Momentum 2008 – Composer

December 3, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Architecture, D6, Momentum | 7 Comments
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Ever since I got back from Momentum it’s been work, work, work. That’s what happens when you take 4 days off to look around at what’s going on. I recall that I was going to post some more thoughts on some of the other products that I saw.

I went to David Louie’s presentation on Composer. Have to say I was impressed with what I saw. This maybe because I’ve been developing with Eclipse for a while now, so having something that integrates natively with this environment is a big plus. Whilst there are many interesting functional features of Composer I was most interested in a single slide that compared Composer with Application Builder.

First Composer doesn’t require a connection to the docbase to get your work done. You can of course import objects from a docbase, but you can also import from a docapp archive.

Secondly Composer can install your application (a DAR, similar to a DocApp in concept) into a docbase via a GUI installer but you can also use something called Headless Composer which is a GUI-less installer that runs from the command line. Not absolutely sure on the specifics at this point but possibly uses ant. David said that there are details in the documentation – I will be sure to try it out and post my findings at a later date.

This last point was of great interest to me as I’m currently investigating how to run Documentum development using a continuous integration approach. Being able to deploy your artifacts from the command line, and therefore from some overall automated controlling process is essential to making continuous integration a reality. On this note I also spoke to Erin Samuels (Sharepoint Product Manager) and Jenny Dornoy (Director, Customer Deployments). I hope that the sharepoint web parts SDK that is likely to integrate into MS Visual Studio will also have support for a headless installer, and also that Documentum/EMC products generally support the continuous integration approach.



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  1. I’ve played around with Composer a little. Absolutely fabulous app. Big improvement over DAB.

  2. Hi Robin,
    Been reading you blog for a while and find it very informative. Many thanks for your contributions.

    Given this post you may find my blog, which centers on Composer, of interest. You can find it at

    Regards some of your points. Composer actually targets 3 specific actors; the developer, the build engineer (which talks to your continuous integration point), and the admin (the rcp installer targets). This is actually something I have been meaning to expand upon but havent had the time yet. I will try to make some time for this over the coming months.

    Once again. Many thanks.

  3. Paul, thanks for the feedback, very useful to those of us just starting to get to grips with Composer.

    I’ve had your blog on my blogroll for quite a while now – I would encourage everyone to visit Paul’s blog both to consume the very useful information he provides about Composer and to contribute and ask questions. We definitely need more EMC people like Paul blogging.

  4. weiszguy – was there any thing you wished you had known about before you started using Composer (especially given your previous use of DAB)?

  5. I’ve been meaning to make the switch to Composer, but haven’t yet. I just wanted to note that you can do scripted DocApp deployment with the DDS.jar that comes with DAB and Ant.

    If you put DDS.jar on Ant’s classpath, you can taskdef:

    attributes docAppName, archivePath
    attributes archivePath, logFilePath, propFilePath

    Both tasks require properties dctm.docbaseName, dctm.userName, dctm.loginTix, and dctm.domain to already be set.

  6. David – great tip, I’ve commented further here

  7. […] DocApps are bad January 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm | In Continous Integration, Development | A recent comment on one of my posts pointed out that you could script DocApp installs using an unsupported ant task. […]

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