Over the last few months, the EMC Developer Network has been starting the process of trying to build a community. They’ve recently added forums and are working at getting members of the Documentum community to not only write articles, but to comment upon them. Alan Zenreich, the main man behind the curtain at the Developer Network, is working to increase member involvement beyond just a few individuals.
When you look at the list of frequent participants, you see the same people, like Johnny Gee, that are active in the Support Forums and people from some of the larger Documentum integrators. One thing that I would like to do, aside from having myself and my team contribute more, is to try and encourage others in the community to participate.
Wikis, Blogs, and More
One thing that I talked to Alan about was the future of the Developer Network. The Developer Network is about providing a place for people to learn best practices, ask advice, and to find technical information to jumpstart Documentum solutions. Right now this is accomplished through discussion forums, a code exchange, and articles. However, this is going to grow.
We talked about bringing the site into the Web 2.0 universe. This was focused on many things. One was offering a place to host blogs. On thinking about this since then, many of the columns could be converted into blogs with invited authors and an editor reviewing and approving each entry. This would allow a more dynamic interaction and could lead to some interesting discussions. The discussions would also be right there and not stored in a separate forum.
The other interesting thought was adding wikis. These could be a collection of best practices, guides, and design patterns. Craig Randall has a great idea of turning large chunks, if not all, of the actual Documentum documentation into a wiki. He suggests, and I agree, that the Developer Network would be a good spot for hosting that wiki. It might turn out a Developer Guide with much better sample code that gets updated with known issues and work-arounds listed by version. If there are two ways to do something, it could show both.
Bex recently explained the key difference between the blog and the wiki from a selfless/selfish perspective. By providing both creative outlets, the Developer Network can appeal to all sides of the people’s creative motivation. Alan is already thinking in that direction and I want to encourage him to continue that path.
Documenting Design Patterns
That’s right, design patterns. There are several patterns in the ECM world. There are some that are also specific to each platform. The scope all depends on what level of the design we are talking about. The Developer Network is starting this now.
The first one is related to a post I made a few months back. The topic is When to use registered tables versus object-types with no super type. Not your typical approach to documenting a Design Pattern. However, it is great for a few reasons:
- A thread was started for discussion.
- It was not posted with the intent that it was 100% completed. They plan to revise it to make it more complete based upon feedback.
- THEY ARE DOCUMENTING IT!!!
As mentioned above, this is the sort of thing that will evolve into a wiki in the future. One thing I would have is to provide a better format for organizing and documenting the patterns. However, it is great to have the process started. It can evolve and get to where it serves everyone’s needs.
A Self-Serving Plug
If you checked the RSS feed over to the right, assuming you are reading this around the time I am writing this, you may have noticed that I am the most recent Featured Blog on the Developer Network. I figured it was only a matter of time given the limited number of Documentum blogs out there. That is one reason I timed this post for now, to encourage consumers to start contributing.
On that note, I have contributed. I wrote an article for the EMC Developer Network for the Service Station column. It was suggested to me by Alan and I was happy to help out. I was able to pick my own topic, so I picked something that I’ve had to help several organizations do over the years. So I wrote about Upgrading Documentum Installations. If you read it and want to discuss it, you can talk about it with me on the Developer Network.
I will be contributing more articles, and I ask others to do the same. If you aren’t comfortable writing a full article, or have a topic you would like addressed, check the forums every few days. Answer a question, post an opinion, or ask advice. PARTICIPATE! The community is only as strong as its level of participation. Alan and his team are working to make it easier and more useful, but we need people to go online and support them as they work to make our lives easier.