Attended two D2 sessions to kick off the day before the Joe Tucci Keynote. Sessions included:
The New EMC. Documentum D2: A Demonstration of How to Deliver Superior User Experiences – Boris Carbonneil and Brian Roche
Spice up your ECM Applications with the new EMC D2 – Peggy Ringhausen
This post will discuss the sessions with our observations.
D2 4.0 is moving in the right direction but still configuration-only, for now. As we mentioned in our previous write-ups of D2, we were not that impressed with it. Some of these concerns focused on ActiveX and limitations in regards to cross-browser support. The concerns about ActiveX and browser support are definitely addressed in upcoming D2 4.0 (scheduled for “early” third quarter this year – Julyish).
The demos focused on showing the capabilities with Peggy presenting a roadmap of where D2 was going. Overall, we were impressed with the amount of change happening with D2 since the purchase last year. We are assuming that much of this was underway by C6 (French company that developed D2) before the purchase.
D2 – New Infrastructure
The new D2 is a complete rebuild of the user interface that leverages the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) as well as the Sencha framework rather than ActiveX. Communication with the repository is handled through DFS with a D2 specific layer (2FS). Some thoughts:
- The approach leverages the configuration capabilities of D2 with a new interface. The configuration screen was the same with extensions rather than something new. Using this approach seems to assure easier upgrades compared to previous Documentum products.
- This is a major re-write. Clients should test for performance/stability as we have had clients struggle with DFS in the past.
- The new interface is focused on widgets – very different from the look and feel of the current D2. Peggy addressed the concern for “feature creep” but the roadmap discussion did talk about portals and added features.
D2 Check-in and Check-out – no UCF but….
One of the big initial points was that D2 4.0 will be cross-browser capable. As we have mentioned in previous posts, we had some concerns since the ActiveX plug-in is used for interface and also for check-in and check-out. While the 4.0 version will not use ActiveX for cross-browser compatibility reasons, a method of copying and retrieving the document from the local drive is required.
One of the more interesting moments in both presentations was the crowd actually applauding when it was stated that “D2 will not include UCF”. Now, while both presenters actually used those exact words (reminded me of political party talking points), the follow-up information was that D2 would instead use a “Java Applet” eliciting a collective sigh from the crowd. (Note: UCF is a Java Applet).
To understand the problem, for check-in and check-out the browser application would like to store and retrieve the file on the local machine. Whether ActiveX, JavaApplet, Flash or other methods, it involves something being installed on the client machine since browsers cannot access the file system for security reasons. IT doesn’t like browser add-ons/applets due to the continued issues with support across platforms.
Peggy directly addressed that the product team looked at just leveraging the browser based (Download, Upload) common function for files. However, the functionality of the application needed to know which file to access and required some type of add-on. TSG has struggled with this with our own solutions and opted for the browser based approach based on feedback from our clients. It would be nice if D2 4.0 provided that as an option.
Peggy divided the products in the following manner
Customizable/Composable (is this a word?)
- Process Centric – Documentum xCP
- Content Centric – Webtop
D2 4.0 (2H 12) – Mentioned “Early Third Quarter”
- Enhanced User Experience – Portal UI, Workspaces, Skins
- Rapid Innovation – Google Gadgets, Google Web Toolkit
- Ubiquitous Access – Multi-browser Support – IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome
D2 4.1 (2H 12 or Q1 13 from another slide)
- Avanced Enterprise Content Management – Faceted Search, Virtual Document Editing, Viewing with Annotation, Permission / Admin Node, Document Distribution, Comments
- Information Protection – IRM
- Enterprise Configuration – Documentum Mobile
D2 4.2 (1H 13 or Q3 13 from another slide)
- Advanced Workflow
- Advanced Publishing
- Import Rendition
- Bulk Import
- Search Enhancements
- Configuration for XCP
- Rich Media Viewing
- Social Activity and Profiles
- Wikis and Blog
- xCP based extensions
- Common xCP / D2 Widgets
D2 4.3 (Q1 14)
- Configurable REST Services
- Project Spaces/Rooms
- Custom Pages
- Data tables
- Configuration AppStore
- CenterStage as MWS migration
- Hybrid Public/Private cloud deployment
In the Lab – D2 and xCP
Some interesting discussions about how D2 and xCP Framework would have shared UI components, runtime configurations (D2), Design Tools (xCP Based), and Business Services. Not sure what to make of this from our side. This would appear to be more of a longer term strategy.
From Focused Clients to Configured ECM (2013 and Beyond)
Rich Media (DAM/MWS) and Collaboration (Centerstage, eRoom) will be moving to D2.
What About Webtop – will it be replaced with D2?
One of the big questions we came to EMC World with was the future of Webtop. Peggy was adamant that rumors of Webtop going away were greatly exaggerated and confirmed that it is not moving to D2. While not specific on dates, Peggy mentioned that there were no plans to end of life Webtop but confirmed that Webtop as a platform would not be “innovative” (we have said and heard that Documentum is not investing in Webtop).
Best quote from Peggy was that for some customers, D2 can do 80% of what they are currently doing in Webtop. The big question for users was: what do about that 20%?
- Do you skip D2 and stay in Webtop?
- Do you skip the 20%, or look for ways to leverage D2 instead of customizations in Webtop?
For Webtop users considering D2, the big question becomes: if D2 is not replacing Webtop, will I get any credit on my D2 purchase from the Webtop licenses that I am currently paying maintenance on?
We were thinking of asking Peggy the question at the end of the presentation, but didn’t think it was really fair asking a Product Manager what is essentially a sales question.
Overall, good stuff in regards to D2 but difficult to evaluate since 4.0 is such a major release and will not be released until 3rd Quarter. Clients should consider D2 once it is released and be in discussions with their sales rep to discuss pricing given other purchases.
We are hoping that the “configuration only” will change as the product is more widely deployed.
Give us your thougths below.