I was having drinks with Cheryl McKinnon when she was in town a couple weeks ago when we started talking about DOCS Open. I used to work for Hummingbird before I ever saw Documentum, so it was a walk down memory lane for us (Cheryl arrived at Open Text through Hummingbird).
It got me thinking about people’s first Content Management application. Like a first kiss, it always holds a special place in your heart. So today I am going to reminisce about my first Content Management application…DOCS Open 3.5.x.
DOCS Open as a Platform
These days, I seem to talk about using ECM as a platform quite a bit. There is a good reason. Back in 1997, I was the Technical Lead for a project that was using DOCS Open 3.5.x as a document repository for office documents. It wasn’t just a repository though. It was the backbone for a Correspondence Tracking system at the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
Called SCATS, it started as an Access ’95 application integrated with DOCS Open. Over time, the table were moved to SQL Server and the system was upgraded to Access ’97. After that, we upgraded from DOCS Open 3.5.x to 3.7.x, giving us a 32-bit application (10 years later and my ECM system is still 32-bit). The next step was to move the interface to Visual Basic. The only problem there was the advent of the web. The system owners wanted SCATS to become a web application. That was a decision that was at least five years too early as the application was rich in functionality.
Through all of this, DOCS Open performed admirably. DOCS Open was simple and it did what we asked. I haven’t enjoyed such functional simplicity since I left DOCS Open. With the upgrade to Office ’97, we were able to use ODMA (awesome). I then promptly had to write a macro to allow users to opt-out of saving to DOCS Open with a separate menu item.
I learned a lot of tricks back then, including some that I still use today. It was a great time and I became a believer in how technology would allow us to change the way we worked.
Where I Went From There
In 1998 I went to work directly for PC DOCS/Fulcrum (the name after the merge with Fulrum) as a consultant. I got to play with DOCS Open in lots of different environments and use the Fusion platform for Cyber DOCS. I was there when Hummingbird acquired the company.
While there, I got to go to my first real conference, PowerSummit ’99 in Orlando, FL where I got to perform demos in the main product booth. I still have the shirt, though it is nearing retirement. To this day, I still wonder why any marketing person would give out a long-sleeve mock-turtleneck to attendees of a conference in Florida? It was February, but it was FLORIDA!!!
At the end of 1999, I was tired of being on the road, and as I was getting married in 2000, I decided to get a job closer to home with less travel. That led me to a local integrator that was partnered with Documentum. However, I still ran DOCS Open on my home computer, and my work one, for several years.
Say what you want about 2-tiered fat applications, they worked well.
I’m not tagging anyone, but I would like to hear what your first application was. Either leave a comment or write a post and tag me in it. Let’s talk about what made you commit to the content space.