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DMware: OK, What's CMIS Exactly?

There's a nice flurry of interoperability news today, announcing the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Specification sponsored by EMC, IBM, and Microsoft, with the participation of other content-management vendors, including Open Text. [update: There is extensive coverage on Cover Pages. I recommend that as the comprehensive source.]

Content/Document-Management Integration/Middleware Scheme for This Century?

The stratospheric view from Josh Brodkin suggests that CMIS is a means for cross-over between different content-management regimes as well as bridging from content-aware applications to content-management systems.

The Sharepoint Team describes CMIS as an adapter and integration model for access from content-aware applications in a CMS-neutral way, relying on distributed services via SOAP, REST, and Atom protocols.

The 0.5 draft specification (2008-08-28 6.64MB Zip File download) provides a core data model for expression of managed repository entities, with loosely-coupled interface for application access to repositories via that model:

"The CMIS interface is designed to be layered on top of existing Content Management systems and their existing programmatic interfaces. It is not intended to prescribe how specific features should be implemented within those CM systems, nor to exhaustively expose all of the CM system’s capabilities through the CMIS interfaces. Rather, it is intended to define a generic/universal set of capabilities provided by a CM system and a set of services for working with those capabilities."

It appears that a wide variety of service integrations are possible, although the basic diagram has the familiar shape of an adapter-supported integration on the model of ODBC (and TWAIN and ODMA). Although that's the model, the integration approach is decidedly this-century, relying on relatively-straightforward HTTP-carried protocols rather than client-side integration. Clients must rely on the Service-Oriented Interface, and there is room for provision of client-side adapters to encapsulate that. Either way, this strikes me as timely and very welcome.

CMIS Integration Model featuring Service-Oriented Interface [via EMC: click for full-size iamge]

Next Steps

The authors have been working for two years to arrive at the draft that will now be submitted to OASIS, estimating that it will take another year to finalize a 1.0 version. [Such a Committee Draft would then go through some rounds of review before promulgation as an OASIS Standard.]

I thought, at first, that this was some form of off-shoot from the AIIM Interoperable ECM (iECM) Standards Project, yet there is no hint of that in the CMIS materials nor on the iECM project and wiki pages.

Announcement of the Proposed TC has just appeared at OASIS [afternoon, September 10]. OASIS Members will make any comments on the proposed charter by September 24, after which there will be a call for participation and then an initial meeting. OASIS members who want to participate in the TC can sign up after the call for participation. The initial meeting is provisionally targeted for a November 10 teleconference. The first face-to-face meeting is planned for three days of mid-January in Redmond. You can follow the charter-discuss list here to see whether there are any questions about the charter, scope, and overlaps with other efforts.

Announcements, Commentary, and Resources

[update 2008-09-12T08:09Z I am having trouble getting Blogger to push updates through FTP to my site. This repost is an attempt to get the previous changes posted. update 2008-09-11T19:12Z Well, added some interesting links as deeper analysis and pontification arises. I don't expect to add more unless Dare or Tim Bray chime in. update 2008-09-11T15:43Z Use full-size CMIS diagram from EMC (via Cover Pages) update 2008-09-11T15:35Z Repair handling of images and attract attention to the Service-Oriented Interface notion employed in the CMIS diagram. update 2008-09-11T15:17Z Add link to comprehensive Cover Pages compilation. I'm also praying that Blogger's FTP update succeeds sometime in the proximity to my submitting the post. update 2008-09-11T02:37Z Add links to additional resources at EMC and to add images/videos to the page. update 2008-09-11T01:15Z Added more links and information about the OASIS Proposed Charter for the CMIS TC.]

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