It might not have been as glamorous an affair as the World Music Awards held a few days earlier, but a group of developers at business and technology consulting firm Armedia gladly scooped up the $50,000 first prize in Documentum’s Developer Challenge at the company’s Momentum conference in Monaco.
The Armedia team developed a mobile incident management system that allows remote users to browse and submit content held in a Documentum content management repository via their mobile devices.
Built using Windows Mobile 6 technology, the system allows mobile workers to use a handheld device to capture notes in the field and then import them to the Documentum repository. It also lets mobile device cameras to directly push images to the Documentum repository as well importing of images from an external online service like Flikr.
Armedia project team member Terence McDevitt said the project highlights the ease of integration between the Mobile Windows file browser and Flikr and the Documentum 6 repository.
The Developer Challenge was devised to showcase the capabilities of Documentum’s new web-services-enabled Documentum 6 enterprise content management platform, which promises to streamline the development of content management applications by exposing content objects as shared, consumable web services.
The architecture effectively opens up the Documentum platform to greater interoperability with third-party tools and applications and also introduces a component architecture that can be reused.
Contestants were given 30 days or less to build a fully capable content management application using web services and SOA. Many submissions were completed in far less time. The winning Armedia project took less than 10 days to complete, according to Documentum. It said the SOA and web services flexibility affords opportunities to expand the use of managed content throughout the enterprise by quickly and easily hooking applications to a back-end Documentum 6’s repository in order to take advantage of its core content control, management, and security capabilities.
Participants were this summer invited to build innovate content-enabled applications on top of the Documentum 6 platform. About 200 entries, 70% of which came from EMC customers and partners, were judged by a panel consisting of EMC architects and external industry analysts and consultants.
One of those was Geoffery Bock, who heads up Bock & Company, an independent ECM consultancy based in the Boston area. Bock believes that Documentum 6 points the way for future development of so-called mash-up content management applications.
Documentum 6 and its SOA capabilities introduce a whole new style of applications that are built and exposed as web services to the Internet cloud allowing for mash-ups, he said. The platform offers a rich set of object, version, schema, search, and workflow services that can be accessed by applications to coordinate and share content in more meaningful ways. Without the web services you’d have to do a great deal of programming. Of course that content needs to be authoritative and securely managed, which is what the core Documentum 6 platform provides. The take-away here is that the Documentum repository is now a fully-fledged citizen for rich internet application development.
Bock said he was impressed with the creativity of the submissions he judged and said it was a tough job short-listing the eight finalists. We saw very unique kinds of applications, he said. What caught Bock’s eye in particular was the impact of the Google API on the future of so-called Rich Internet Application development. RIAs are web applications that boast the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications. They typically transfer the necessary processing at the user interface level to a web client but keep the bulk of the data on an application server.
Google application developers are taking the lead in creating a new style of RIAs that take the user experience up to a new level, Bock said. What you can go with Google and web services is very powerful and very flexible. But for the Google API to have impact in content management it has to be able to talk to an enterprise repository that’s storing the content in a systematic manner.
Bock said the opportunities afforded by web services to mash up the Google API with the Documentum 6 repository holds exciting possibilities for the future, citing the example of Google Maps, which he said points to a basic content mash-up application. Everyone that has directory listing of where their store is located can now map that geographic data against a Google map, he said.
Second place in the Developer Challenge went to the 5MD (which stands for the number of man days it took to them to develop the application) team from French bank BNP Paribas for its gTop application that uses Google Web Tools to provide a web user interface for accessing the Documentum repository.
Rob Cleghorn, 5MD’s team leader said the company took up the challenge partly to evaluate the capabilities of Documentum 6 for a future upgrade at the bank. What we’ve done is used the Google Web Tools to build an alternative to a webtop [a web browser-based user experience] that functionally very rich, he said. We could have programmed the integration using DFS [Documentum Foundation Services API], but maintenance would have been a nightmare. With web services it’s been a breeze.
Independent developer Alan Greendyk picked up the bronze for a Documentum-based PDF content publishing and search application built using Adobe’s Flex and LiveCycle Data Services technology. And a special mention went to Vikrant Pant, a Booz-Allen system administrator, who developed a mash-up application called Inbox Vault that transforms email systems like hotmail and Gmail into a centrally managed attachment/document base.
Announcing the winners at the event, Whitney Tidmarsh, vice president of marketing for content management and archiving at EMC Software, said: We wanted to prove to users that it’s as easy as we say it is.