Web Content Management with Documentum

By Gaurav Kathuria
    Advance your knowledge in tech with a Packt subscription

  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies
  1. Content and Documentum

About this book

One of the world leaders in Enterprise Content Management, the EMC Documentum family of applications helps you manage all types of content across multiple departments within a single repository. With the Web Content Management suite of applications, you can efficiently manage content and underlying processes for your Web properties, and ensures that they are responsive to business needs.

To fully realize the power of this system can seem daunting, but this book will help you achieve that. With easy to follow examples, this book will take you the simplest and most straightforward route to success. Along the way, you will learn insights that only a seasoned professional would know.

Packed with practical examples, you will get hands-on with the powerful features of Documentum to grow your skills and confidence. You will see tips and tricks to handle complexities of the system, and avoid the common errors that waste your time.

From installing and getting started with Documentum, you will see how to design and develop Documentum applications, before rounding off with deployment.

Publication date:
June 2006
Publisher
Packt
Pages
484
ISBN
9781904811091

 

Chapter 1. Content and Documentum

Every single bit of information seen on a website can be classified as content be it text, graphics, rich media, video, engineering drawings, XML, images, scanned files—just about anything and everything!

Content can be of various kinds, from pure textual pages to training material, online reference manuals, graphical screenshots and even complex data graphs.

One of the simplest ways to describe content management would be through the example of a daily newspaper website. Most of us start off our day browsing through our favorite newspaper edition (be it the conventional hard copy or the online version). Have you noticed something in particular about most newspapers? The structure or layout of most of the sections in the newspaper remains constant everyday. What typically changes is the actual content within the same sections on a daily basis.

The layout of the headlines remains constant—though the actual headlines change everyday. Sections like cartoons, the editorial corner, and weather report maintain the same look-and-feel everyday but their content changes everyday with the latest edition of the newspaper.

The online version of the newspaper needs to be updated every day with the new HTML, graphics, and text depending on the news. Imagine the time it would take to update the website's HTML/JSP pages manually every day to reflect the latest news. This would cause an increased dependence on the technical web developers to update the content. Updating several hundreds of HTML pages every day would also cause a time and resource problem.

Additionally it would mean technical web developers dealing with content they don't even understand and yet had to safely upload within the security boundaries of the organization. The editorial staff and content contributors/authors would have to rely on the IT staff every day so that their content could make its way to the actual website.

The problems multiply since the IT staff turnover is extremely high in most organizations—imagine having to recruit new web developers on a periodic basis to maintain live websites. Moreover, what if the page updates take a substantially long time—so much so that by the time the updated content shows up on the website, it's too late and practically stale!

The current business circumstances require immediate and correct data to be up 24/7 on the organization's websites. A lackadaisical attitude can literally throw a business out of the current market space. The problems of managing content on websites will keep on growing with time because of the increased visibility of websites today.

It is easy to understand now the need for an effective content management methodology that can result in:

  • Decreased dependence on IT staff to run and maintain the core business

  • Reduction in cost and better ROI to maintain the core business

  • Non-technical contributors maintaining their business website all by themselves

  • Not having the non-IT staff learn Internet web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, JSP, etc. to run the core business

  • Always having the most up-to-date information available on the business website without unnecessary delays

  • Security mechanisms restricting the editing of information by unrelated business divisions, for example, restricting the editing of sensitive financial information to the administrative department

  • Automation of content creation/approval/publishing through a workflow mechanism

  • Reduced expenses in maintaining hardcopy versions of documents/manuals/content

  • Rollback mechanisms in case the updated content needs to be pulled off the website

  • Effective capture and use of content metadata for indexing and searching

This list is not complete—the virtues of having a good content management methodology are many and varied. The above list simply gives us an idea about the criticality of content management in today's demanding business space.

