Tag Archives: interop

interoperability

CMIS Interoperability

CMS Wire recently picked up the development of CMIS Explorer by Shane Johnson (@shane_dev) at CityTech. CMIS Explorer (download) is a browser application written in Adobe AIR and Flex that uses the RESTful AtomPub binding of the proposed CMIS standard to interact with CMIS-compliant repositories.

Already early access support for CMIS is available from EMC, IBM and Alfresco. Such support makes it possible for applications like CMIS Explorer to be applied to a variety of content repositories in ways not possible before CMIS.

As fellow OASIS CMIS TC member Florent Guillaume from Nuxeo comments, though, CMIS is not yet a formal (fixed) standard. It is under development and somewhat fluid.

When a content repository vendor provides draft support, don’t assume that such support fully conforms to the current draft specification (e.g. v0.5). If you’re an application developer like Shane, you can know conformance exists by first building against what is specified on the OASIS site for CMIS and then pointing your application at desired content repository or repositories.

For example, you can point CMIS Explorer at a Documentum content repository via EMC CMIS support EA2 to search and to see types.

Searching a Docbase via CMIS Explorer

Reviewing Docbase types via CMIS Explorer

However, while basic interoperability seems OK, something prevents actual browsing functionality in CMIS Explorer from working with Documentum. In its com.citytechinc.cmis.Repository.setFolder() method, CMIS Explorer tries to get folder objects from root children via the following condition:
f.object.properties.propertyString.(@name=='BaseType').value == "folder"
However, draft CMIS specification v0.5 does not define a BaseType property, not does the EMC CMIS support EA2 contain this property. As a result, CMIS Explorer cannot find any folder object in root children, which prevents it from being able to browse a Docbase.

To be fair, my colleague, Norrie Quinn, has already pointed out this matter on Shane’s post, and Shane has replied.

My focus here is simply as follows: It’s important for applications to leverage the currently proposed CMIS bindings from OASIS rather than a particular vendor’s implementation of these bindings in order to promote interoperability.

It will be good to see the emergence of CMIS-based applications that go beyond exploration, navigation and portal-style user experiences. Such applications will help to influence the CMIS roadmap beyond version 1.0.

In the meantime, it’s great to see open source efforts like CMIS Explorer take root today. Thanks, Shane.

P.S. It would be good to see a community form around CMIS-based application development (e.g. shine a light on individual efforts, potentially pool interest and resources, solicit ideas and challenges, etc.). If you’re interested in something like, please leave me a comment. In the meantime, I plan to promote community efforts here as best I can. Thanks.

CMIS webinar

I apologize for the short notice, but I will be presenting a webinar on Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) this Thursday. Registration is still open: http://www.emc.com/events/2008/q3/09-18-08-cmis-launch.htm. I hope that you can not only listen to the presentation but also participate actively in the Q&A portion.

If you cannot participate but are still interested in CMIS, I will do my best to capture the Q&A in a follow-up post. Also, I believe that all those who register will receive an email with information on accessing a recording of the live event.

My colleague, Dave Choy, will be joining me to assist with Q&A; so, please come prepared with your questions. If the blogosphere since last Wednesday (i.e. CMIS launched on 9/10) is any indication, that shouldn’t be too much to ask.  :-)

Update (9/18/2008): Thanks to those who attended this webinar and especially to those who asked questions. The audio recording of this event is already available here, and it does capture the Q&A toward the end.

Update (9/19/2008): You can also replay the webcast and download a PDF rendition of the slides here.

CMIS – Content Management Interoperability Services

I am excited to (finally) say that EMC, IBM and Microsoft have announced the creation of a jointly developed interface specification called Content Management Interoperability Services, or CMIS. This is important news for the industry as CMIS uses web services to provide greater interoperability across multiple Enterprise Content Management (ECM) repositories.

The current draft specification will be submitted to OASIS and managed by technical committee to guide it toward finalization as a standard.

I said “finally” above because it’s been over two years since I first talked about ECM standards, admittedly (and out of legal obligation) at a high-level–followed up one year ago, here. So, finally, all can become clear…! :-)

In preparation for today’s announcement, I had the opportunity to interview Kyle McNabb, Principal Analyst and Research Director at Forrester Research, to share his thoughts on the announcement. You can listen to Kyle’s perspectives as I ask him the following questions:

  • Why is CMIS needed?
  • Why does it matter who is involved in CMIS?
  • Why is CMIS a step in the right direction?
  • What will be the near-term impact of CMIS on the market?
  • What will be the impact of CMIS to the industry as whole, including ISVs as well as organizations at the enterprise or department levels?
  • What can enterprises expect in the future and how CMIS will help them over the long haul?

CMIS enables interoperable content applications

One of the impacts Kyle sees as a result of CMIS particularly resonates with me: separation of content repositories from content-centric applications in a manner similar to how SQL standardization enabled separation of the relational database from data-centric applications. Entirely new classes of applications (e.g. ERP) emerged with the arrival of SQL, and I’m optimistic about the same kind of potential emergence with the announcement of CMIS.

Frankly, I agree with Kyle’s pragmatic assessment of expectation and timeline. I also believe it will take time before we see new classes of content-centric applications emerge, but CMIS is, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.

As with any significant industry announcement, I expect to see plenty of press coverage by those companies involved, by analysts, etc. I’m also looking forward to what my EMC colleagues have to say about CMIS (e.g. Cornelia Davis, Andrew Chapman, Dave Graham, Len Devanna, Chuck Hollis, and Mark Lewis).

I encourage you to learn more about CMIS on the EMC Developer Network. For example, you can download the complete set of WSDL/XSD documents for the SOAP binding as well as schemas and example XML documents for the REST binding. You can also download a whitepaper that details technology concepts and business considerations involved with CMIS.

This first post on CMIS is intended to set the stage for deeper conversations about the specification, its domain model, its service model, and what its impact can become. So, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or otherwise join the conversation.

Update (today):
(1) Chuck Hollis has posted his thoughts on why CMIS is not JAS (just another standard). Good reading.
(2) Andrew Chapman has posted his thoughts (er, introduced a new word) on potential SharePoint de-silofication driven by CMIS. Another good read.

Update (9/12/2008):
(1) OASIS Proposed Charter for CMIS TC
(2) Mark Lewis addresses commoditization questions raised by CMIS.

Update (9/14/2008): OASIS coverage of CMIS news

Update (5/4/2010):
(1) OASIS CMIS 1.0 is approved as a standard.
(2) Approved errata has been incorporated on 11/4/2011.