xCP 1.6 Sample Application Tutorial – Mail Manager

I recently implemented the sample xCP 1.6 Mail Manager application following the tutorial, and it was an absolute pleasure going through it. There was no real problem encountered with the documentation or with the execution of the steps. The small issues that I had to deal with included some differences in the screenshots (such as Model Type field missing when creating a type in TaskSpace) and a missing step (I was expecting the step by the time I got there, so it’s easy to catch) in composing the application in TaskSpace.

I was expecting some issues as my Documentum environment is set up on Hyper-V VMs, which are not listed in the supported infrastructure. Also, I am using the 64-bit version of the Content Server.  No patches are installed though patch 6 is available at this time. My Documentum setup is summarized below:

Content Server Host

Content Server 6.7 SP1 (64-bit)
Oracle 11.2.0.2 (64-bit)
Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Enterprise (64-bit) (Hyper-V VM)

Application Server Host

Documentum applications 6.7 SP1
Tomcat 6.0.32 (64-bit)
Java 6 u33 (64-bit)
Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Enterprise (64-bit) (Hyper-V VM)

Client/Developer Desktop

Internet Explorer 9.0.9
Java 6 u33 (32-bit)
Windows 7 Ultimate Sp1 (64-bit) (Hyper-V VM)

The xCP 1.5 version of the tutorial may be found on the EMC Community Network. The xCP 1.6 version is available on Powerlink and in the download area.

While following this tutorial was easy, it took quite some patience to get all the products in the xCP bundle set up properly. For example, I installed BAM on Tomcat on the app server host and not on the Java Method Server, and that meant performing various installation steps manually. Spending time on the installation guides for all Documentum components is highly recommended.

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What is xCP anyway?

EMC have been emphasizing case management and xCP (xCelerated Composition Platform) for a while now. The introductions and overviews talk about case-based business solutions, configuration rather than customization, pre-built components, and best-practice patterns. All that is fine, but what is the bottom line? What products/components are we talking about? Is this something completely new? Let’s take a look.

Some documentation indicates that xCP consists of

  • TaskSpace
  • Process Builder
  • Forms Builder
  • Process Engine
  • Business Activity Monitor (BAM)

Other documentation details two product bundles under the xCP umbrella – xCP Designer and xCP User. xCP Designer products are used for developing the solutions:

  • Process Builder – used by developers to build process templates
  • Forms Builder – used by developers to build user interfaces for processes
  • Process Reporting Services (should be named Reports Builder) – used by developers to build reports
  • Process Analyzer – used by business analysts to analyze processes before and after they have been built using Process Builder
  • Composer – used by developers to develop, package, and deploy artifacts such as content types

xCP User products are used by the end users of the deployed solutions:

  • TaskSpace – the main user interface for xCP solutions
  • Content Server – core platform
  • Process Engine – executes processes in coordination with the Content Server
  • Process Integrator – formerly Business Process Services, enables (mainly) inbound integration with processes. For example, a incoming Web Service request or an incoming email can initiate a process.
  • Business Activity Monitor (BAM) – collects and prepares process execution data and uses it for serving reports and alerts. In addition to the usual benefits of reporting, it helps with troubleshooting and provides access to historical data.

If we don’t count the core platform and Composer (a core development tool), xCP essentially consists of the former Documentum process suite. At 6.7 SP1, it is probably more robust, better documented, and has many useful features.

So, if you haven’t had a chance to work with it, it probably won’t be too difficult to learn. Your primary hurdle will likely be setting up all these products properly. In my experience, it wasn’t too bad, but it required a decent amount of time and patience with the installation guides. It was also handy to use 3 virtual machines (VMs) – one for Content Server, Process Engine, and database, second for application server (DA, Webtop, TaskSpace, BAM-server, Process Integrator), and the third one for development desktop (Composer, Process Builder, Forms Builder, Process Reporting Services, Browser).