Documentum D2 4.0 – Initial TSG Review

At EMC World  and in subsequent marketing efforts, Documentum has created quite a buzz around the D2 v4.0 release.  Documentum is promoting that D2’s powerful configuration services can deliver a modern client interface while simplifying the application implementation via configuration rather than code. Many Documentum users struggle with any new Documentum release in regards to whether the new product is worth the cost to procure and effort to implement. This blog will be an overview of our initial review efforts for D2 v4.0 functionality as well as provide a link to our initial whitepaper in the downloads section.  We also have a video posted in our learning zone for review.


D2 v4.0 comes with D2-Client v3.1 out of the box. This blog post refers to D2 v.4.0 is as D2 and D2-Client v.3.1 as D2-Client. D2 and D2-Client are both configurable through the D2-Config application.

Installation

We found both the D2 content and application server installation painless. The installation guide indicates that the D2 DocApp or the D2 DAR should be installed. We chose to install the DAR files rather than the DocApp. There are several plugins that can be applied to D2, for this basic implementation we just applied the widgets plugin.

Workspaces

In order to view content in D2, a workspace must be configured. A workspace is configured via an xml file specifying the widget names and locations and is then imported to the D2-Client. Within D2-Client, the widget names must match the names specified in the xml file. The approach to displaying repository content can give the admin a lot of flexibility in interface design but must be used strategically. D2 is packaged with internal widgets that display information related to repository objects. The admin should understand the needs of the workspace user and select widgets accordingly.  We learned that repository objects are specific to widget types; if a user has access to a repository object but does not have the related widget in their workspace, they are unable to view the repository object.

Creation and Import 

A creation matrix must be configured for a user to import and create data. Creation matrices specify the type of objects different user groups can create and import. A dictionary is necessary for the creation matrix to apply naming conventions to documents that users import. Dictionaries indicate naming conventions that should be applied to different lists.

Property Pages

Property pages are configured and applied to different document types to display document properties on widgets. When operating with properties pages in D2 we found several limitations.

  1. The properties widget fails to create a scroll bar for a properties page that exceeds the limits of the container.
  2. If a property page contains a dropdown with interdependencies, the user is unable to choose more than one value from the dropdown and a new variable cannot be passed in from the client.

Awareness of these two issues is important for any admin when creating a workspace. There are creative ways to get around these issues including changing the workspace layout so the properties widget is the height of the workspace.

Workflows

The next step in configuring our D2 resided in configuring workflows.  Functionality of the workflow within D2 is dependent on the following variables:

  • All tasks created in the workflow must be manual.
  • The same package is passed throughout the entire workflow.
  • In order to add performers to the workflow the add groups must be configured within Documentum Workflow Manager. Any configurations on top of these should be configured in the D2-Config.

The key in configuring effective D2 workflows is to create the most basic form of the workflow within Documentum Workflow Manager and building on it in the D2-Client. This process means the same workflow diagram executed in Webtop looks much different than D2.

Other Findings

One aspect we took into account was the stability of D2; specifically how updates made in the D2-Config affected D2 performance. We found updates made in the D2-Config, after refreshing D2, were evident and accessible in the client interface. However, the performance of certain widgets was not always consistent, requiring us to restart the application server more than once in our testing. Another issue in regards to stability is that a user is able to change from one widget to another  in their workspace. In our experience, we did not see any performance issues while changing widgets within the workspace and testing functionality.

Summary

D2 delivers a fast way to deliver a modern client interface through the simplified configuration implementation; however, an admin cannot let the ease of implementation blind them from the applications purpose. D2’s potential lies in the admin having a clear understanding of their D2 end users and using the flexibility of the application to their advantage.

We would recommend new Documentum clients or new projects conduct and evaluation of D2 for consideration for their projects.  For existing Webtop customers, we cannot recommend D2 at this time as:

  • We are not sure the functionality presented provides enough advantages in the current form to justify the cost (procure new licenses), training and migration effort required to replace a stable webtop instances.
  • We were somewhat skeptical of D2’s 4.0 stability during our development efforts.  As with other Documentum releases, we might recommend waiting until D2 4.1 for better features, performance and stability.
  • As pointed out in several posts on D2, we are not completely comfortable with the “configuration only” approach of D2.  Concerns include when customizations are mandatory from a compliance standpoint as well as a concern that customizations can be done but require Documentum consulting services.

If you would like more information please visit the Learning Zone (D2Demonstration), review our D2 Risk Mitigation Strategy post and our D2 white paper located in our downloads section.

7 thoughts on “Documentum D2 4.0 – Initial TSG Review

  1. Until they make this product as partially customizable, very few companies who have invested a lot of time and money in creating customized webtop solutions will move to this product.
    Another thing is a lot of the widgets don’t scream enterprise, after most companie suse Documentum as a enterprise product.

  2. I’ve seen your posts regarding D2 and the fact that EMC typically recommends that it should not be customized.
    I have worked on several project based on D2 3.0 and 3.1 for my french customers.
    According to the needs of our clients, we will develop several “plugins” (kind of customisation) that are very helpful and that can be easily detached from the client in case of migration.
    We have migrated from D2 2.6 to 3.1 and most of the plugin were still working fine.
    The correction of the others plugins took only 1 hour .

    So, you can add custom behavior , you just need to be careful the way you develop the customization.
    There are many options that can be used through the configuration already.

    • Fabrice – thanks for your comments. Many of our clients request major updates to core functionality in applications such as Webtop, so that’s where our comments in the article are coming from. We did notice that D2 supported plugins, but we didn’t see any documentation on how to create them.

      Just curious – have you tested the upgrade path to D2 4.0?

  3. I was involved in the early stage as one of our client was wondering if using D2 4.0 could be an option. But unfortunately , D2 4.0 didn’t support properly the virtual documents , 4.1 can now I think.
    Right now, I move to another customer outside of France , that will use D2 3.1 with a huge webservice framework based on D2 3.1 sdk.
    Therefore, I don’t really know yet how is a migration through D2 4.0

    If my colleagues work on the subject, I’ll ask them

    PS: regarding plugins, C6 has a small template case that we used to develop our own plugin.But It’s unwell documented.But the good part is that once you understand the philosophy, it’s really easy to add your own plugin in order to enhance D2 according to business rules.Lifecycle is also a good option to realize business rule through what we could say “fake lifecycle”

    I hope my answer will help you a little bit and feel free to ask any questions.Time for me to help as much as the community helped me up to now 🙂

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