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Troy Martin reviews Documentum Content Management Foundations

Troy Martin


Troy Martin is a respected figure in the Documentum community. He runs the blog - Documentum for Dummies, which provides common sense, non-geek answers to questions about Documentum and related products. Here he reviews the book - Documentum Content Management Foundations. The errata for the book is posted on the publisher's site. Enjoy! 



 Recently I received an email by Pawan Kumar the creater of dm_cram who had visited the Dummies site and complimented me on its educational purpose. His email read “I ran into your site – Documentum for Dummies, and found it to be a really high-quality educational resource. Congratulations for doing such an exceptional job in eradicating mystery from the esoteric!”


Well I never thought that Documentum was esoteric. Complicated, sometimes a little difficult, but never esoteric. But Pawan was correct! It has and is just that. I guess that is why I sort of fell into supporting it. I began my career as a Mechanical Engineer, and my view of computers at the time was geared toward number crunching. It was a tool for geeky scientist and PHd’s to study the universe or solve some mystical equation. I dabbled with databases like dBase III in the early days and eventually would design a custom quasi content management system to store and retrieve CADD and engineering documents. This exercise would eventually lead me towards using Documentum.


From my beginnings using the Documentum version 1.0 I have struggled like many to understand the software. Eventually I got it. But it took me several years to fully appreciate the simplicity of the product. Its not that Documentum is really no more difficult then any other software, the issue was always around the lack of quality documentation. I have argued for years that Documentum documentation lacks readability. The documentation is missing key information for developers, and especially beginners trying to get their arms around the concepts.


I have learned the key to understanding Documentum is understanding the foundation. The fundamentals that make up the underlying architecture. The heart and soul of the application. Fortunately all these fundamentals have not changed much sense the product was introduced in 1990 even though it has gone through several major transformations within the underlying software.


The underlying problem with the lack of third party books is still there. Yes as Pawan states it is getting better, but you will still be hard pressed to run down to local book store and find many. So when Pawan told me he was an author and would I be interested in reviewing his new study guide I was both honored and excited to finally see another commercially released book on Documentum.


The book is titled: Documentum Content Management Foundations, EMC Proven Professional Certification Exam E20-120. ISBN 97-1-847192-40-0


Before I delve into my review I want you to know I have never been asked to review a book before. Especially in my domain of subject matter. So as critics go I don’t consider my self one. I am not making any money on this exercise except I get to keep the book. So I hope my view are non bias.


My first impressions: This is a very easy book to navigate and read. This is an important distinction as the subject matter is complicated enough without having to dig for the right information. The book structure TOC is comprised of 5 sections covering Fundamentals, Security, User Interface, Application Development, Advanced Concepts. There is one additional section; Practice Tests. The book is 250 pages with 14 chapters.


As IT technical books go, I would give this one an A+. The book provides the reader with just the right amount of information in the proper order before moving to the next chapter. Because the book is designed as a study guide to prepare the user for the EMC PPC Exam the author has included additional questions in each chapter that helps reinforce the readers understanding.


The book also meets with my motto “Keep It Simple”. Pawan has a clear winner here. One that I will highly recommend to all my colleagues as suggested reading and it also doubles as a great quick reference. I plan on keeping this one on my desk from now on. Thank you Pawan for sharing this with me.


To get your copy hit the jump to PACKT Publishing.


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

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.

Johnny Gee reviews Documentum Content Management Foundations

Johnny Gee


Johnny Gee is a well-known Documentum Guru who 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 will be posted on the publisher's site. Enjoy! 



I normally don’t review books, but the author personally asked me to provide an unbiased review of his book. Given that this is the first book dedicated to EMC Content Management certification exam AND there are plenty of new Documentum developers asking about the certification process, I thought why not.


The book covers the same topics that the Documentum Technical Fundamentals class covers. The author does a good job explaining various Documentum concepts in layman’s terms. I especially like the use of “checkpoint” at the end of each chapter to test your understanding of the concepts and the inclusion of relevant DQL queries throughout the book. If you are having difficulties understanding the security model or how workflow works, the chapters covering these topics are exceptional.


The main problem I have with the book is the lack of a common theme behind the examples used throughout the book. The examples jump from courseware to resume submission to book development. It wouldn’t have been that much harder to develop a uniform story and it would definitely reinforce the learning process.


Would I buy the book myself - probably not, since I have worked with Documentum for over 10 years. Would I recommend it to a friend? Probably.


Besides the few technical errata I found in the book, I feel that this book would benefit anyone who has less than a year of experience working with Documentum. If you have worked with Documentum for a while, but are wary of taking the certification exam, the two practice exams included in the book are illustrative of the actual exam.


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

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