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18 th International Unicode Conference. Documentum and UTF-8: Converting Content Management Software Product Line to Unicode. 27 April 2001 Donald Ziff. Agenda. What is Documentum? Documentum’s I18N Problem How Unicode UTF-8 Saved the Day Other Success Factors Demo.

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18th International

Unicode Conference

Documentum and UTF-8:

Converting Content Management

Software Product Line to Unicode

27 April 2001

Donald Ziff

Documentum Proprietary

  • What is Documentum?
  • Documentum’s I18N Problem
  • How Unicode UTF-8 Saved the Day
  • Other Success Factors
  • Demo

Documentum Proprietary

Documentum Proprietary and Confidential

about documentum
About Documentum
  • Documentum: NASDAQ “DCTM”
  • The Leader in Web and Enterprise Content Management Solutions
  • > $128M in revenue 1999. > 800 employees.
  • Over 900+ Global 2000 customers with strong vertical focus
  • Over 25 Offices in 10+ countries

Documentum Proprietary

dctm s i18n problem
DCTM’s I18N Problem
  • Everyone agrees: we need I18N to fuel growth – especially in Asia
  • Asian-certified product much more important than multi-lingual
    • Although demand for multi-lingual is growing…
  • So why not I18N?

Documentum Proprietary

i18n perception problems
I18N Perception Problems
  • Too Difficult – won’t fit into a development cycle
  • Too much Overhead – multiplies QA and Support
  • Not Sexy – no new functionality

Let’s look at these problems…

Documentum Proprietary

i18n is too difficult
“I18N is too difficult”

Product Layers:

  • Server (built on RDBMS + Verity)
  • DMCL: Client Library (C++)
  • DFC: Foundation Classes (Java)
  • DTC: Desktop Client – Win32 end-user client
  • WDK: Web Development Kit
  • RightSite: Legacy Web-Server Integration
  • Web Publisher: Web Content Management App
  • Legacy clients: Workspace (Win32), Intranet

Documentum Proprietary

history lesson
History Lesson
  • Server v3.1.6.INT, created by consultants for Japanese market, was expensive and time-consuming
    • 3.1.6.INT attempted to internationalize all the layers in the DCTM architecture at once
  • 4.0 was released without I18N changes
  • 4.1 followed, the deltas from 3.1.6 to 3.1.6.INT became hard to apply…

Documentum Proprietary

i18n requires too much overhead
“I18N requires too much overhead”
  • The DCTM server requires pharmaceutical-strength certification
  • Dimensions of certifications:
    • 3 RDBMS platforms: Oracle, Sybase, SQL-Server
    • 4 Server OS’s: NT, Solaris, HPUX, AIX
  • The 3.1.6.INT architecture introduced new dimensions, leading us to…

Documentum Proprietary

certification hell
Certification Hell!
  • New certification dimensions:
    • 5 DCTM Server code-pages
    • 5 RDBMS code-pages
  • Market requires another dimension:
    • 5 Server OS Localizations
  • 125 new times 12 old  1500 certs!
  • Exaggeration, of course… But still…

Documentum Proprietary

i18n not sexy
“I18N not sexy”
  • DCTM is a growth company, needs sizzle as well as steak
  • I18N grows markets, but doesn’t add much to marketing message
  • To be fair: new functionality is not just “sexy” – it is essential to DCTM’s continued survival
  • Other priorities will move to the top…

Documentum Proprietary

dctm s i18n requirements
DCTM’s I18N Requirements
  • Crucial need: support Asia from the main code-line. One binary for the world
  • Backward compatibility essential
  • Multi-lingual features would be a side-benefit. High on the wish list for a few key customers
  • I18N project must be scoped down to be achievable

Documentum Proprietary

how utf 8 saved the day
How UTF-8 Saved the Day
  • UTF-8 moves safely through the server because anything that looks like ASCII actually is
  • Standardizing on UTF-8 as the only supported internal code-page cuts down certification matrix

Documentum Proprietary

lessons from double byte experiments
Lessons from Double-Byte Experiments
  • EUC-KR: 4.1 server works (basically)
  • SJIS: problems! double-byte characters whose second bytes are ASCII: \ ` |
  • Lessons:
    • Non-ASCII moves through the server safely
    • String handling need not be double-byte aware, if ASCII always means ASCII
  • Solution: UTF-8!

Documentum Proprietary

utf 8 ascii is ascii
  • No need for special string handling
    • Server 3.1.6.INT replaced all standard c string handling with calls to 3rd-party library
    • With UTF-8, we stick with standard – yacc and other legacy tools work fine
  • Greatly improved perception (and reality) of how difficult I18N would be
    • Now, it’s relatively low-impact

Documentum Proprietary

it s utf 8 dummy
It’s UTF-8, dummy!
  • Use UTF-8 everywhere, cut down on certification dimensions
  • Provides safe character-handling for Asia
  • Even though multi-lingual is not a requirement
  • Easier to support

Documentum Proprietary

other success factors
Other Success Factors
  • Rely on RDBMS services to translate between RDBMS code-page and UTF-8
  • Market research cut back on OS localization constraints
  • Transcoding infrastructure

Documentum Proprietary

rdbms transcodes to from utf 8
RDBMS transcodes to/from UTF-8
  • Oracle and Sybase transcode automatically – SQL Server is a problem
  • No need for new transcoding calls between Server and RDBMS – lower impact
  • Upgrade customers have non-unicode RDBMS – no need for them to convert
  • One less certification dimension!

Documentum Proprietary

cut back on localized os certs
Cut back on Localized OS certs
  • Limit RDBMS for Asia – for 4.2, just Oracle
  • Localized OS certification not necessary for Europe

Documentum Proprietary

transcoding infrastructure
Transcoding Infrastructure
  • Server must be aware of interface code-pages
  • Transcoding done at the interfaces
  • 3rd party transcoding used: Uniscape’s GlobalC

Documentum Proprietary

new i18n architecture
New I18N Architecture

Desktop Client

Custom WebApp

Web Publisher

Intranet Client


WDK (Unicode)



DFC (Unicode)

Web Cache


( UTF8) DMCL (4.2)

DMCL ≤ 4.1 (NCS)

e-Content Server



National Character Set


File System




Documentum Proprietary

  • Demo – multilingual WDK
  • If there’s time, a quick look at localized Desktop Client (Win32 Client)

Documentum Proprietary


UTF-8 was a crucial technology in DCTM’s I18N strategy:

  • Provided an easy path for legacy C++
  • Supported specific Asian languages consistently, minimizing certifications
  • Prepared infrastructure for multi-lingual requirements

Documentum Proprietary