Think Alfresco from Documentum perspective –Take 1

by | Jul 14, 2010 | Alfresco, Alfresco Development, Documentum Development, Enterprise Content Management, Solutions | 8 comments

When you work for a while in the software you get numbed to “technologies have come and gone…” occasionally though some become commodities and others trend setters. We have seen that with many products like Apache, Tomcat, Lucene, Drupal …etc that have stabilized and matured over the past years with the help of increased development from the open source realm. Wait! Did I mention the word “Open Source” and going to talk about the enterprise content management?

So without any more ado, we have Alfrescocatering to a rapidly increasing demand of the enterprise content management solutions which is built over the open source technologies such as Spring MVC, Hibernate, and Lucene platforms. Having done years of Documentum development and several Alfresco projects of late, I think there are some interesting overlaps and differences of approach that I feel would make the developers get adapted quicker.

With the wiki site overwhelmed with Introduction, API’s, Development, Deployment and the Forums to answer all the questions regarding the issues faced during the project phase, I am here to talk purely from the developers perspective on what’s the key areas that I happen to witness the difference from the Documentum space.

The road map for my next series of blog is going to cover each of the areas mentioned below in more detailed, code abundant and developer centric approach which will answer the questions:

  • Does this feature exist in Documentum or Alfresco or both?
  • If yes, how different is the approach?

So with that preamble, and in no particular order, I give you my list of the key areas I got hands on and learnt how different Alfresco is:

  • Aspects

Custom data model is the core for any enterprise content management solution. The use of “Aspects” as its core is the fundamental concept for content modeling in Alfresco. Although in the form Documentum 6,aspects was introduced, how different is the use and approach in Alfresco is something I will take a deep dive in my next blog.

  • Web Scripts

Alfresco Web Scripts brings together the world of content repository and the web. Being a Documentum developer earlier ways of interaction with the repository have been either using DFC API’s or DQL. In Alfresco, Web Scripts provide RESTful access to content within the repository and we can build our own interface using javascript. A custom move operation is implemented using the Web Scripts and the comparison of the implementation with the Documentum would be a something to be noted.

  • Integration

On my last project, we had requirements for the customers to be able to permanently redact Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from existing documents stored in the repository and version the original document upon save. For various reasons, we decided to integrate the 3rd party tool Daeja ViewOne Pro module to provide this capability. I will discuss the topic as part of this blog series.

I started this series based on my experience implementing Alfresco projects and I invite you to share any of your experiences with any part of the road map wherein you run into interesting twists and turns? Did you drive off the road to get some help? I welcome your feedback as the blog takes its shape. See you all soon in Take 2.


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  1. Shan

    Good one.Could you please elaborate the architectural differences between Documentum and Alfresco?

  2. Andrei

    Sounds interesting. I’ll be waiting for more detailed analysis…

  3. Savic Prvoslav

    Also important, and not mentioned in this blog are workflows ( Using jPDL 3.2 to develop it sing Eclipse plugin gives easy way to develop simple and complicated wfs, using javascript to implement actions on steps and paths where users and groups witch assigned with a task can finish it adding or editing documents. I saw a few problems hire , for example you can not give right to one specific document witch is in wf, and you can not make user to upload document(easily) in a step witch is assigned to him also there are some other shortcomings but all and all it is good and almost all can be done so far. Hope this stuff I have mentioned to be missing will be added. Greetings from Serbia.

  4. Balaji Sampath

    @Savic, Thanks to add about workflow as well. Agreed the implementation of workflow is quite different, since I have not yet had a chance to get the practical hands on, it was out of the context on this blog. Will note it for my future blog.

  5. Savic Prvoslav

    No problem my friend, hope you will write something nice again i really liked this.

  6. Pete Perret

    We were doing some research and came across this blog site. Must say that this article is great! Keep writing more. I will be reading your sites

  7. David Miller

    Hi Balaji,

    We all need to write more blogs.



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