Recently we visited a client that wanted to add links to Documentum documents to SharePoint. While the first solution was mostly “out of the box”, the client had TSG build a pretty innovative solution. For this post we will discuss the problem, initial solution and long-term solution for adding links to Documentum documents in SharePoint.
Initial Issue and Webtop Solution
Rather than post copies of controlled documents directly to SharePoint, the client correctly wanted to add links to Documentum so that the links would always remain accurate and point to the correct document as the document is updated. The “out of the box” solution was to leverage the “Email as Link” component in Webtop that creates an email message with the r_object_id of the document. The client then copied and pasted this link into SharePoint. The Webtop solution creates an email entry that looks like this:
IT instructed the users to make one modification to add the “CURRENT” version label to the link:
When executed, the link requires a sign-in to Documentum Webtop and will then display the document. The link is generally used to send a quick email link asking someone to review a document they have created.
Issues with Webtop Link
Consistent with other discussions in this forum, there are a couple of significant issues with this approach.
- r_object_id – We consistently advise clients to avoid using r_object_id in any integration to Documentum. As pointed out in a previous post, r_oject_id can lead to difficulties in upgrades and migration. TSG recommends using another unique attribute or multiple attributes that will be consistent if the document is ever migrated to another docbase or a different content management system.
- “CURRENT” label – TSG recommends against using “CURRENT” as part of a query since, if a document is in “DRAFT” mode it might have the “CURRENT” Label also applied – resulting in the link pointing to the wrong document.
- Renditions – TSG recommends that approved documents always point to a PDF rendition. Clients have expressed issues with Native content (version of Word, can I edit? …) as well as the need to have controlled headers, footers and signature pages.
Client Link Approach
The client decided to build a better approach while leveraging some of ideas from the “out of the box” approach.
- Add a custom menu option in Webtop to “Generate External Link” – rather than create an email, this would add the link directly into the clipboard. From here the user could paste the link into SharePoint List or any other location.
- Have the link based on a client specific document number attribute as well as well as the correct version label. Could include “EFFECTIVE”, “APPROVED” or “RELEASED” depending on the Documentum strategy.
- Have the link access a Web Service based on OpenContent that would either:
- Launch Documentum Webtop if the document only exists in Documentum.
- Launch the document from an approved published document portal if the document has been published to the web.
We are considering adding this approach to our Open Source offerings. Let us know your thoughts or other innovative solutions you have tried for linking to Documentum from a system such as SharePoint.