Mayan EDMS book review

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Mayan EDMS book review

Post by PaulJones » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:45 am

First impressions

The book seems feels a bit scary at first given the number of pages and the
amount of information it has. This is however not the case.

The price was surprisingly low, even for an introductory offer. At $4.99 US,
there is no reason not to buy it.

The book is distributed as a PDF. PDF are somewhat cumbersome on some devices.
The author mentions that other formats might become available based on demand.


The book starts with some introductions. The genesis story of Mayan is
very interesting and besides the historical significance also provides
a good insight into the mind of the author. It is a very inspiring story on its

Aspects of the book itself are then introduced. Things like the typesetting
used and what each of the formatted text means. This small detail helps a lot
understand what roles the different parts of the text play when following
the tutorials.

The book devotes a chapter to each feature. The layout of each chapter is
the same: a quick introduction, an in-depth explanation, how-tos, and

The concepts are modeled after existing office vocabulary.
This, the author hopes, would lower the learning curve and increase the
familiarity for first-time users. I agree with that assertion. The metaphors
and similes do make it easier to anchor Mayan concepts. Examples of these
are: using an image of an old slide projector in the index mirroring chapter.
The projector takes one medium (a transparency film) and converts it into another
(a projected image). It provides viewers access to the information without
providing access to the original medium. Another example is using a card reference
system image for the smart links chapter. Smart links create links between
the documents without changing how they are organized. If you've used the card
reference in your library, it works in the same way. The books remain
physically categorized in the shelves using something like the Dewey Decimal
System ( ... sification),
while the card reference allows you to find the same book by author, title,
year of publication.

Chapters are grouped into parts. Some chapters are group into the same part
based on their functional similarity, while others are group based on the
skill level required to understand them.

The learning curve is adequate. Each part introduces topics that are
required to understand the next ones. In that sense, this book is best read
linearly at first. Once you are proficient, you can jump back and
forwards and use it as a manual or a reference.

After the advanced parts, the book includes some even more advanced parts.
Things like API references, API schemas, installation, Docker, troubleshooting.
These additional parts are beyond what most users of Mayan will need and felt
a bit out of place. I understand the author wanted to provide the most value
for the price, but these would be better suited for another book targeted at
operations or integration specialists.

The good

Quite a bit. The wealth of information packed into the 300+ pages is worth
way more than the initial price of $4.99 US. This book has a lot of value.


The size. At 300+ pages, it is a bit intimidating.

Lack of a hard copy availability. Since this book works also as a reference,
it would be of greater use to have in physical medium. There are blank pages
after each chapter titled "NOTES" which make guess this is being considered.
I can see myself bookmarking and scribbling all over this book in hard copy mode
next to my computer as I take on learning Mayan.

The ugly

Honestly, nothing. I struggled to find anything in or about the book that would
put me off reading it.


Since new editions of the book will need to be published for each major version,
a sort of season's pass would be good. The pass would provide a specific number
of licenses for the book for a specific time frame or version range. Say for
example, Version 3 to 4 pass. This would cover 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 up to
the last 3.x or first 4.0 versions. This would benefit users with long term
commitments to their Mayan installs.

Volume discount. This would be ideal for teams.

Split the book into multiple books, each for a target audience. For example,
  • User level 1: new users, users with some familiarity.
  • User level 2: experienced/advanced users.
  • Operations: Devops personnel. People that will install Mayan for others but will not use it themselves.
  • Developers: People that will be writing plugins, make customizations, or use Mayan's API.
  • DB managers: Database schemas for people that need to take care of the actual data that Mayan stores.
  • Hard code: Nitty-gritty internals, a sort of "Mayan under the hood".
  • Training: a training guide for trainers.

Final thoughts

This is a fantastic development in the story of the Mayan project. While
English is not the first language of the author, it doesn't distract or impede
enjoying the book. On the contrary, it gets you more respect for the author.
If writing a book in your native language is a daunting task, imagine writing
one in another language.

Besides being a well-written work, it validates the project itself. When you
can write a 300+ pages book about something you created, it means you've
reached an important and noteworthy milestone in its development.

That you and I can get this book and be a part of that milestone
for the price of a coffee, well that's just the cherry on the top.

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Re: Mayan EDMS book review

Post by rosarior » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:15 pm

Thanks for taking the time to write this! Also thanks for the suggestions.

I wanted to give as much material to the initial supporters of the book but I agree, it is a lot of material and it will only continue to grow as the remaining chapters get included. I will try to split the book into the least amount of versions as possible.

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Re: Mayan EDMS book review

Post by KevinPawsey » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:38 am

I concur that this is a VERY helpful, and much-needed reference book.

Personally I find it helpful as a book to dip into for the parts that I need, and use the PDF readers "find" facility to dip into the sections and point me in the right direction.

The thing that is still twisting my brain is the Django formatting of stuff... such as I am now starting to implement the POP3 scraping method of uploading documents, and looking at this document there isn't really much information on how to create the Metadata Type to import the "From" of the email.

Overall this book is a worthwhile investment for two reasons:
1. it does cover some of the finer points of Mayan-EDMS and it's principles and methods of working, and it will assist you in anything from the basic deployment to complex multi-box deployments for larger installations.
2. it supports the creation of this amazing software... I mean... it is $4, and this EDMS is amazing... there is no doubt about it... this has got to be the best document management system I have looked at for versatility and functionality... just amazing, and it deserves support.

Go buy the document now! .... even if you don't read it all... go buy it!

Not much of a review, other than just to say the OP did a great job of explaining the document and its uses, and it is worth every penny... cent... whatever your currency is :)
Running Mayan-EDMS on: OpenMediaVault, (Docker plugin), on x86 dual-core

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Re: Mayan EDMS book review

Post by rosarior » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:18 am

Thank you very much Kevin for this!
The thing that is still twisting my brain is the Django formatting of stuff... such as I am now starting to implement the POP3 scraping method of uploading documents, and looking at this document there isn't really much information on how to create the Metadata Type to import the "From" of the email.
The "From" and "Subject" metadata for email sources are just regular metadata type you create. You can create for example a metadata type: "Work email subject" and assign it to a document type you expect to receive from you work email. When you create the POP3 source, assign the "Work email subject" as the metadata type that will "hold" the subject from the email from which documents will be extracted. Same thing for the "From" metadata type. This allows you to "save" the email information that created the documents.

Thanks again for the review!

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Re: Mayan EDMS book review

Post by tainman » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:59 pm

Mayan is an incredible piece of software, a great productivity and business tool!
The book fits perfectly with software. Great for self-study for novices or as reference material for more experience users. This book is a must have and a great deal, get it!

Like @KevinPawsey said, this is not much of a review just sharing my $.02! :lol:

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