Where’s the beef (or my new custom type)?

One of the most common questions from developers who are learning about Documentum for the first time is:

Why doesn’t my custom type show up when I try to create a new document?

In order to create custom object types, most developers read Documentum Application Builder (DAB) User Guide or Content Server Fundamentals.  Creating a new custom type with custom attributes is relatively straightforward using DAB.  Assuming you add the attributes to the Display Configuration correctly, you should see the attributes in Webtop.  Wrong.  Getting them to show up in Webtop requires a few more steps that a lot of new developers overlook.  Let’s review this first:

Anytime you modify an object type (and check it in of course), you should always:

  1. Run the data dictionary publishing job – or issue publish api
  2. Restart Webtop application server – or clear the dmcl cache on the application server

If you follow these two simple steps, your custom attributes should show on the import page when you select your object type.  Now, when you click on File->New Document, you should see your custom type as well.  Wrong.

The New Document feature was built on the principle that newly created documents should be based some sort of corporate document template for a given object type – sort of like a Microsoft Word template.  If you understand the idea of a template, then the step makes absolute sense.  You need to import a document template (eg Word template) into the “Templates” cabinet and select your custom type.  Once you have a document of your custom type in the “Templates” cabinet, the File->New Document will have your custom type in the Type picklist.

One other note, you need to import one document per custom type/per format.  If you imported a Word template, do not expect to see your custom type show up for a Powerpoint format.

One last note, this behaviour has changed in 5.3.  If you do not import a document template, Webtop defaults format to none and will create a “content-less” object.


5 responses to “Where’s the beef (or my new custom type)?

  1. I just wanted to add a comment on point no 2.
    Even if you restart the app server, some time it does not clear the dmcl cache. I would suggest to clear dmcl cache, and restart

    Vivek Pandey

  2. You’re right Vivek. I have seen your observation; however, I think this is very dependent on the web application you are using. Assuming that you are using the same setup in DEV as you are in PROD, you will know quite soon, if you need to manually delete the dmcl cache.

  3. U r right. I just added a comment as I experienced this many time. The article is helpful.


  4. Great article, Johnny. Creating a custom type/attributes is the first thing anyone wants to do with DCTM/Webtop. Here is another tip for those just starting their customization, let’s say you follow the information in this article and get a custom attribute showing up on checkin, checkout, import, etc.

    Then you decide that you don’t want the default control that DCTM is rendering (let’s say it is using a textfield and you want radio buttons). Instead of losing all the power of the WDK framework and the docbaseattributelist tag by manually adding a custom docbaseattribute to every one of these screens, instead modify the docbaseobjectconfiguration which can change the control used for rendering the value.

  5. Hi Johnny. Thanks for the informative blog. However, I’m still very new with WDK and my challenge is to make my custom attribute show in the attributes list whenever I click on the “i” icon. Would you please guide me as to how to do this? I tried customizing the attributes_dm_document_docbaseattributelist.xml file with no success. If you could help me with a brief step by step tutorial that would be greatly appreciated.

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