don't have one please go to The Webrecs Shop for a one month free trial. Once logged in as per your welcome email, you will

  • Saunter down the Share boulevard of dashboards
  • Wander the alleyways of the main Repository
  • Stroll through the lanes of drag 'n drop and document conversions
  • Explore the avenues of custom collaboration and project sites
  • Meander along the integration path by adding documents into your favourite accounting system (if it happens to be Xero ... more to follow soon )
  • Discover the Alfresco Explorer interface where we take in the sights of user management by adding staff, customers and suppliers , (peeking into security and access control)
  • Take a well-earned rest by spending some time in the mail room watching documents fly to and from the repository


Let's start !


Share and Dashboard

Clock - Time for this section 15 mins

Login and profile

First, login to the Share interface of your subscription using the link provided in your welcome email - this will be something like

https://<my business name>.hosts.webrecs.com/share

where

<my business name> is the domain name you have chosen for your subscription and will be in your Welcome email

We strongly recommend the use of Google Chrome as the browser, although Firefox, IE and Safari are also supported.

Use the admin user (who has full control over your entire system )and the password supplied in your welcome email, typically named "admin" (for Webrecs VPCloud subscriptions ) or "admin@<my business name>" eg. admin@acme (for Webrecs Cloud Subscriptions)


Share login


You should be presented with a dashboard similar to that below (but of course without the blue arrows and explanatory comments )


Share dashboard


It is a good idea to set up your profile and change your password immediately. Click on the Administrator drop down (top right) and select "My Profile". Click on "Edit Profile" and set your details up including your favourite image which you wish people to see in your profile (if you like). The most important thing is to change your email address to that which you can access since the system sends notifications to this address. NB: Don't forget to click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the screen. Finally change your password by clicking on the "Change Password" link and entering the old password followed by the new password twice. Return to your dashboard by clicking on the "My Dashboard" image (top left)


Edit Profile

Configure dashboard

Configure dashboard


Let's now go and configure our dashboard by adding another dashlet. Click on the Customize Dashboard icon after clicking back to the main dashboard through the "Home" link on the top bar. In the ensuing page, change the layout with the "Change Layout" button. You can also look at the the dashlets which are currently available with the "Add Dashlets" button, then drag and drop the dashlets you want to use onto one of the columns of the dashboard below.

Customise dashboard


Among useful dashlets are "My Tasks", "My Repository Documents" , "Web View" , "RSS Feed". For the sake of this tour, make sure that you have a "Web View" dashlet and a "My Repository Documents" dashlet on your dashboard in Column 2 by dragging and dropping the dashlet there. It is often useful to have multiple of the same dashlet on the dashboard to provide different views into your documents - each dashlet can be separately configured. You can remove dashlets from your dashboard by dragging them into the rubbish bin.

Click OK to save your changes.


Drag n drop


Let's now configure the Web View dashlet (we will do the Webrecs Document Dashlet once we have added some documents a little later). If you hover over the top right corner of the dashlet , a little pen appears. Click on this, and in the ensuing prompt add your favourite site (share trading, news, sport, whatever ) into the URL and give it a Title. Press OK and hey presto, you have a mini web view on your dashboard - you can click on the title at any time and it will open your favourite web site in a new tab. In the sample below, we are using the E-trade share trading platform by adding https://invest.etrade.com.au/Home.aspx as the site we like.

Web View


If you have the time, you can check out many of the other standard dashlets to populate your dashboard. Webrecs is continually adding useful dashlets - currently in development are Timesheet, Bug-tracking and Accounting (Saasu, MYOB, Quicken ). Where possible these are single-sign on - in other words you don't need to type in user-name and password, they are remembered from your settings. But onto Documents ....

Working with your documents

Clock - Time for this section 20 mins


The dashboards we have seen provide a great overview as to what is happening in our system, and it is possible to view documents directly from the dashboard, but to do most of the real work required of a document management system, we need to access our main document store or repository. It is here that we are able to add, title, modify, search, delete and upload documents to 3rd party systems.

There are 2 ways in which to access the repository - simply click on the "Repository" tab at the top menu bar, which takes you into a full-window Folder view, or hover over the your Webrecs document dashlet containing a list of documents and click on the "full screen" icon , which takes you into a filtered full-window view of the documents.


Access repository


Of course at this stage we don't really have any documents in our repository, so let's set about changing that. Click on the "Repository" icon and navigate to a folder, say "Company Documents/Company/Legal" which is the main folder for all Legal related documents. At this point it is worth noting that the folder structure has been preconfigured for the requirements of a typical business, and maybe take a little time exploring this. Of course it can be customised to your heart's content, just bear in mind that any changes to folder structures should be reflected in document type-mappings - but we are getting too detailed already. Suffice to say you can change what you like.

