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Meanwhile at #MMTMDevCon – The EMC Developer Conference

November 14th, 2012 2 comments

Last week Vienna was the place for the annual Momentum conference, the place where the European Documentum community gathers to exchange news and views and to get the latest on what EMC has been doing and is planning for the IIG products. In Vienna a whole list of product announcements where made, most notably the release of Documentum 7.0, xCP 2.0 and Captiva 7.0.

Now this week nerds techies people from around the world gather in Pleasanton for the Momentum Developer Conference, right next to the EMC IIG headquarters. This is where a lot of technical details of all the new products are going to be revealed and where developers can actually get their hands on in lab sessions. The first 2 days of keynotes and presentations where very interesting. Now I am ready to get my hands dirty tomorrow.

I had 2 main questions for this conference:

  1. What are the differentiators between D2 and xCP2. When should my clients use the former and when the latter?
  2. What are the migration options to the new products?

Here is what I gathered so far.

When should you use D2 and when xCP2 ?

D2 4.0 is the User Interface that focuses on configuration instead of coding. Everything plus your grandma’s rocking chair can be modelled using the D2 configuration interface. The downside for some clients is that D2 cannot be extended with custom code. You have to make do with what is in the D2 box. There are simple consequences. For instance eRoom or CenterStage like collaboration functionality is not possible in D2 4.0, as is Records Management and Brava! viewer integration will be added in 4.1. Also in 4.1 or 4.2 all ‘specialized interfaces’ such as CenterStage, eRoom and Media Workspace will be incorporated into D2.

Then there is xCP 2.0. You may not gather this from the name, but this is a completely new product that goes way beyond anything that was offered with xCP 1.x. It offers a completely new way of building applications on Documentum and ties into the new D7 features, such as the Business Objects, the event model, stateless processes and xMS deployment. xCP Designer is a new unified developer IDE that replaces all 6 tools that were needed to build something for xCP 1.
xCP2 also focuses on configuration in stead of coding. The difference being that xCP has build-time configuration and D2 has run-time configuration.
xCP2 also has well defined extension points, that you can use if you need customization.

As far as the UI goes, both D2 and xCP2 produce modern looking flexible user experiences, based on HTML5 and JavaScript. Both offer UI widgets that can be used to compose role based user interfaces. The functionality offered in D2 is more geared towards Content centric applications and the focus of xCP2 is more toward Process or Case centric applications, but that is not a great differentiator. Going forward, the choice will become even more difficult, as there is talk of supporting D2 configuration in xCP and visa versa and there is even talk of the 2 UI’s merging completely into 1 unified UI.

So what to advice to clients that are looking for an improved UI? There are clear cases where D2 is not appropriate. The word is still out on the other cases. If D2 can fully support your use case, why not use it? But then again, why not use xCP?

What are migration options ?

Migration is my other area of interest this week. It turns out that there is a fairly clear migration strategy that most customers can follow. It requires a phased approach.

  1. Upgrade your client UI to version 6.7SP2. This is needed because 6.7SP2 clients are certified against D7 server as well as older servers (6.5, 6.6 and 6.7). This will give you a working system with a 6.7SP2 client working with the server that is still on the version that you were on.
  2. Now you can upgrade the server to D7. The 6.7SP2 clients will work with that server. It is advised to do the upgrade by creating a clone environment first and then performing the upgrade on the clone. This gives you the opportunity to upgrade the server HW and OS and has the advantage that the old server can keep running while you do the upgrade.
  3. Now you can upgrade the clients to D2, xCP, or Webtop 7.0. This may not need to be a big-bang conversion. You can go over 1 application at a time and may even select a different UI for each application that you have, though using more than 1 product may present a challenge on the license front. Webtop is still there but is not being developed. When you do go over to D2 or xCP2, you should redesign your whole application because the interfaces are so different and you would just miss out on most of the fun if you try to rebuild your Webtop as-is in one of the new UI’s.

More to come, stay tuned…