Monday, December 03, 2012

Document Management - CMIS 1.1 protocol approved

With apparently very little fanfare, CMIS 1.1 passed the final votes to become an approved specification.

Now, some people may come to this blogpost and ask the question: "What is CMIS and what is great about 1.1 being approved?"

CMIS is an attempt to standardize the protocol to communicate with document/content management systems (EDMS/ECM). These systems have been around for ages (>15 years?).  But they are ruled by large, proprietary giants who protect their investments by making sure that once you are integrated with them, you are locked into them without another large investment to re-develop/design all those integrations into another proprietary system.  These may not have been malicious decisions, but attempts to provide value add, but the end result is the same --- you get locked in.

WebDAV - a protocol that some of them started to follow.  A good protocol.  But lacked standard query support and repository/administration support.

JCR - Java Content Repository (two different revisions over time).  Java-specific, attempt to define *how* to build a content repository, the underlying piece of an EDMS/ECM, but didn't exactly define a good integration/interaction protocol for clients or other tools.  However, this did plant the seed to create various open source alternative EDMS/ECMs, so thank you (although it is java-specific, at least someone started something!)

CMIS 1.0 - after JCR, CMIS came into play as a language-agnostic way to search and retrieve documents (atompub & webservice versions).

So...what is so great about CMIS 1.1?  It brings:

*  standard way to create custom object types (content models, document types, etc) through a common/standard protocol instead of relying on each vendor to provide their own mechnism.(2.1.10 Object-Type Creation, Modiļ¬cation and Deletion)

*  standard way to support 'mixin', or reuse, of properties using 'secondary types' (2.1.9 Secondary Object-Types)

With these two very important features, you can now create, search, retrieve, and (partially) maintain your content completely through a standard protocol, allowing creation of tools and interfaces against the protocol instead of vendor-specific implementations.

Do not get me wrong, the innovators in this space (Alfresco for example) provided vendor-specific value adds before the industry caught up, but some people, like myself, were resistant to those vendor-specific value-adds until can interoperate with other solutions.  To say you picked a solution *only* because a value add feels like a lockin.  To say you picked a solution above all others using the same features (CMIS 1.1 protocol) says a LOT more :-)

CMIS standard:

Monday, July 02, 2012

Laptop build

Although I was looking for a pre-installed linux laptop, found a too-good deal on a thinkpad x230t with sufficient capabilities for xen server needs while in a compact 12" formfactor.

 Step 1: Shrink the volume on the default Windows 7 install. Windows provides better support now adays for volume resizing. If you go to the control panel, search for 'partition' as a key word, you will see the disk management tools. This provides you the ability to shrink the volume....sort of. It appears it isn't an exact tool, and you will need to shrink, reboot, defrag, reboot, then shrink some more...repeating....until you get to the target size desired. I was aiming for 120GB, and it took 4 tries to get there.

 Step 2: Backup the Windows image Although there is the familiar Ghost image software if you have the money, I wanted to look at alternatives. Lenovo provide it's own backup/restore software that looks like it would work well. I got a backup USB harddrive (not USB flash), and the Lenovo Thinkvantage backup/restore did the MBR and backup images flawlessly. However, being an individual that wanted to avoid lockin, and try to move towards automation/repeatable provisioning, I kept looking.

Cobbler is a tool I'm keep falling back to for image-based provisioning (versus kickstart-based installs), and it has support for provisioning images from Clonezilla ( Clonezilla has support for Windows imaging, sharing my findings:

 1) Reformat your external device (usb harddrive in my case) to have a smaller partition, such as 250MB, with a FAT32 filesystem as the first partition on that device. This is important to avoid a lot of trial/error - other versions of FAT will not work, and too-large volume causes problems. Don't worry, you still want a second partition that is much larger (at least 32GB) to store the actual images.

 2) Use tuxboot.exe. Clonezilla highly recommends it, and they are right to do so. Once you get the partition straightened out, everything else is cakewalk. And, yes, you can use it directly from Windows without requiring to have a linux install.

 3) plug your device into the Windows machine you want to image. If it is only for one machine, good-to-go. If you are trying to create a 'gold image' for distributing to multiple machines at once, look into 'sysprep' and other tools to prepare the windows install.

 4) reboot your machine, and use your bios to choose the alternate start location. If you do not see your device, some of the USB3.0 ports/devices are not recognizable as bootable locations, so plug into a usb2.0 port to be sure.

 5) the provided directions with clonezilla were excellent! If you want to review beforehand, you can check their site. Create the image, store it in the large partition, takes about 40min (minimal windows install) to create image then do a double check.

That is all for tonight, more updates later.....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pre-installed linux laptops

Looking around for pre-installed linux laptops. Although one can install it themselves, there is some time-savings around dealing with laptop components/linux driver support. My particular need is for a Xen/Virtual style environment for many 'servers' for development/research. With that in mind, here is what I have been looking for: 11"-14" primarily, 15" if they have 9-cell longer battery life, but I've only seen 9-cell on 17" thus far (and do not want that big a laptop). i7 CPU (or similar AMD, just have not seen many in laptops nowadays) 16GB ram, if 32GB ram option via 4 sodimm slots, great! 750GB/7200 rpm harddrive. No SSD. No Hybrid. no 5400rpms. If larger, great. Lan port + wireless N built in VGA/HDMI/similar video output for demo's/etc. And, based on current pricing, ~$1000. And, preferably Fedora or CentOS Dom0/Host OS that is full OS (xwindows, Eclipse IDE, etc support), with Xen VM support for guest OS's. Ubuntu/others if that is the only option, but would prefer Fedora/CentOS. So far, I found only a handful of companies that seem reasonably able to handle these kinds of requirements: - has fedora support, and laptops within the above configuration range. - best 'known' linux laptop, only ubuntu. Still reviewing my options!

Monday, February 27, 2012

nosql/mongodb and experienced developers

Below is a great comedy with good technical and farmer references, since I grew up on a farm.

I'm not biased against any nosql db's, but it also isn't the silver bullet to anything and jumping straight to it would be futile without good experience with what you are doing....pretty much exactly what the other person is talking about :-)

Thanks my close friend at for sharing!