Adding documents

We can add documents into this folder in 7 different ways :

  1. Dragging and dropping a document directly into the browser from our desktop
  2. Emailing attachments directly to the repository
  3. Creating HTML or text content directly (by clicking on the "Create Content" button)
  4. Uploading a document from our desktop by clicking on "Upload"
  5. Dragging and dropping a document from the desktop into the mounted drive containing this folder (Webrecs VPS only)
  6. Synchronising your scanned documents using Webrecs SyncScan (Webrecs VPS only)
  7. Copying documents to and from Google Docs, Dropbox and OneDrive.

We will try methods 1 and 2 in this tour.

So let's drag and drop a document into folder "Company Documents/Company/Legal" directly from the desktop into the browser. If you have a "tiff" or scanned document handy on your PC, we can demonstrate 2 nifty features - document conversion and OCR. If not, not to worry, you can use another document type.

Repository


Note

  1. How the tiff document is converted to PDF. Now try searching on a word from the document by typing the work into the search box (top right). If the image was reasonable qualtiy and the word clear, the document should be found.
  2. That's right, the system converts tif to PDF and OCR's and free-text indexes the document, which is a long-winded way of saying you can search on the contents of scanned documents as well as office, email or text based documents.
  3. That the document has been given properties of Doc Type "Company" , Sub Type "Legal" - these are derived from the folder you drag the document to. So whether you like to search for documents in folders or with attributes you will find exactly the same document.

Select multiple other documents from your desktop , maybe a combination of pdf and images (jpg) , and drag them in one go into the repository. Again all documents get titled and where possible thumbnails generated.

It is as easy as that to add ad-hoc documents to your repository.

When bulk uploads are required we can drop entire folders, email documents with multiple attachments or use Webrecs SyncScan to synchronise our local scanner folders with our Webrecs Cloud repository.

Viewing documents

By default , clicking on the document icon or thumbnail displays the document differently to to clicking on the document link. This is both on the dashboard and in the repository. Let's get onto our dashboard and try each of these in the "Webrecs Document" dashlet.


Dashboard viewers


Dashboard viewers 2


You will find that clicking on the the icon/thumbnail pops up an Adobe Flash viewer , with all possible document properties and functions including document comments, likes and tags, whereas clicking on the document link launches a the standard browser pop-up only which only displays the document (if possible) and is much quicker. (Note: We can only display document content that can be natively rendered in the browser like PDFs and image files etc., not Microsoft Office documents.)

Now let's view the same documents in the repository view by clicking on the "Fullscreen view" Fullscreen view on the Webrecs Document dashlet, and then clicking on the icon/thumbnail, document link and finally the document action "View in Browser" View in browser.


Repository viewers


You will notice that the icon/thumbnail launches a similar Adobe Flash viewer albeit in the same window (hint - to get back to the repository click on the back button or the folder breadcrumb) , the document link launches an "Edit properties" popup in addition to the simple viewer and tries to postion these windows across the entire screen (hint - to close both windows , click on the "Close" button in "Edit properties" window) - this is great for document keying, especially with multiple documents as will be seen later. The "View in browser" action launches the same browser viewer as with the document link , but normally not as a popup , rather as a new tab (or in fact whatever your browser configuration dictates)


Dashboard viewers 2


Where possible, the system tries to use the same viewer window, so if, for example, you move it across to a second monitor, it can remain as your "viewer window" as you click through different documents

Phew. Seems overly complex ? Not really, each seems to work out OK once you get the hang of it, but in a forthcoming release it will all be configurable to your personal tastes.

Document operations - single

But let's see what operations we can perform on single documents. Hover over the right-hand side of the document row and notice how a pop-up menu appears with multiple options. Download, View in browser, Edit properties, upload new version , edit offline (you can only edit text and html inline), copy , move , delete , start workflow or publish. The latter 2 are advanced and will not be covered in this tour, the remainder are reasonably self-explanatory. Notice how you can toggle between a detailed and a simple view (top left) , sort documents in ascending or descending order on many different fields, view thumbnails and of course view documents.


And of course don't forget to try drag-and-drop from one repository folder to another (hint - drag the icon/thumbnail part of the document). Remember that this only works in folder view, not filter view .


