Bad Citizens of the (Documentum) World

December 14, 2007 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Troubleshooting | 4 Comments

One of the enduring problems with some Documentum application installers is that they can be very inconsiderate to other Documentum programs. Ever tried to install Content Server, Web Publisher and Documentum Application Builder on the same machine? Usually at least one app doesn’t work. This is a very typical scenario for a developer or consultant and is also a typical architecture for a small production Documentum installation. The ‘solution’ is to reinstall the app that isn’t working, but usually one of the other apps stop working (some solution).

The problem seems to be the way each application amends dctm.jar. dctm.jar contains a single manifest file that contains a list of other Documentum jar files that are needed by Documentum applications. Simply including dctm.jar on the class path serves to include all the jar files listed in the manifest. When the application installer for a product updates the dctm.jar manifest file to add it’s own application specific jar files the effect is often to remove the application specific files for another application. So you install DAB and Web Publisher stop working. You reinstall WebPublisher and DAB stops working.

Now one way to deal with this is to simply edit the manifest file to include the missing files. But I must admit I have found the manifest file to be very picky about how I update the file and in frustration I came up with another way that works well for DAB:

  • First install DAB and make a copy of dctm.jar, call it dctm2.jar
  • Now install the other applications
  • Create a batch file containing 1) a new class path definition to override the System classpath 2) Command line invocation of DAB

Here’s the contents of the batch file I use to start DAB (I locate it in C:\Program Files\Documentum\Application Builder):

set ClassPath=C:\Program Files\Documentum\dctm2.jar;C:\Documentum\config

Similarly Documentum Application Installer can be started using the following batch file located in C:\Program Files\Documentum\Application Installer:

set ClassPath=C:\Program Files\Documentum\dctm2.jar;C:\Documentum\config
"Application Installer.exe"



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  1. Robin,

    That is an interesting note.

    I have used 5.3 SPx with these three apps together on one machine for about three years and haven’t run into such a problem. I believe that I have installed the apps together on more than one machine over this period.

    The only thing I am guessing about is what “doesn’t work” means. Does an app not start at all or is there a specific piece of functionality that is not operational?

    Since you are describing a solution here I do believe that there is a problem. I am just curious to know how to identify it when I run into it so I know how to fix it,


  2. Hi Pawan, in the case of DAB or DAI you are likely to get a Windows application error during startup. This isn’t particularly helpful as it doesn’t give you a clue that the problem is with the classes available on the classpath. Initially I would solve the problem by reinstalling but then something else would break.

    When I finally got some time to look into the problem I scratched my head for a while and then I recalled a number of posts on the forums that suggested that the file in the dctm.jar would get ‘corrupted’. With a little bit of experimentation I established that the manifest was indeed missing some necessary jar files and that reinstalling replaced them (albeit other jar files were now missing).

    The standard advice on the forums was to ‘edit’ the file. However this is easier said than done when trying to update the file on a system with currently running apps as java seems to lock the dctm.jar for updates. Hence my ‘workaround’.


  3. Just make sure no documentum applications are running when installing another documentum app. If there are other programs running, they’ll lock dctm.jar and the installer program won’t be able to update it.


    Leonardo Bueno

  4. Leonardo, that’s always good advice. However there have been certain dctm releases that don’t seem to play by the rules. In those circumstances your have to resort to a little behind the scenes trickery.

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