It was year 2004, when I was first introduced to EMC Documentum. As I first fired up the DAB IDE, I felt man this IDE is Unintuitive, slow and cryptic. Apart from learning the DFC API’s in Documentum, getting accustomed to DAB itself was an excruciating experience. Finally after three years Documentum Composer came as a savior.

I liked Documentum Composer for 3 main reasons:

1. It has better interface than DAB, and its easy to use providing support for keeping multiple projects open at the same time. You need not checkout and checkin the artifacts every time you make any changes only thing you will be doing is installation of the project.

2. It comes as combined feature of both DAB and DAI where in you create the DAR and install from the same IDE into a repository.

3. Composer is built on the Eclipse platform, and the installation includes a bundled Eclipse environment. One of the benefits of the Eclipse platform is that it offers a number of paradigms that are familiar to developers thus allowing users to identify the issues at the DocApp development level instead of installation level.

Composer helps to develop applications faster and easier by reducing the learning curve through user interface consistency and the familiar standards-based Eclipse tooling framework. Composer can be run in “headless Eclipse mode”, which enables command-line scripting and automation of project installation. This feature provides self-contained, fully automated deployment of projects into a repository, without the need for a previous DFC installation or DMCL client.

One thing that I like about Composer is the ability to install into multiple repositories, assuming they share a connection broker, without restarting and on the other hand ability to work offline. To install the application or migrate the data model a user would use DAI to install the docapp archive into one or more production Docbases, where as with composer you can do both the task in one single place without the need of DAI to deploy.

It is both an artifact project, supporting artifact development, and it is also a DFS project, supporting consumer and service DFS development.

Another feature that I liked about Composer is the ability to deploy java methods as BOF module without the need for the user to copy the class files under /dba/java_methods folder in the CS location and to be able to deploy on the java method server without having to bring down the content server. Also when Business Object Framework (BOF) came out in 6.0, DAB was extended to support creation of modules which served as “container” for custom BOF code.  However, you still had to have a java environment to build JAR files that contained BOF code.  In addition, any customizations to WDK/Webtop were not supported in DAB.  The WAR build and deployment process was entirely separate from docapp installation process. Composer is an effort by EMC to come up with a single tool that help developers to Configure Documentum artifacts, Create Business Objects, Build DFS Services, Deploy Documentum applications across multiple repositories.

Once you begin using Documentum Composer the benefits are easily evident. To name a few:

  • Developing applications quickly and easily
  • Learning curve is reduced due to the consistency of user interface and familiar standards of Eclipse tooling framework

Personally I consider composer a great gift to the Documentum developer community.


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  1. Jim Nasr

    Good blog. How do you think Composer compares to the development IDE of some of the other products out in the market (such as SharePoint’s Designer)?

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    Reader’s next year will be brighter knowing this!

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