Individual documents


Let's now go back to our dashboard to see what effect this has on our Webrecs Document Dashlet. Click on "My Dashboard" and notice how the dashboard is filling up with items related to activity in our system, whether documents, tasks or people. But let's focus a little on the Webrecs Document Dashlet - note how all of the documents we have just added appear as "Unprocessed documents". Click on the main document filter dropdown (the "Uprocessed Documents" button ) and filter by "Processed documents" - note how our view is empty - clearly we have not processed any documents... . But there is more advanced filtering we can do too. By default the dashlet looks at ALL document types across ALL folders, but we can tailor that by clicking on the pencil which appears when you hover over the top right corner of the dashlet.

You can rename the dashlet, filter by a folder path, document type, subtype, even customer name. Try some of these options out and see how the list of documents changes. Note how the available document sub-types change for each of the document types selected. Play around with different combinations of filters and imagine how you could have a number of these dashlets appropriately titled showing exactly what you need to know at a glance.

Document operations - bulk

But where things get really interesting is when you click on the "Fullscreen" hover-over icon (top right corner of the dashlet ), because now you are working directly on documents which you have selected through your filtering as needing processing and which may reside in different folders / subfolders. You are not restricted to a single folder view.


Multiple documents


You can do fairly basic things copying, moving and deleting multiple documents, but also more complex tasks such as starting workflows (eg. document review), compressing and downloading the resultant zip file of multiple documents (note that at this stage this only works if all documents are in the same folder ), setting one or more properties of documents in bulk while leaving the other properties as is - for example changing the status, or document type of many documents to be the same. The final 2 tasks warrant special mention -"Edit multiple doc properties" provides a fully fledged data-keying platform using 2 browser windows, one for keying and one for viewing. You can move between documents easily with "Next" and "Previous" links, and saving changes to document properties in the properties window automatically moves to the next document. The final item "Update third party" is a highly customized facility which allows you to add selected documents (or their properties and links) to a third-party system such as accounting, CRM or any other platform which provides an interface. Currently, you can check this out with the Xero accounting system - but this is in a separate topic.


Working with your clients

Clock - Time for this section 20 mins


The dashboards we have seen provide a great overview as to what is happening in our system, and it is possible to view documents directly from the dashboard, but to do most of the real work required of a document management system, we need to access our main document store or repository. It is here that we are able to add, title, modify, search, delete and upload documents to 3rd party systems.

There are 2 ways in which to access the repository - simply click on the "Repository" icon, which takes you into a full-window Folder view, or hover over the your Webrecs document dashlet containing a list of documents and click on the "full screen" icon , which takes you into a filtered full-window view of the documents.


Access repository


Of course at this stage we don't really have any documents in our repository, so let's set about changing that. Click on the "Repository" icon and navigate to a folder, say "Company Documents/Company/Legal" which is the main folder for all Legal related documents. At this point it is worth noting that the folder structure has been preconfigured for the requirements of a typical business, and maybe take a little time exploring this. Of course it can be customised to your heart's content, just bear in mind that any changes to folder structures should be reflected in document type-mappings - but we are getting too detailed already. Suffice to say you can change what you like.

Adding documents

We can add documents into this folder in 7 different ways :

  1. Dragging and dropping a document directly into the browser from our desktop
  2. Emailing attachments directly to the repository
  3. Creating HTML or text content directly (by clicking on the "Create Content" button)
  4. Uploading a document from our desktop by clicking on "Upload"
  5. Dragging and dropping a document from the desktop into the mounted drive containing this folder (Webrecs VPS only)
  6. Synchronising your scanned documents using Webrecs SyncScan (Webrecs VPS only)
  7. Copying documents to and from Google Docs, Dropbox and OneDrive.

We will try methods 1 and 2 in this tour.

So let's drag and drop a document into folder "Company Documents/Company/Legal" directly from the desktop into the browser. If you have a "tiff" or scanned document handy on your PC, we can demonstrate 2 nifty features - document conversion and OCR. If not, not to worry, you can use another document type.

Repository


Note

  1. How the tiff document is converted to PDF. Now try searching on a word from the document by typing the work into the search box (top right). If the image was reasonable qualtiy and the word clear, the document should be found.
  2. That's right, the system converts tif to PDF and OCR's and free-text indexes the document, which is a long-winded way of saying you can search on the contents of scanned documents as well as office, email or text based documents.
  3. That the document has been given properties of Doc Type "Company" , Sub Type "Legal" - these are derived from the folder you drag the document to. So whether you like to search for documents in folders or with attributes you will find exactly the same document.

