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IBM® Lotus® Domino® Document Manager (DDM) has been providing customers with document management services for more than a decade. DDM is now being replaced by other, more advanced software.
IBM has announced that it will officially end standard DDM support services on 30 September 2012. The general replacement product is IBM Lotus Quickr® 8.5.1 for Domino (hereafter called Quickr Domino). All DDM customers who are current with their maintenance and support are entitled to the Quickr Domino license and it is on their Passport Advantage account. Other no-cost entitlements are also available, including IBM FileNet Content Manager Collaboration Edition
and IBM Content Manager Collaboration Editon
(contact your IBM Account Representative or Business Partner to have the DDM Program Office contacted for an entitlement change). Other similar products include IBM Connections Content Edition
(from business partner DLI.tools).
As a new-generation collaboration software, however, Quickr Domino differs from DDM, which is only for document management. To help you better understand these differences, in this article we compare Quickr Domino with DDM with respect to the following features:
- Hierarchical structure
- Security settings
- Document management model
- Document management functions
- User interface
- Other features
Let's start by discussing the hierarchical structures.
The main objective of DDM is to manage documents more effectively. There are five basic layers in the DDM structure: Library, Room, Cabinet, Category, and Binder, as shown in figure 1 and explained below:
Figure 1. Hierarchical structure of DDM
- Library. First, the user must create a Library, which is the root of DDM and includes all the other elements.
- Room. The Room is a virtual layer that can be used to categorize Cabinets.
- Binders. Binders are stored in a Cabinet, which supports the permission setting within its layer.
- Category. The Category functions the same as a Room, in that it's a virtual layer that categorizes the Binders.
- Binder. The Binder is the place to store all the documents in DDM.
The DDM system can be compared to a Library having different Rooms in which many Cabinets are stored. Each Cabinet has some Categories, in which there are many Binders. All the documents are stored in these Binders.
Though this obligatory structure makes it clear to review the storage structure of documents, it lacks the flexibility for you to organize the documents.
There are three layers in the structure of Quickr Domino: Place, Room, and Folder, as shown in figure 2 and explained below:
Figure 2. Hierarchical structure of Quickr Domino
- Place. First, a user must create a Place, which is the root of Quickr Domino and in which the Room and Folder can be created to store the documents.
- Room. A Room can be thought of as a sub-Place. It allows permission resetting inside the Place, and only certain users can gain access to the content inside the Room. The user can even create a new Room inside the Place or in another Room, but not in the Folder.
- Folder. A Folder represents a group of documents or information. It can be created inside the Place, Room, or even another Folder. Library is a default Folder of Quickr Domino.
Quickr Domino allows you to store documents anywhere you want, so it's more flexible than DDM in that respect. If you do not need the hierarchical structure as in DDM, you can use the plain structure in Quickr Domino.
If you do need the hierarchical structure to organize documents, Quickr Domino can also provide you with the options of hierarchical nesting and Places in which more documents can be stored.
In this section we compare security aspects.
DDM has an excellent security system, owing to the unique and strong security structure of Lotus Domino.
DDM supports the Domino Directory and the LDAP Directory, allowing users to set the permissions at the level of File Cabinet, Binder, or Document, and providing the different roles of Reader, Editor, Manager, and Binder Creator.
Table 1 provides more details on the roles of users and their permissions.
Table 1. Roles and permissions in DDM
Create and edit documents
Change security settings, edit documents
Has the same permissions as Editor; is allowed to create Binders
View the properties of Binder; cannot add or delete any document
View or edit the properties of Binder; view, edit, or create documents
View, create, edit, or delete Binder and documents; change the security settings of Binder
Has the same permissions as Editor; is allowed to create Binders
View or edit documents
View, edit, delete documents; change the security settings of documents
The security settings of DDM can be inherited from its parent or set at the level of Cabinet, Binder, and Document.
Quickr Domino supports the Domino Directory and LDAP Directory. The user of Quickr Domino can directly create a local account in Place. The security levels and roles of users in Quickr Domino are shown in the following table:
Table 2. Roles of users and their permissions in Quickr
Access to Place and view the documents
Access to Place, and create, view or edit documents
Access to Place, and view, create, or modify documents
View, create, modify or delete documents; create or delete Rooms; manage members and change the security settings at different levels; delete Places
Access to Room and view the documents
Access to Room, and create, view, or edit documents
Access to Room, and view, create, or modify documents
Access to Room; view, create, modify, or delete documents; create a sub-Room; add members and change the security settings of different levels; delete Rooms
Access to Folder and view the documents
Access to Folder, and create, view or edit documents
Access to Folder, and view, create, or edit documents
Access to Folder; view, create, modify, or delete documents; create a Folder, add members and change the security settings; delete Folders
View, edit, delete documents, or change access permission of document
DDM and Quickr Domino have the same Directory, so that when transferring the content of DDM to Quickr Domino, you also transfer the security settings of DDM. By using the same Directory in Quickr Domino, you can transfer all DDM's security settings together with the data.
