I was pretty busy these days with being involved in a startup openings and now as a co-founder I am glad to announce its name iCodix. Our aim is to provide Java consulting services and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, especially based on the Alfresco platform. At this stage, where iCodix is just starting, we have an ajax based UI framework for Alfresco called Jibe (former AlfExt).
A lot of components are already implemented and some of them can be seen in the demos available here. However, one could add very quickly new components or layouts as there are a lot of 'cut' points' on which it is possible to attach any behavior or interaction with other systems.
Jibe is an addon to the Alfresco platform and we consider it as a UI framework for Alfresco, which is not yet replacing the complete Alfresco feature set but it is not said it will not. Alfresco is also working on some new UIs but they do not target the same market and the same level of integration. Jibe's components are all linked by events and thus it is easy to catch an event on some node or properties and to show or to act in any other component.
An integration with Groovy is implemented in Jibe and from now on if you are using Jibe, it is not needed to restart the server as far as the UI components configuration is concerned as well as the Groovy services that are integrating third party codes with the Jibe UI.
The deployment is done as any other Alfresco modules and Jibe coexists with the exiting Alfresco JSF client as well as with any other Alfresco UI clients. The Jibe framework contains a core module and other modules which are enabling different parts of the system like repository browsing or workflow management.
As an example of how an application could reuse Jibe and its powerful integration aspect, we integrated the opensource VoIP Asterisk server as a module where Alfresco is turned into a call/contact center, where Alfresco users are becoming agents and where documents are linked to incoming or outgoing calls. With the power of jBPM it is not that hard to implement a predictive dialer within the same and user friendly UI.
Well, our opinion is that Jibe is the UI layer where you could integrate different applications and to allow it to look as one. It comes out of the box with a powerful content management system which is Alfresco and it can turn on your world and your business :)
More about Jibe architecture can be found here. Although it is an old description but it could give you some ideas.