IBM Content Navigator v2.0.1 released

The latest version of IBM Content Navigator was released yesterday.

A quick summary of what’s new:

  • Filtering of search results
  • Multiple documents can be added to repository (drag-and-drop).
  • Properties for a list of documents can be exported to CSV.
  • Properties for multiple selected documents can be modified in the viewer in one go.
  • Integration with Microsoft Office.

A few useful links about ICN v2.0.1:

Posted in FileNet, IBM Content Navigator, P8 v5 | 2 Comments

More FileNet Certifications

IBM have been busy establishing the new line of ECM Certifications. Three more exams have been released recently:

Anyone currently following the FileNet certification path should also be aware that IBM have announced the retirement of various tracks.

Posted in Certification, FileNet, IBM Case Manager, P8 v4, P8 v5, Training | Leave a comment

IBM Content Navigator: Redbook

IBM have released a new RedBook for ICN.  Not only is this in PDF format, but you can now download it in EPUB format. It’s just a pity that Amazon Kindle doesn’t support this.

As you’d expect, the RedBook serves as a good introduction to ICN, but also has some great information on how to create plugins and extensions, and how to package Dijits (i.e. DoJo widgets) into iWidgets, for use in Business Space and Case Manager.

Posted in Development, FileNet, IBM Case Manager, IBM Content Navigator, P8 v5 | 1 Comment

Released: IBM Case Manager 5.1.1

ICM v5.1.1 got released today. To download from Passport Advantage, the package numbers are below:

AIX: CI9VBML

Windows: CI9VDML

RHEL: CI9VCML

Solaris: CI9VEML.

The new ICM Infocenter is also now available.

Also, quite a useful article here that goes through ICM development for CMIS.

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IBM Case Manager 5.1.1 imminent

The next major release of ICM is due to be released in September. Here’s a bit of sneak preview information I’ve been able to gleen about what we can expect to see functionality-wise:

Installation: Sadly, CMPIT is not provided. Whether this returns in subsequent releases is not clear. SUSE Linux is now supported.

IBM Content Navigator: As expected, ICM dependency on WorkplaceXT is now (almost) removed. ICN is now used for viewing documents, through the ICM Viewer widget.  Images can appear in tabs / split-screen / popup window.

Case Builder: Multiple Role Inbaskets can now be defined. Process Designer can now be opened directly from the Manage Solutions page. There are performance improvements on opening a solution. Multiple roles can now share the same PE Queue.

Case Client: New Content List widget – supports properties, versioning, download, stored searches. Case List / Document List widget now has multi-select action. All XT Dialogs are now replaced with new ICM style dialogs, e.g. Add Document, Properties can now be edited during check-in, and System properties displayed. Add Document using Drag-and-drop into Document tab, or Attachment widget (Firefox only). New widget – Process History (milestone-related).

Localisation: Various improvements to localisation, and extra multi-lingual support.

API: Case Java API now published and documented – acmapi.jar.  Corresponds to the Case REST API. This will also be available in CI Component queue – Case_Operations.

Plus…..  Enhanced Work Assignment and Task capabilities.

Really, there are too many enhancements to list, so if you have specific questions, please email me directly through the Contact page.

Posted in ACM, FileNet, Financial Services, IBM Case Manager, P8 v5 | 1 Comment

IBM FileNet certifications: Update

Over the past 12 months, IBM have been consolidating FileNet certifications, and moving them into a single IBM ECM Certification programme.

Although this transformation will soon render past certification achievements obsolete for a lot of us, and introduce extra expense for business partners, in my view this change can only enhance the credibility and prestige of FileNet certifications. The association with Prometric will now guarantee that tests are passed under strict and proper exam conditions.

It is is a work-in-progress – there are still a few gaps in the programme – but here is a list of those available currently:

Within the programme, certifications are grouped into three categories: Entry-level / Intermediate / Advanced. The six above all appear to be intermediate level.

Exams also appear to be slightly more challenging within this programme – in general more training courses are stipulated, along with recommended reading of product documentation, red books, and PDF publications. However, objectives are usefully stated in the curriculum format, making it clear what the expectation level is. At the time of writing, each exam costs $200.

Candidates are provided with a member site that lists current certifications, and provides certificates.

Posted in Certification, FileNet, P8 v5, Training | 5 Comments

First look at Content Navigator

IBM have been busy showing off Content Navigator to the masses, during the recent Content in Motion roadshows. Although I couldn’t make it myself, IBM have graciously published some of the presentation slide decks on the Interweb.

I’ve been busy myself, actually, seeing what all the fuss is about, so thought I would share a few visuals from the product itself:

Review of IBM Content Navigator

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IBM Content Navigator (aka Nexus) released

Last week finally saw the release of the much anticipated Nexus, or to give it its formal name, IBM Content Navigator. Strangely enough, it bursts onto the scene as version 2. I guess version 1 just passed me by.  I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, and it’s worthwhile looking into, as in my view it’s quite a significant release. It will eventually end up replacing the Workplace/WorkplaceXT products, and is a much more viable application to unleash on FileNet end-users. Especially given its embrace of iPhones / iPads, which is an issue raised by more and more customers recently.

