FAQ

General

How can I request a new feature?

Please contact the developer.

Rationale/Strategy

Why invest so much time/effort into a CONTENTdm® customization?

dmBridge is not a CONTENTdm® customization - it is a group of components that, together, provide modern web-based public access and discovery services for digital collections. It does happen to rely on CONTENTdm® on the back-end, but this could change some day. dmBridge abstracts our custom development from our asset management system, smoothing compatibility and easing upgrades.

How does dmBridge compare to the updated OCLC web templates?

As of this writing (May 2011), we are not familiar with the third iteration of the CONTENTdm® web templates, as we don't use them. We have little doubt that they are much improved and that the vast majority of CONTENTdm® users will find them to be perfectly satisfactory.

One reason we are not using the OCLC templates at UNLV Libraries is that they were not available in 2008 when we needed them. When we began work on dmBridge then, we were fully aware that the then-current templates were a lost cause and would have to be replaced from scratch. That has happened as expected. Since 2008, however, dmBridge has grown beyond a template engine, into the role of a broader infrastructural component that a template engine alone would not be able to fulfill.

Wouldn't it be risky for me to switch to dmBridge? What if the project stagnates or dies?

UNLV Libraries makes no guarantees regarding availability, support, or compatibility; and dmBridge should not be your first choice if vendor support is a priority. That said, even if dmBridge were to disappear tomorrow, the following points should be kept in mind:

  1. The current version still works, for at least as long as you continue to use the same version of CONTENTdm®, and possibly longer.
  2. Your templates are constructed using standard HTML/CSS. With some work, the markup and styling can be woven into some other system.
  3. None of your objects, collections, or object metadata are affected by dmBridge.
  4. All of your social data is stored in an extremely simple database schema that you can easily export.
  5. You will have to revert any hyperlinks on your website to point to the CONTENTdm templates instead of the dmBridge template engine.
  6. Your reference URLs still work, if you have been using them for linking to objects (always a good idea).
  7. The software license is extremely permissive and anyone else can fork the code and "take over" the project at any time, with or without anyone else's permission - so you might not have to switch away at all. The code will take some time to learn, but the quantity is much greater than the complexity.
  8. CONTENTdm still works and has not been affected by your running dmBridge.

It is both possible and recommended to "switch" incrementally, one template set at a time. That way, if, in the course of your exploration, it turns out that dmBridge will not work for you, it will be that much easier to back out.

Who should not use dmBridge?

At this time, organizations that are unable to allocate adequate time for from-scratch web template design work should probably not use dmBridge (if that's what they were going to use it for). One current advantage of the CONTENTdm® templates is that they provide an almost-publicly-usable experience right out of the box. dmBridge does not, at this time, provide a similarly complete template set - instead it provides a blank slate on which superior templates can be constructed, with time and effort.

dmBridge also offers an HTTP API component, as well as a PHP API component. Either or both of these can be used without deploying any custom web templates, and are easy to set up.

What if the CONTENTdm® PHP API goes away?

dmBridge interfaces with CONTENTdm® by wrapping calls to the CONTENTdm® PHP API inside its own class methods. With some conversion work, it could be modified to pull data from some other API. The CONTENTdm® PHP API is used by CONTENTdm®'s own web templates, so we don't expect it to go anywhere in the near-to-medium term.

Upgrades

Will future upgrades of dmBridge break my dmBridge templates?

The templates interface with dmBridge using the dmBridge PHP API. Although this API is fairly stable, from time to time, there are likely to be minor changes to it that will require minor changes to your templates. Most likely this will mean updating a few lines of code in each template set. We will document these API changes when they happen. We use dmBridge too, and we don't want to break our templates any more than we want to break yours!

Will future upgrades of CONTENTdm® break my dmBridge templates?

It is possible that in the future, the CONTENTdm® PHP API will change in such a way that dmBridge will need to be updated to support the new version, in which case you will need to upgrade to the new version of dmBridge. If you use dmBridge, it would be best to check the dmBridge website for compatibility information when planning a CONTENTdm® upgrade.

Is there any way that dmBridge could break CONTENTdm®?

dmBridge has very little effect on CONTENTdm® files. It is completely self-contained, and it does not overwrite any CONTENTdm® files except the reference URL resolver script, which the installation instructions recommend that you back up.

Compatibility

Does dmBridge require a database?

It can be used without a database, minus the commenting, tagging, and rating features - i.e. any social features that store data from "the outside."

dmBridge currently supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. In contrast to the first two, SQLite is a simple, lightweight database library that stores all data in a single on-disk binary file and requires virtually zero configuration or management.

Does CONTENTdm® CQR code work with dmBridge?

Yes, with minor modification (see the user's manual).

Does dmBridge work in the OCLC hosted environment?

dmBridge 1.0 did, but 2.0 is currently unverified. Please give it a try and contact us if there are any problems.