Select multiple other documents from your desktop , maybe a combination of pdf and images (jpg) , and drag them in one go into the repository. Again all documents get titled and where possible thumbnails generated.

It is as easy as that to add ad-hoc documents to your repository.

When bulk uploads are required we can drop entire folders, email documents with multiple attachments or use Webrecs SyncScan to synchronise our local scanner folders with our Webrecs Cloud repository.

Viewing documents

By default , clicking on the document icon or thumbnail displays the document differently to to clicking on the document link. This is both on the dashboard and in the repository. Let's get onto our dashboard and try each of these in the "Webrecs Document" dashlet.


Dashboard viewers



Sites and Collaboration

Clock - Time for this section 20 mins


Everyone still with us? Good. Now we are going to look at Sites and how they can be used to create project and/or collaboration sites with external and internal stakeholders, which are self-contained web sites which we can use to store documents, wikis, blogs, comments, lists and any other artefacts of a project or other shared endeavour. It is not only important to be able to create, view and manage these artefacts, but to do it in a controlled and secure manner to all users who are party to this collaboration. You can use this to work on multiple projects with outsiders such as clients and contractors on various projects.

Let's get back to our Share interface - remember https://<your business name>.hosts.webrecs.com/share, which will take us to our familiar dashboard view.


Creating a new site

Let's create a new site by clicking on "Sites - Create site" from the dashboard. Enter some details, in my case the site will be called "My project", url name is automatically created as "my-project", it is a collaboration site , and the visibility will be public ( the difference between public and private sites has to do with who can access the site.


Create Site


You will be presented with the default site dashboard which you can customise and start to work with. Remember this is a self-contained site which is completely different from your normal dashboard. Let's remove the Welcome dashlet and customise the remaining dashlets in exactly the same way as we have done for our main dashboard. I am interested in Site Activities, Site Content, a Calendar, the site Wiki , an Image previewer and some ad-hoc data lists, so I add these to my dashboard. I change the layout to be 3-column as well.


Site Dashboard Config


My site dashboard is pretty boring. I have no content, users or anything other than a document library so let's see to that ...


Site Dashboard

Customising your site

Let's create a blog, a wiki and a calendar. Click on the "More" button next to the "Customise Dashboard" and select "Customize Site" Drag and drop the Calendar, Wiki and Blog to the current site pages next to the document library. Click on OK .


Customise site


Note how the items we have just added are now available as menu items on our menu-bar.


Customise site


Click on the Calendar link, and add a new calendar entry to your Calendar in much the same way as you would do with Outlook or Google.


Calendar


Click on the Document Library link and add a document to your site document library by dragging and dropping a file from your local desktop into the browser


Drag n drop


Return to the site dashboard and note how your dashlets all reflect the activities which have taken place on the site.


Site Dashboard


A collaboration site is not much use if we don't have people to collaborate with, so let's add some people to access our site.

Inviting people to your site

Go to "Site Members" which may or may not be under "More"(depending on how many links are there) beside the Customize Dashboard Icon, and then click on the "Invite" button. In this dialog there is the ability to add existing people or to add external users - let us do the latter. Enter the first name , last name and email address of the external user you wish to invite to the site (make the email address something you can access so you can see notifications and the invitation ) and select "Add" . The user will be added to the Invite Users panel to the top-right. In the Invite Users panel select the role which you wish this user to have (Consumer = Read only , Contributor = can add documents , Collaborator = can add, modify, delete documents , Manager can modify user rights on documents) and click "Invite" . You should get a message saying that one invite was sent out.


Invite users


And if you go to your mailbox which you entered for the new user, you should see an invite like the below. On accepting the invitation, the new user has the ability to login to the site with the privileges you have granted him/her and start collaborating with all other site members. I am sure that this little taste of the power and flexibility of this collaboration platform will get your creative juices flowing! Use it to collaborate with external clients, contractors and stakeholders on projects, and close down the site when you are done!


User invite email


There is plenty of other functionalities to check out here as well, such as the blogs, wiki, site lists , notifications and so on, but since this is only an overview, we do need to move on. Feel free to stay, though, and explore sites further. The next stop on our tour is the simplest interface of all, the iPad application (for those who do not have iPads, be rest assured that similar functionalities exist for iPhones, Android phones and no-doubt other tablets soon).


Note

  1. How the tiff document is converted to PDF. Now try searching on a word from the document by typing the work into the search box (top right). If the image was reasonable qualtiy and the word clear, the document should be found.
  2. That's right, the system converts tif to PDF and OCR's and free-text indexes the document, which is a long-winded way of saying you can search on the contents of scanned documents as well as office, email or text based documents.
  3. That the document has been given properties of Doc Type "Company" , Sub Type "Legal" - these are derived from the folder you drag the document to. So whether you like to search for documents in folders or with attributes you will find exactly the same document.

