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:

1 comment:

John Michle said...

Different companies usually face big troubles while maintaining different records. These companies must use a good business management software.

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