Although both DDM and Quickr Domino are based on the security structure of Lotus Domino, there are some differences with respect to setting the security levels and the roles of users; there is an Author and an Owner in the Quickr Domino, but no Binder Creator.
During the data transference, the Binder Creator can be mapped to the Folder owner or Room owner according to the customer’s needs and designs.
The next feature we compare is document types.
Files and related data for both DDM and Quickr Domino reside on the Domino server, whose main storage is in NSF databases.
An uploaded file is seen as a manageable document in DDM, and the rest of the input is seen as the metadata of this document, which is also related to the profile of the document.
Different types of documents have different metadata. Figure 3 shows an example of a Contracts document created in DDM that includes four profiles: Prepared by, Date, Brief Description, and Company Name.
Figure 3. Contracts document
There are 25 types of default documents offered by DDM including, for example, Application, Archive Sample, Asset Valuation, Client Correspondence, and Contract; however, adding any new model is not flexible in that you must modify the code.
In Quickr Domino, every uploaded file is seen as an attachment to the new page, which is created in accordance with the form and includes the file names and the attachments. Figure 4 shows a page created based on the Upload File form.
Figure 4. Upload File form
Quickr Domino provides the Forms of Imported file, Page, and Link, in addition to Upload.
Although Quickr Domino offers a smaller number of document models than DDM, it enables users to customize a Form, making it more flexible and convenient to create a customized document model, including those used in DDM, without any code modification.
Document management functions
This section addresses document management functions.
Version Control. One of the document management functions of DDM is the version control function for formal documents and drafts, called the major version control and the minor version control, respectively.
The major versions are represented by integers, such as 1.0 or 2.0, while the minor versions are represented by decimals, such as 1.1 or 1.2. Both the formal and draft versions support check-in and check-out, but the formal version has full access to all users, whereas the draft is available only to the editors or the users who have administration privileges.
The check-in/check-out mechanism in DDM prevents different users from working on the same document at the same time, by working in a distributed environment by duplicating the database.
To ensure a document is not modified by two users at the same time, the check-out operation can be done only on the main server, which can avoid parallel conflicts in documents but will cause delays if the user cannot access the main server directly.
Thus you must save the check-out operation in the Transaction database on the main server before executing.
DDM also has an examination and approval function for documents whereby users can set up who can examine documents and how---either in parallel or serial---when examined by more than one person. They can also specify how many days after which a notification email will be sent, if there is still no comment heard from the examiner, and so on.
During the examining process, users can also decide whether the examiner can edit the document or can only add comments to it.
In the approval process, after the document has been approved by all the examiners, users can decide whether the document should be checked in to another version automatically or still be saved as a draft, waiting for them to check it in. All of this brings users greater flexibility.
Version Control. Quickr Domino's version control works differently than DDM's. Although Quickr Domino also supports formal versions and drafts, there is never a version with more than one draft in it because any draft after being upgraded to a version will be deleted automatically.
If the user saves a document as a draft, the document will be visible only to him/her, and no other users can view or edit this draft.
The process of check-in/check-out in Quickr Domino is the same as in the DDM, and Quickr Domino also supports users creating copies in a cluster environment. However, Quickr Domino has no mechanism to prevent different users from checking out the same document on different servers.
Thus there is a possibility of a conflict in saving and copying, though this likelihood is quite low.
This is the same as in DDM, and Quickr Domino also offers some functions in the workflow. The settings have already been defined in the Form, so users no longer need to change the workflow settings in documents.
Table 3 summarizes the differences in document management functions between DDM and Quickr Domino.
Table 3. Comparison of DDM and Quickr Domino document management functions
Finally, let's compare the UIs.
Both DDM and Quickr Domino provide access to the client sides in multiple ways, including the Web client, the local application client under the Windows platform, and the Notes client. However, they are different in one way or another.
As the main UI of DDM (see figure 5), the Web client lets users view the library and its content through the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. It supports all the major browsers, although DDM did not officially claim that it could support the latest browser versions, because the last version of DDM was released in 2005 before the latest browser releases.
Figure 5. Web client of DDM
DDM provides users with an alternative interface called Desktop Enabler (DTE), as shown in figure 6. The DTE is a desktop application based on the Windows platform and can be easily integrated within Windows Internet Explorer, providing access to the Library through HTTP and Notes protocols.
The DDM also offers users a client side that is integrated with the Microsoft Office suite to operate the documents in DDM with the Office applications.
