Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Introducing the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification

On september 10th the  new Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification was submitted to Oasis. The goal of this specification is to define a web service standard which will allow easier interaction between different ECM systems such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet P8, etc ...

Some interesting background info is to be found on the Microsoft ECM blog -

The CMIS specification defines a standard "domain model" for an ECM system - a set of core concepts that all modern ECM systems have, like Object Types (which in SharePoint we call "Content Types"), properties, folders, documents, versions, and relationships - and the set of operations that can be performed on those concepts, like navigating through a folder hierarchy, updating a document, etc.

The specification does NOT try to include all the capabilities of an ECM system - because many of these are simply too different between ECM systems. But the specification does attempt to include the fundamental concepts that are (a) relatively common across current ECM systems, and (b) enable the common integration scenarios that we've heard from customers to date.

The specification then defines how to bind the CMIS "domain model" to two different web service protocols: SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), the web services protocol used by many ECM systems (including SharePoint), and Atom, a newer web services model used in many "Web 2.0" applications.

The ultimate goal of CMIS is comparable with JSR170 (or Java Content Repository 1.0/JCR) with the main difference being  programming language indepence.

I believe that CMIS will further accelerate the commodization of ECM and that it will become a standard IT component of every organization similar to databases. The big differentiators in ECM platforms will be ease of extensibility, available development tools, workflow support, collaboration and search services. All things in which SharePoint Server 2007 excels.

Lots of organizations have already invested in traditional ECM players but this investment can only be monetized upon when you can extend its use throughout the enterprise. This means that your platform will need to be built with broad adoption in mind and built for extensibility.  With CMIS it will be feasible to offer content management functionalities 'as-a-service' to other platforms and applications.

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1 comment:

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