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Robin East reviews Documentum Content Management Foundations

Robin East


Robin East is a well-known expert in Documentum internals and performance tuning. He helps out Documentum community via various forums and regularly shares his wisdom through his blog. Here he reviews the book - Documentum Content Management Foundations.  The technical errata that he mentions below has been posted on the publisher's site. Enjoy! 



NOTE: The review below points out an error in the Architecture chapter. Read more here


I was very pleased to see that Packt Publishing have started producing Documentum books (they also have released ‘Web Content Management with Documentum’). There really is a crying need for good quality Documentum books to help explain what is often a complicated suite of products.

This book is styled as a Study Guide for ‘EMC Proven Professional Certification Exam E20-120′. In addition it is intended to act as ‘a handy guide and a quick reference’ to the technical fundamentals of Documentum. So how well does it achieve these goals?

The book follows a typical certification exam study guide format of each chapter starting with text explaining concepts followed by typical test questions. The text is highly readable and is accompanied by clear and useful diagrams. At the end of the book there are 2 Practice tests that cover all the material (answers to these tests and the chapter tests are provided at the end of the book). My impression was that the questions are well thought out and effectively tested understanding of the concepts. The only improvement here would be to have even more test questions. Actually Pawan also maintains a website ( where further test questions can be found along with tips and resources to support the book.

Occasionally I thought that it would be useful to have more worked examples. For example object security in Documentum is reasonably complicated when first encountered and a wider range of example scenarios would help to make the subject matter stick. One area that doesn’t seem to be covered at all is Jobs and Methods. I would be surprised if this wasn’t tested at all in the exam and someone using just this book would be underprepared in this area.

Most of the technical information in the book seems to be accurate and I was certainly surprised by how many little details I didn’t know (e.g. the rather confusing way Documentum numbers branched versions). There is one major error in chapter 4 which looks at the Architecture of a Documentum system and how the components interact. The fundamental communication pattern describes DFC on the client communicating with DFC on the Content Server. This is just wrong - there is no server-side DFC involved. Yes, DFC will be installed on the Content Server but it is there for clients running on the server. If you removed DFC from the Content Server, remote DFC clients would still work in the same way. Even more confusingly the diagram that accompanies the description shows a communication pattern involving both DMCL and DFC on the Content Server. Perhaps it is best to refer to my description of the Communication Pattern. However this was the only significant error I found.

All in all I would recommend this as a useful aid to someone studying for the exam. Well done to Pawan and Packt Publishing for producing this book; let’s hope that Packt will invest in a further improved and extended edition and indeed further Documentum books; and let’s hope that this encourages other publishers into the sector.

Update: you can check out any corrections or updates on the Packt Publishing site at


Readers' feedback about the book can be found in the discussion forum or read it here.

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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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