Figure 6. DTE of DDM
Users can access the DDM through the Notes client because the DDM is a pure application of Domino. In addition, the DDM administrator can use the Notes client as a major UI to create a Library, Cabinet, or Binder and set up the configuration (see figure 7).
Figure 7. Notes client of DDM
DDM offers a set of APIs on which the implementation of the DTE relies. These API interfaces can be used to create the other interfaces to integrate with DDM. There are 24 types of APIs available for users to work with the document management functions of DDM. If you want to develop a new client for the DDM server, you must use these APIs and since these APIs are included in the DTE client, you must install DTE first so you can use them.
The Web client is a major UI of Quickr Domino also. As new-generation collaborative software, Quickr Domino uses a large number of Web 2.0 technologies and modes in both design and development, making the Web interface more friendly and easier to use (see figure 8).
The Web client can be used to do almost all the operations in Quickr Domino and all the basic management tasks.
Figure 8. Web Client of Quickr Domino
The desktop applications of Quickr Domino are called Connectors, which can be integrated with many other applications, including Windows Internet Explorer, Office, and Outlook, and IBM Lotus SymphonyTM, IBM Lotus Sametime®, and Lotus Notes. A Connector has access to the content in Quickr Domino and is able to perform check-in/check-out, create new versions, etc.
Lotus Notes is no longer used as a major administrator client in Quickr Domino; instead, its role is to enable users to save emails and attachments in a Quickr Domino Place. Figure 9 shows the Windows Explorer Connector.
Figure 9. Windows Explorer Connector of Quickr Domino
Quickr Domino can be integrated with IBM Web Content Manager and IBM FileNet through an API. In addition, a set of APIs based on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and REpresentational State Transfer (REST) are publicly available through which other applications can also integrate with Quickr Domino.
- Both DDM and Quickr Domino have Web clients as the major UI, with a set of desktop applications as another option, and APIs to help users with system integration. However, Quickr Domino has advantages over DDM in these three aspects:
- Because Quickr Domino applies the Web 2.0 technology, its Web client is better than that of the DDM in both style and user experience. In addition, Quickr Domino also offers the theme-customization function.
- In terms of the support of desktop applications, Quickr Domino supports a wider range of applications than does DDM. It not only supports Windows Explorer and Office but also Lotus Symphony, Lotus Sametime and Lotus Notes.
All the APIs of Quickr Domino are published by the Web services, with two different styles of calling─SOAP and REST, making it much easier to integrate than the APIs of DDM.
Comparing other features
In addition to the standard document-management functions and the strong security, DDM offers other useful features that make it a leader in document management. Not only does Quickr Domino have similar features as DDM but also, as a collaborative platform, it provides better user experience and improved customization.
Table 4 provides a brief comparison of some of these features.
Table 4. Comparison of other features
Cross-Cabinet searching in one library. Shows the results on a single view. The searching can be operated from any UI as well as from the other integrated APIs of DDM.
Has the same searching function as DDM.
By creating a bookmark to create a virtual copy of the document in another binder, users can also use the bookmark to directly open any targeted document. DDM supports creation of a bookmark in any document of any binder.
Fulfills the function by creating a Link document.
The forums in DDM allow users who have the correct permissions to discuss a certain document.
As a collaborative platform, Quickr Domino offers a larger number of collaborative tools, such as group calendar, wikis, blogs, and discussion forums.
Uses agents to develop; a knowledge of related techniques is required.
Quickr Domino supports the customization in place, template, form, theme and so on, with no requirement of other techniques.
Users can preserve documents and binders by creating a favorite, from which they can get into the catalogue directly from the library. All the UIs support the creation of favorites.
Fulfills the function by creating a folder or Link-type document.
As document management software, Domino Document Manager has achieved great success; however, its interface, functions, and user experience can no longer meet the needs of customers.
Quickr Domino's new-generation software platform has the same mechanisms as DDM in terms of storage and security management, as provided by the Domino server, so DDM users can easily transfer their data to Quickr Domino.
Quickr Domino applies a number of Web 2.0 technologies, such as the Web Services Interface, Asynchronous calls, Unified Web UI, multiple accesses, and customization functions, all of which provide a better user experience. Quickr Domino also offers more functions than DDM, for instance, the Calendar, Task, and List functions, which improve teamwork efficiency.
IBM Redbook (no charge): Self Assessment and Strategy Guide for Migrating from Domino Document Manager
IBM Lotus Quickr Information Center
developerWorks Lotus Quickr product page
developerWorks Lotus Domino Document Manager product page
Lotus Quickr Forum
About the author
Tao YT Yan i
s a Software Engineer based at IBM's China Development Lab in Beijing, where he works on the Lotus Quickr for Domino product and is responsible for DDM customer support.