From the perspective of a business partner, it should become the de facto front-end, whereas in the past it’s always been a matter of debate among colleagues in choosing from: Workplace, WorkplaceXT, Business Space, BPF, and more recently IBM Case Manager. From a development perspective, adding extra functionality, and integrating with third party systems should be a lot easier now with the introduction of a plug-in architecture, and adoption of DoJo / Dijits.

It can now be downloaded from IBM PartnerWorld, with a part number of CI717ML for the Windows version. Although it supports IBM Content Manager and CMOD, to be frank I’m only really interested in using this against IBM FileNet P8. There is a separate set of Hardware/Software requirements; normally for FileNet software, these are all collated in one huge PDF file.

The Installation guide can be found in the FileNet P8 Infocenter, under the section for Installing Additional FileNet P8 products. It’s also available as a separate PDF document. I’ve finished installing Content Navigator, and have made a few notes – I’ll publish these on this link as soon as I get round to uploading them.

A few points that are worth mentioning:

  • P8 Workflows are supported through the Process Engine. But you’ll have to patch up to 5.0.0 FP003.
  • A database is required to store configuration data. The usual suspects (DB2/Oracle/MSSQL) are supported.
  • All main Operating systems are supported: AIX, Linux, Windows.
  • Content Navigator will only work with the two main application servers: WebSphere & Weblogic.
  • As with the CE, and ICM, an Eclipse-derived configuration tool is supplied to ease deployment.
  • A limited licence for IBM Content Analytics with Enterprise Search is also included.

Once you have it installed, there’s also a User Guide available to peruse.

Posted in FileNet, IBM Content Navigator, P8 v5 | 4 Comments

Extending IBM FileNet

For any corporate enterprise, off the shelf software is usually insufficient to address its full business needs. Often, the 80/20 rule applies, where the majority of application requirements are met, but not all. So any software selected has to be powerful and flexible enough to be extensible and customisable.

By design, FileNet P8 is highly configurable out of the box, with the ability to easily tailor the standard front-end (WorkplaceXT), to define content classification schemas, and to engineer business processes through the Process Designer. But quite often that isn’t enough, because ECM applications don’t typically operate isolated; integration with other line of business applications is frequently a key issue.

Within the User interface, the most common element that FileNet end users are confronted with is the Step processor. A default is provided, but does tend to be derided as too cluttered, and is usually one of the first candidates for replacement. A custom step processor can provide the hooks to interface into other applications used in conjunction with a workflow. It can also enable us to visually enhance the User experience.

For simpler requirements, an attractive and more intuitive step processor can be put in place using FileNet eForms. These can accommodate colour/graphics/fonts, coupled with the ability to tailor the layout of fields. JavaScript can be introduced to impose a more dynamic feel, and lookups can suck up data through JSP or JDBC. eForms do have some annoying constraints though, and one wonders if IBM Forms will eventually usurp this product.

Within the My Workplace primary view, custom pages can be quickly added, and its composite portlets are another opportunity to extend FileNet. These portlets can be created using Java, but more often than not, it usually suffices to introduce web pages using the external URL portlet.

More recently, IBM has been pushing its new Widgets technology, manifested in Business Space. For anyone unfamiliar with this, it’s the same paradigm as SharePoint and its respective Web parts. A set of ECM widgets is made available, and these are connected together on a page with simple wiring. Custom widgets can be created using the DoJo framework, and these can also be used in IBM Case Manager.

Another DoJo technology that is soon to make an entrance is IBM’s Nexus portal, which will replace WorkplaceXT. With its inherent plugin architecture, this is designed from the outset to be customisable. This also comes complete with a new buzzword: the Dijit!

Within a FileNet Business Process, workflow steps can automate the interfaces into external applications, most notably through Database Stored procedures or Web service hosting/consumption.  Where these can’t satisfy a requirement, the catch-all approach is to create a custom component integrator in Java.

Finally, for any custom requirement that doesn’t fit any of the above approaches, there is always the option to develop a completely bespoke application, sitting on top of the FileNet API. The API comprises the Content Java API, and the Process Java API. Interfaces to these are provided for .Net platforms, and there is also the two REST services: PECMIS.

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Upcoming FileNet releases

A little bit of speculation about what we can expect to see in FileNet P8 this year.

Pretty soon we should see the release of IBM Nexus. This is a completely new User Interface, which will replace Workplace and Workplace XT. It will also be used by CM8 and CMOD. With Workplace, the availability of source code made it straight forward to customise the UI, whereas Workplace XT has a much more pleasant experience for end-users. Like IBM Case Manager, Nexus is built using the Dojo JavaScript framework, and provides a powerful plug-in architecture. This means new functionality can be bolted on without impacting the core application, and we should be seeing some examples of this straight away through an External Data Services plug-in, and ICA integration. Mobile devices will also be supported, such as iPhone / iPad.

Towards the end of 2012 we should see a new release of FileNet BPM, with the long-awaited J2EE edition of the Process Engine. This will not only improve BPM’s scalability and HA potential; it should also consolidate the installation process. Expect the configuration manager to include extra deployment tasks to deliver a one-stop shop for both CE & PE. Who knows… maybe Nexus too?

We should also expect to see IBM Case Manager removing its dependancy on WorkplaceXT.

Posted in ACM, FileNet, ICM, P8 v5 | 2 Comments