D6, ECM 2.0’s Foundation

Well, EMC World didn’t give us much new, but it confirmed a lot of important facts about the upcoming release, as well as labeling their thought process in the marketing world. Each product has some neat new features, but I am only going to hit the big ones that stick out in my mind. Have a question on it, leave a comment and I’ll see if I know, or maybe another reader will.

NOTE: These features could change! Having managed release cycles for a few products, it is simply amazing how much can change at the last minute. From my discussions, I feel pretty confident that these features will be delivered or I wouldn’t be taunting you with them.

  • Aspects: If you don’t know what Aspects are, they are a part of the Object-Oriented world that basically adds another dimension to the complexity of any OO design or implementation. That being said, they can make life much easier. Right now, say you have an object type for project documents. You have a couple of pieces of meta-data including a Project lookup. No biggie, extend dm_document (or your enterprise document type). What if you have project emails coming in through DCO? You have to extend the dm_mail_archive type in the same manner. Thus you are managing the model in 2 places. This can get worse, but we’ll stop there. With Aspects, you can create a Project Aspect and apply it to the types dynamically. That’s right, Aspects can be applied at any time to a document, not just when a document is created. Ain’t life grand?
  • TaskSpace: This is a new UI into the Documentum world. It isn’t just a way to charge people for a new interface, it is actually useful. The key new UI behind their Transactional Content offering, it takes a user straight into their Documentum Inbox. Once their, they can look at task information and see the actual content in the same web page. Using the Brava! viewer from Informative Graphics, users can annotate and process their work within one screen. In addition, it introduces “Smart Folders”. These are just canned searches that return all content with, for example, Account #43839. The user doesn’t need to navigate the folder hierarchy to see all the related content. This is something that if you haven’t seen and you use workflows, you need to see.
  • Improved BOCS: Right now, Branch Office Caching Services can only cache data that has already been requested by someone accessing that server. In D6, you can use predictive caching to have the content ready and waiting. PLUS, it will have write-back capabilities so that distant users don’t have to wait for the content to get back to the Content Server before they continue working on something else. This is going to make the One Repository model truly viable for the global organization.
  • Documentum Foundation Classes: This is a big change. EMC is moving to a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This is going to make life a lot easier down the road to write new user interfaces and to have different systems interact together. I already have uses for this on my projects. EMC is already using them. The new SharePoint Services for Documentum coming in D6 sp1 is going to be built on this completely. Following that will be the next generation of eRoom built using ASP .NET as the interface and Content Server as the backend.
  • Java Libraries: I wrote previously that this was the biggest risk, and I stand by that statement. However, it also offers one of the greatest boons to every Linux lover out there. Right now, Content Server is certified by OS and Processor. Same for the install package. In D6, theoretically you can just drop the WAR file into an App Server and you are done. I’m sure that there will be a few details, but this opens Linux up to non-Intel platforms and lets IT shops everywhere stick with what they know. The only question, how will the classify the supported platforms? For that we will have to wait for the release notes.