In a nutshell, what exactly is content management? One of the numerous available websites on content management describes content management as follows:

  • Content management is the organizing, categorizing, and structuring of information resources (text, images, documents, etc.) so that they can be stored, published, and edited with ease and flexibility. A content management system (CMS) is used to collect, manage, and publish content, storing the content either as components or whole documents, while maintaining dynamic links between components.

Figure 1.1 represents the conventional process of creating content for a website, getting it approved by a sequence of business users and finally having the web developer (IT staff) update the HTML pages to reflect this approved content.

However, this method is not without its drawbacks. It is a time consuming process to author content and get it manually reviewed and approved by a string of business users and then a heavy dependency on the IT staff to make the changes manually in website pages. By the time the sequence of steps gets completed, the content is probably stale and is no longer appropriate to show up on the organization's website!

1.1 Need for an Effective CMS

Most of the above mentioned problems with content management can be solved by using a content management system (CMS). A good CMS allows the content authors to create content in the form of articles through some pre-defined templates. The content author simply needs to provide content (plain text, pictures, etc.) in the template fields. The content management system then uses some pre-defined rules to style the article, thus separating the actual content from its display/layout structure. The author needs to be concerned only about the core content and not about its look-and-feel and formatting, thus saving loads of time and pain. Some content management systems also optionally require the author to enter metadata for content, for example creator name, keywords, etc. so that these can be associated with the content and be used for indexing and searching the website.

Unlike the traditional content management approach of an author manually getting the content/ articles approved by editors and senior members from business content approval divisions, a good CMS has an automated workflow mechanism. The author simply specifies the sequence of approvers to get the article approved and the automatic workflow does the rest of the work. It ensures that the content does not get published to the website until and unless the sequence of editors and approvers approve it via the automated workflow.

This requires the IT staff (web developers) to prepare the templates and associated rules as a one-time activity, along with stylesheets that format the entered content articles and are responsible for the look-and-feel of the website.

The IT staff additionally needs to configure and establish the CMS software once and from then onwards the content authors simply use the system and templates, getting rid of future dependency on web developers.

Figure 1.2 simply gives a graphical perspective to the benefits of using a CMS.

The one-time effort that a web developer puts in creating templates/rules so that later content creators can use it going forward is a good money-saving approach.

The automated workflow available in a CMS routes the content through its different lifecycle stages finally getting it approved and publishing it to the business website.

 

1.1 Need for an Effective CMS


Most of the above mentioned problems with content management can be solved by using a content management system (CMS). A good CMS allows the content authors to create content in the form of articles through some pre-defined templates. The content author simply needs to provide content (plain text, pictures, etc.) in the template fields. The content management system then uses some pre-defined rules to style the article, thus separating the actual content from its display/layout structure. The author needs to be concerned only about the core content and not about its look-and-feel and formatting, thus saving loads of time and pain. Some content management systems also optionally require the author to enter metadata for content, for example creator name, keywords, etc. so that these can be associated with the content and be used for indexing and searching the website.

Unlike the traditional content management approach of an author manually getting the content/ articles approved by editors and senior members from business content approval divisions, a good CMS has an automated workflow mechanism. The author simply specifies the sequence of approvers to get the article approved and the automatic workflow does the rest of the work. It ensures that the content does not get published to the website until and unless the sequence of editors and approvers approve it via the automated workflow.

This requires the IT staff (web developers) to prepare the templates and associated rules as a one-time activity, along with stylesheets that format the entered content articles and are responsible for the look-and-feel of the website.

The IT staff additionally needs to configure and establish the CMS software once and from then onwards the content authors simply use the system and templates, getting rid of future dependency on web developers.

Figure 1.2 simply gives a graphical perspective to the benefits of using a CMS.

The one-time effort that a web developer puts in creating templates/rules so that later content creators can use it going forward is a good money-saving approach.

The automated workflow available in a CMS routes the content through its different lifecycle stages finally getting it approved and publishing it to the business website.

