EMC woos Eclipse developers with cash prize

Company has announced the integration of the Eclipse development tools in Documentum, and a $100,000 prize for the best application

EMC announced the integration of Eclipse development tools in Documentum — the first major upgrade since 2002 — and is offering a $100,000 (£49,289) prize for the best application.

The storage vendor is promising a more open development platform and easier integration between Documentum 6 and other business applications with the latest release. Documentum 6 allows developers to build applications using an open-source application development tool, Eclipse.

Alex Lee, chief executive of Lateral Minds, Documentum and Alfresco integrators, said: "EMC's use of Eclipse is not about getting developers on board, but rather that the majority of developers are using Eclipse anyway. Documentum's tools needed an upgrade and the Eclipse engine is designed for building apps in that way, so it made sense to make it the foundation for building the tool set versus maintaining it on their own code base."

Hoping to promote the new "open" development tools, EMC is holding the Developer Challenge, offering developers up to $100,000 for winning applications, which it plans to announce at the EMC Developer Conference in Monaco in September this year.

A spokesperson for EMC said the code of the winning application will be made freely available via the EMC Developer Network website.

Paul Ricketts, EMC's chief architect in the Asia-Pacific region and Japan, said: "This competition is really about innovation and how people are using the Documentum platform ... We're really excited to see the kind of apps that are presented to us."

The developer incentive and the open API are part of EMC's strategy to make content management part of the infrastructure rather than a stand-alone platform, said Ricketts. He said EMC wants content management to be part of the infrastructure and for it to be integrated with other business applications, such as portals, CRM, ERP and financial systems.

"What we are doing is leading the way in the industry to fully integrating content management into any organisation's application," he said.

Lee said the major problem with Documentum is its long release cycle and the fact it is used as bait for data-storage sales.

Other features of Documentum 6 include Branch Office Caching Services, offering improved document control in distributed work environments by allowing users to access and work on files locally via the caching service.

According to Gartner, EMC's global market share was 14.3 percent in 2006, behind Open Text with Hummingbird and IBM with FileNet, whose respective market shares were 17 and 24 percent. In 2006 Documentum earned just under $375m (£184m) for EMC. While Gartner has previously estimated Documentum's annual growth rates to be as high as 27 percent, EMC's latest quarterly earnings report recorded just a five percent increase in year-on-year earnings for the division — the lowest growth in its portfolio.