Documentum Renewal: Architecting Content Applications

Of all my posts in this series, this is the one that is probably the least needed.  I say this because it looks like EMC is some of this now.  It does need to be said though, just so EMC know that we still care, and in case I am guessing wrong.  The themes for the Architecting of Content Applications is closely related to the Application Separation topic and in many ways, is the complement to the Focus on the Core edition.

I’m going to stay away from some specific feature requests for applications.  I would want to do complete run-downs on any app before I did that.  I want to be a little more strategic in my advice.

As always, please feel free to add/comment.

Old Reliable

I remember the WDK when it first started. Heck, I presented on integrating into the WDK at the 2003 Documentum Developer conference.  It was immensely better than RightSite, leveraged Java which was becoming a core technology for Documentum.  It allowed easier management of interface customizations.

It is now old.  Not just in tech years, but in dog years.  Webtop is still useful if for no other reason than it can test almost any Documentum feature from within an out-of-the-box interface.  For “power users”, it gives you lots of functionality.  For everyone else, it is a burden.

The problem is that EMC is now in a Catch-22.  If they get rid of Webtop, they have lost a great platform for testing all server features.  They would also have to replace Documentum Administrator.  I already have heard that TaskSpace will be moving away from the WDK in D7, but what about DA and Webtop?  Where will the equivalent apps live?

On the other hand, the WDK is old and tired.  Like any old race horse, it is time to put it out to pasture.  Maybe keeping it as a Content Server test-bed or as a development platform may be worthwhile.

Just remember EMC, if you do kill it, replace it.

Common Architecture

WDK-based apps have to go, so what now?  It used to be that if I could find a Java developer, they could use that skillset do to any Documentum customization.

Java isn’t going anywhere as it is a key part of the Business Object Framework and the basis of the entire DFC, which is the basis of DFS.  So do we want to start introducing more technologies for the user interfaces?

Here is where we need to take a lesson from CenterStage.  The tech is open and heavily based upon JavaScript, specifically ExtJS.  While it isn’t Java, it is related.  This is also the base platform for the next version of TaskSpace and xCP with D7.

If not already done, make it the core technology for ALL applications.  Forget Flash or Flex.  We don’t need to be having multiple developers and we can’t all afford to keep developers that are good at several languages.

CenterStage connects to the Content Server using DFS.  Make that the template for your business applications, like TaskSpace and Web Publisher.  That will help decouple from the Content Server.  That puts you one step from making those same applications work against CMIS, which allows you to sell those applications as standalone apps against CMIS repositories.

Which, if I count correctly, is another potential revenue stream.

It also allows me to use EMC applications fully against a Documentum repository and to find and use content on my “legacy” systems.  Migrations now become less of an issue when seeking to switch applications.

Play to Your Strengths

This will be short and sweet.  Documentum has always been one of the stronger ECM plays with workflow and BPM.  The introduction of ad-hoc approvals workflows in D5 was great.  I could quickly route a document for review to someone without creating a workflow and it would appear in their inbox with any other tasks.

So WHERE did it go?

Every single Knowledge Worker interface, CenterStage, Content Services for SharePoint, and the My Documentum suite failed to deliver an inbox.


Back in 2000, I worked with Plumtree, which later was acquired by BEA and then Oracle, to develop and test four gadgets/portlets.  Do you know what the most obvious/important one was?

…the Inbox.

Many Knowledge Workers may not live in the Inbox, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t need to visit.  Keep your eyes on the ball people.

Free the Applications!

Break FREE from the release cycle of the Content Server!

SEPARATE yourself from the numerical advancements of other products!

Make your version numbers MEAN something again!

Become ONE with the market and don’t just react, LEAD the market with your application features!

SAVE yourself from the evils bugs that reside in unrelated applications!

Become your OWN product! Be YOURSELF!

Can I get an AMEN!?!

4 thoughts on “Documentum Renewal: Architecting Content Applications

  1. Neil says:

    We actually miss the Documentum Desktop. The idea that everything has to run on the web is sort of limiting.

    Get rid of the UCF that would be a good one too.


  2. S H says:

    It Looks EMC Documentum is coming back to the desktop with the MyDocumentum suite of products.
    I think DA should be left alone, they could retire WDK but keep DA and bundle it as a part of Content Server.
    The point you make about the inbox is a great one.
    I am not for getting rid of UCF until a better solution is found. And UCF works great with DFS.


  3. Neil says:

    In our environment users can’t install anything. We have run I to a lot of problems with users getting th ucf installed. My only wish would be a usable alternative.


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