 

1.2 Qualities of a Good CMS


Owing to the high demand, tons of companies have come into play today offering content management services. Fortunately or unfortunately we have numerous content management systems available today in the market each with its own positives and negatives but with the same end goal—ease of managing content.

A good CMS should be meticulously chosen because most are quite costly and involve training overhead so that the end users (mostly business content contributors/editors/approvers) can effectively use them.

Following are some (but not all) of the points that should be considered while evaluating a CMS for one's organization. Always remember one thing—there is no "one size fits all" solution available! One should analyze one's business needs first and then choose from the range of CMS available in market.

A good CMS:

  • Allows the non-technical core business personnel to author/publish content without the assistance of IT staff(web developers)

  • Separates the actual content from the structure(look-and-feel) by allowing an easy way to create templates and associated rules/presentation files

  • Ensures that the content contributors adhere to the organization's website standards and also maintain security and navigational elements

  • Ensures a mechanism to publish content in a timely manner so that the website information is always up to date

  • Consolidates business data and content in a single storage repository for faster retrieval and also reduces the cost of maintaining hardcopy versions of content

  • Allows authoring content via standard web browsers thus reducing training needs

  • Creates an audit trail of activities performed on the content/articles for security reasons

  • Restricts content editing on the basis of the role/group/division of the user in the business

  • Provides a process mechanism to control content authoring, reviewing, and publishing through an automated workflow

  • Provides support on multiple OS platforms and web browsers and can be easily integrated with web application servers and third-party software or existing business systems

  • Provides a version control/history mechanism to allow rollback of specific content/pages to their older versions

  • Provides document control through a simple check-in/check-out user interface

  • Schedules automatic publishing/removal of content at specified release/expiry dates

  • Allows easy creation/management of CMS users, groups, and roles

  • Provides a built-in rich text editing interface to allow content authoring with extensive features like formatting, hyperlinks support, image/file upload, and copy-paste from other authoring applications

  • Rules out the need to install any software on the end user machines

  • Supports multiple simultaneous users

  • Supports indexing/searching on the basis of metadata for the content

  • Provides an extensive reporting system for both end users and system administrators

 

1.3 Why Documentum?


There are numerous content management systems existing in the market today, each offering its own specialized features. Documentum, Broadvision, Ektron products, Vignette Content products, and Interwoven product suite are some of the available content management systems in the market today. This book is not intended to highlight the benefits of using Documentum as a web content management solution vis-à-vis other available products.

Documentum provides Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions enabling diversified organizations to integrate their distributed content and related business processes on a single platform, thus uniting teams to collaboratively create, manage, process, and deliver their unstructured content. Documentum's clientele includes several big organizations that are successfully utilizing its widespread capabilities in expanding their core business by reducing their operating costs, deriving better ROIs, and achieving increased customer satisfaction by delivering just in time.

Documentum should primarily be construed as a platform that consists of a wide variety of products that collaboratively work together to provide enterprise-level content management facilities. Documentum not only provides large number of out-of-the-box (OOTB) features available in the product suite but also a customizable/configurable platform that can individually suit the specific needs of different enterprises.

 

1.4 Documentum Features


Choosing the right CMS has always been an intriguing question for all and sundry. However, while evaluating Documentum, there are a lot of features that can catch your attention. Some of these are very basic functionality that any good CMS should offer and some are very specific only to Documentum.

Listing all the available features from Documentum would not be possible and this might qualify as not doing enough justice to it.

