Most Documentum customers we talk to utilize Webtop in some capacity as a user interface to the repository. As we’ve posted in the past, we recommend that clients move away from Webtop as it’s an outdated interface that has not been a target for investment since the EMC/Dell days, and certainly is not in line for investments from OpenText. However, for many clients that have complex implementations of Webtop that have been in use for 10-15 years, Webtop is simply a fact of Documentum life. As part of our continuing series on How to make Documentum better, this post will explore a few ways to make a Documentum Webtop implementation better.
What’s wrong with Webtop?
Before looking at how to make Webtop better, it’s important to understand Webtop’s limitations:
- One Size Fits All Interface – Webtop was built to be a “do all” interface. As such, for many consumer users that only want to find and view content, the Webtop interface can be confusing and hard to use.
- No Document Web Preview – Webtop does not allow users to preview documents in the browser before viewing. Instead, the document is opened in the native application on the user’s desktop. This means that the entire document must be streamed to the user’s machine before it can be opened. For small documents, this isn’t an issue, but can be a serious performance problem for large documents.
- Content Transfer Applet / Extension – Clients have been complaining about the Content Transfer Applet for many years due to issues supporting Java versions on client machines as well as the inherent security problems with Applets. While the Webtop 6.8.2 version removes the Applet, users are still required to install a browser extension as well as a native exe installation that utilizes Java.
- No Mobile Support – given that Webtop has been around for over 15 years without a significant interface refresh, it’s not surprising that it cannot be used from a mobile device.
- Missing advanced features – Webtop is missing many advanced document management features that are requested by many clients such as:
- Combine PDF – combine multiple documents into one PDF
- Split PDF – split a single document into multiple
- Folder Notes – allow users to comment on a case folder
- Bulk Property Edit – Allow users to apply property updates to multiple documents at once
- PDF annotations – allow users to add annotation comments on any document’s PDF rendition
What can make Webtop installations better?
As discussed in the previous article in this series, one of the most popular ways to make Webtop better is to get consumer only users off of Webtop all together. TSG will typically recommend for certain engagements that Consumers access content in the repository via an OpenContent Search consumer portal. Implementing a consumer portal has a number of benefits over a “one size fits all” Webtop implementation for consumers and authors.
- the portal gives a simpler, more streamlined application for document search and view that can often be deployed with minimal training or risk.
- the portal provides fault-tolerance in the instance when Documentum is not available either for system maintenance, network issues or other reasons.
- putting these users on the consumer portal application frees up user load and bandwidth to improve Webtop performance for the remaining non-consumer users.
Another way that we can make Webtop better for our clients is to provide PDF Annotations. Given that Documentum’s PDF Annotation Services (PAS) product has been discontinued for some time, many clients have taken advantage of utilizing TSG’s OpenAnnotate product from within Webtop. Here’s how it works:
Three actions are added into the actions menu:
- Annotate – Launch the document in OpenAnnotate in a new browser tab.
- Export Annotated PDF – download the document with annotations “burned” into the PDF.
- Import Annotated PDF – allows the user to upload a PDF that was annotated within Adobe back to the repository. When combined with the Export action above, this enables offline annotation functionality for users.
After clicking the Annotate action, the user can annotate the document directly in the web browser:
Another way to improve the Webtop experience is to replace parts of Webtop with OpenContent Search and Case. For example, since most user’s find Webtop’s Advanced Search to be too complicated, users can be sent to OpenContent Search instead:
Similarly, in order to utilize OpenContent Case’s advanced case management features, a similar integration is possible when viewing a folder in Webtop:
Plan for moving off of Webtop
Most clients have either moved off or Webtop or are planning to going forward. For these clients, we suggest moving to our OpenContent Management Suite (OCMS) as it gives users a configurable, streamlined, modern interface that is not tied to Documentum. Here’s a high level interface overview video that compares OCMS with Webtop:
In the next few posts, look for a deeper dive into a comparison between Webtop and OCMS from both a consumer and contributor perspective. Let us know your thoughts below.