Commentary
12/4/2008
02:52 PM

Content Integration: Early Thoughts on CMIS

Since the announcement of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Specification) I have been inundated with requests to speak and write on the topic. There's no two ways about it; CMIS has caught the imagination of buyers and the industry at large. Yet CMIS (pronounced See-Miss) is still only a specification, not a standard, and - as I talk to buyers, integrators and vendors - I'm aware that it is also a poorly understood specification. Here are a couple of early observations from the field...



Since the announcement of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Specification) I have been inundated with requests to speak and write on the topic. There's no two ways about it; CMIS has caught the imagination of buyers and the industry at large. Yet CMIS (pronounced See-Miss) is still only a specification, not a standard, and - as I talk to buyers, integrators and vendors - I'm aware that it is also a poorly understood specification. Of course this will be an ongoing story that will evolve over time, and it is one CMS Watch will monitor closely as it's one our subscribers are very interested in. But here are a couple of early observations from the field...CMIS is a standard for Enterprise Content Management (not Web content management).

Probably just because of that word "content," there has been some confusion as to what CMIS targets. CMIS is all about check in/out and the ability to create, read, update and delete a document anywhere. That in fact is the beauty of CMIS, it's simple and has obvious value in larger organizations with multiple legacy systems that are currently hard coded into an ECM central repository (or two). JSR 170/283 is not only compatible with CMIS but is in fact complimentary

JSR 170/283's goal is to provide the potential for a virtual repository. It does this by providing an API at the application layer of the stack. CMIS on the other hand provides for interoperability primarily via Web Services at the transportation layer. Two quite different things when you think about it - and with different use cases.

I happen to think CMIS will be a success, in part due to its simplicity and focus. And we need to remember how success will be measured. True success will have nothing to do with the number of vendors that come out with CMIS implementations; rather it will be the number of onsite applications that use CMIS to integrate systems, that will determine success. It is also worth remembering that standards take many years before they really take hold, typically between five and seven, so even the most longsighted of us has no real idea as to what the future really holds for CMIS. All I know for sure is that ECM interoperability for buyers is a must have, CMIS (or something like it) is a necessity.Since the announcement of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Specification) I have been inundated with requests to speak and write on the topic. There's no two ways about it; CMIS has caught the imagination of buyers and the industry at large. Yet CMIS (pronounced See-Miss) is still only a specification, not a standard, and - as I talk to buyers, integrators and vendors - I'm aware that it is also a poorly understood specification. Here are a couple of early observations from the field...

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