However, following list should serve as a quick reference for people who are using Documentum for their projects/businesses:

  • Allows creating, managing, and archiving content through "lifecycles" (or Business Policies in Documentum's lingo)

  • Supports integration with several industry-standard authoring applications like Microsoft Office products, Adobe publishing products, CAD applications, and XML authoring tools

  • Provides a web-based collaborative environment (Documentum 'eRoom') that exposes content management services

  • Encrypts content in Documentum repository and beyond via Records Management, SSL, and LDAP

  • Provides automatic versioning of documents/content and history tracking

  • Allows creation of multiple renditions of the content in varied formats, such as HTML and PDF

  • Supports virtual document management for assembling information from various sources

  • Supports the ability to parse, validate, and transform XML documents with XSLT support

  • Supports clustering, load balancing and back-up/recovery features

  • Provides content authoring/managing capability through Documentum Web Publisher and publishing capability through Site Caching Services (SCS)

  • Deployment of website content to multiple servers through Site Deployment Services (SDS)

  • Deployment of content from source to subscribers based on business rules via Content Distribution Services(CDS)

  • Supports numerous archival/storage techniques, for example, RAID, optical laser disks, CD, and DVD jukeboxes

  • Supports automated workflows to route a content item in the various phases of its lifecycle (creation, review, and approval)

  • Provides workflow process extension to external participants and organizations via Inter-Enterprise Workflow Services for better collaboration

  • Provides an exhaustive data dictionary (containing information in the repository and its objects) for the applications to use in order to enforce business rules or provide value assistance to users

  • Supports business objects to encapsulate business rules that can be further exposed as web services to third-party applications

  • Supports indexing/searching on the basis of metadata for the content

  • Supports multiple simultaneous users

  • Provides a wide range of library services for content management

  • Allows automatic intelligent extraction of a list of properties for a Documentum document via Content Intelligence Services (CIS)

  • Provides content aggregation services to collect content from multiple sources for storage in a centralized location

  • Offers products like Content Services that allow interaction with Documentum CMS from various enterprise applications like SAP, Siebel, and Lotus Notes

  • Supports high-availability by having multiple Content Servers serve a single repository and repository replication for backup purposes

  • Complies with UTF-8 Unicode—single-byte and double-byte character languages

 

1.5 Summary


In this chapter we discussed what content management systems (CMS) are, along with their benefits and drawbacks. We saw how content management systems can serve as a boon to the organization by reducing dependence on IT staff for maintaining business websites and by providing a secured, streamlined, and automated mechanism for entering and publishing data to the websites. On the other hand, content management systems do entail training overheads to get the business users familiar with using the automated systems.

Documentum is an enterprise content management system that helps organizations integrate their unstructured content on a single platform. We discussed some qualities of a good content management system and how the Documentum product suite addresses most (if not all) of these.

Finally, we touched upon some striking features of the Documentum platform and how it helps organizations in collaboratively creating, managing, processing, and delivering their vast unstructured content.

About the Author

  • Gaurav Kathuria

    Gaurav Kathuria completed his B. Tech. (Hons.) in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) Kharagpur, India in the year 2000 and has since been a prominent performer in diverse software fields, from IT services through product development to software consultancy.

    He is a Technical Architect with a proven record of strategic vision, entrepreneurial spirit, technical and managerial skills that have contributed to winning of multiple competitive contracts and follow-on business. He has led large consulting content management related projects, leveraging technology, process improvement, and change management to deliver a wide range of solutions.

    He has a rich experience of designing, developing, and managing software systems using object-oriented languages and technologies like Java/J2EE and Documentum. He started working with Documentum 4i and has ever since had an extensive experience architecting/designing complex Documentum 4i and 5x solutions.

    Gaurav has worked for various vertical industry domains such as Health/Pharmaceuticals, Natural Resources, Travel/Tourism, and Financial services.

    He has a broad and deep understanding of Documentum technology platform, its appropriate uses and cost efficiencies and has time and again demonstrated his ability at evaluating various technology alternatives and making strategic technical decisions.

    He specializes in Solution Architecture, Strategic and Tactical Planning, Technical Consulting, Knowledge Management and Trainings.

    He has also given in-house training on Documentum System Architecture, Technical Fundamentals and Web Publisher in many of the organizations he has worked in.

    Gaurav can be reached at [email protected]

    Browse publications by this author
Web Content Management with Documentum
Unlock this book and the full library for FREE
Start free trial