Over the years, a variety of software tools have become available for integrating PDF annotation functionality into the Documentum client suite. Some of these tools include Brava!, AnnoDoc, Snowbound, and Documentum PDF Annotation Services. Each product has its own feature set, but all provide the ability to mark up PDF documents and store the annotations alongside the document in the Documentum repository. Each product has a client component that integrates with Documentum Webtop to provide the tools for adding markups to documents. These client integrations utilize proprietary applets, Adobe Acrobat, or Adobe Reader with Extensions to provide this functionality.
Recently a manufacturing client requested help from TSG for replacing a legacy AnnoDoc system with another solution. The most current release of AnnoDoc works with Documentum Webtop version 5.3, but the product does not support Webtop version 6+. With Documentum 5.3 reaching end-of-life, the client was looking to upgrade to version 6.5, but an annotation solution needed to be found first.
Ideally, the client needed an annotation tool that could both read and update annotations made using the legacy AnnoDoc system, as well as provide the ability to create and save new annotations. After some research, it was discovered that AnnoDoc and Documentum PDF Annotation Services use similar methods to store annotation files in the Documentum repository. Both products store the annotation files as dm_note objects related to the original PDF document using the DM_ANNOTATE relation type.
While similar, there were still some challenges in getting Documentum PDF Annotation Services to open annotation files created with AnnoDoc. AnnoDoc stores annotations in the Forms Data Format (FDF) while Documentum PDF Annotation Services stores them in the XML Forms Data Format (XFDF). Although Documentum PDF Annotation Services is able to read FDF files, small changes needed to be made to the FDF files for the system to function properly. Running a custom developed command line script to update the legacy FDF files proved to be a viable option for migrating the client from AnnoDoc to Documentum PDF Annotation Services.
TSG has recently made efforts to develop an annotation tool that will not require clients to have the full version of Adobe Acrobat to create annotations. The tool is slated for integration with Documentum Webtop and OpenContent HPI. Stay tuned to the TSG website for details on TSG’s OpenAnnotate product coming soon!