Select multiple other documents from your desktop , maybe a combination of pdf and images (jpg) , and drag them in one go into the repository. Again all documents get titled and where possible thumbnails generated.

It is as easy as that to add ad-hoc documents to your repository.

When bulk uploads are required we can drop entire folders, email documents with multiple attachments or use Webrecs SyncScan to synchronise our local scanner folders with our Webrecs Cloud repository.

Viewing documents

By default , clicking on the document icon or thumbnail displays the document differently to to clicking on the document link. This is both on the dashboard and in the repository. Let's get onto our dashboard and try each of these in the "Webrecs Document" dashlet.


Dashboard viewers

iPad interface

Clock - Time for this section 10 mins


All the functionality we have covered up till now will also work in a Safari browser , so you can always use the inbuilt Safari browser to run through this demo on your iPad. But there is a custom iPad application which provides a nice, easy way to search, display and email documents from your subscription. First up you need to install the iPad application in your iPad from the App store (search for "Alfresco") or http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alfresco/id459242610

Once downloaded, go to "Settings" - "Alfresco" and set your settings to be exactly as the screenshot below :


iPad settings


Then click on the Alfresco Icon on your desktop. In the screen which appears after you touch the initial Zia Consulting screen, select "I already have an account" and then "Alfresco Server" . In the following dialog box enter your user name (that which was sent in your welcome email typically "admin@<subscription name>" - in my case "admin@test4" ) , your password (from your welcome email) your server address as per your welcome email, typically "mt1.hosts.webrecs.com" , and the HTTPS switch ON


iPad login


Click "Save" and in the next dialog click "Browse Documents".

Hooray ! You should now get yet another view of your documents in both your sites and your repository.


iPad login


You can browse through the repository or site folder structures, or do a search on document properties and content by clicking on the "Search" icon at the bottom and entering some search terms for documents you might have added - in my case I am looking for a water bill and simply type in "water" . When I click on the found PDF I get the document displayed in my screen as below.


iPad login


You can explore the other features of this application including emailing documents, adding comments to documents, downloading documents, viewing site activities and so on. It is exciting to see how these changes are reflected in the other interfaces on other devices in real time.

Wrap-up and more tour ideas

Sadly that concludes our tour.

Here are some more tour ideas, and of course the Webrecs Wiki is a treasure trove of information for those hungry for more details.

Handling paperless accounts with Webrecs and Xero

Managing projects with Webrecs

Running a SMSF practice with Webrecs

Running a Financial practice with Webrecs


Hopefully you have discovered enough to allow you to understand how the Webrecs system can work for your business, whether you be a

  • Financial or taxation practice
  • Web or creative agency
  • Software development shop
  • NGO / Not for profit organisation
  • Sole proprietor
  • Small/Medium Enterprise
  • Startup


If you want to

  • share documents with third parties
  • require access from anywhere

you might consider a Cloud-based document-sharing system of which Webrecs is one (of course there are many others for example - Google docs, Dropbox, Alfresco cloud ) - and frankly if that's where it ends

THEN

Webrecs might be overkill for you

BUT

If you feel you would like to

  • move towards an integrated paperless office
  • be able to manage both your company and your client's documents

THEN

Webrecs becomes interesting

OR

If you need to

  • manage projects with multiple distributed parties (with versioning, access control, wikis, blogs, user management etc. )

THEN

Webrecs becomes exciting

AND

If you would like the security of

  • nightly backups (and the ability to get them restored)
  • ability to upgrade to more disk/CPU/memory
  • local support
  • local hosting
  • the ability to customise beyond the cosmetic

THEN

Webrecs becomes compelling

OR

If you want to improve your efficiency with

  • a preconfigured system for your business type
  • integrated accounting and other LOB systems with single sign-on
  • identical storage and handling of ALL documents (whether mail, scanned or office)
  • searchable, easily added scanned documents
  • secure, fine-grained user management for customers, staff and project members

THEN

Webrecs becomes inevitable

AND

And if your requirements include

  • Relocatable User Backups
  • explorer mounted drives
  • deep customisation including unlimited alfresco customisation, mail-servers, timesheet systems, bug-tracking, wikis, CRM systems in your own cloud container

THEN

Webrecs becomes essential


Thanks for your time, hope to see you again soon.

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