Before I get to the meat of this post, I want to start with a confession. I have been a slacker. If you look at my word cloud to the right, you’ll see CMIS as a big piece of the proverbial Pie. Even before it was a public term, I railed for the need for a standard in the Content Management space.
Now that the first update to the Content Management Interoperability Standard (CMIS) has been out for nearly three months, why am I just now blogging about it? Now that browser binding, retention, holds, and type mutability have been added to CMIS, why am I not proclaiming the wonders of CMIS 1.1 from every rooftop.
What I want to do today is talk about why this update means everyone should be looking deeper into CMIS and reconsider it for every Content application created. In fact, as much as the need for standards in Content Management existed when I started writing about them, it is even more urgent today.
What is in CMIS 1.1?
There are three big items in the update. They address three different contingents of adopters.
- Retention and Hold: As Cheryl McKinnon so aptly covered, the addition of Retention and Hold features adds Governance to CMIS. It isn’t Records Management but it IS a way for organizations to manage records remotely.
- Web Binding: There were always complaints that the REST binding for CMIS wasn’t useful enough to actually use in composite web applications, known as “mash-ups”. If you wanted to pull it into a Google map, it was challenging. The new JSON binding addresses those concerns.
- Type Mutability: This is the part that really rocks for solution developers. Before, if you developed a good Correspondence Tracking System, you had to still create the content model in each vendor’s repository before you could leverage CMIS. Now, solutions developers can create the content models using CMIS. That makes the creation of an application using nothing but CMIS not only possible, but practical.
There are more changes but those are the most important additions. Developers, solution vendors,and the Governance types all win with CMIS 1.1.
Why CMIS is More Important Than Ever
When this all started, the silos of information we were trying to connect were all located in our data center. Everyone had multiple Content Management vendors running inside of their shops. The dream of one repository to rule them all was slowly being erased from reality because migrating data into a single system is hard.
That is why CMIS was so promising. We could point applications and solutions at one or many repositories and not worry about what happened behind the scenes. It was great.
Except that adoption among developers has been limited.
Meanwhile, the problem in the data center has escalated while new vendors have entered the market. Cloud vendors offer users the easy experience they have been craving. Adoption is accelerating even as you read this.
Making Content Management Easy
When talking about making things easy, it isn’t enough to simplify things for those that use the Content Management Systems (CMS) to get things done. The owners of both the systems and the information need help as well. When one realizes that a multitude of systems isn’t “crazy” but the new normal, how does one survive?
You survive by finding a way to centrally manage information, even if you are using a Federated tool. Note that I said centrally manage, not store. You develop front-end solutions that not only access the primary repository for that business need, but one that can search all the other information repositories for information.
You use open standards and insist that your vendors support open standards.
With every standard, there are many vendors that support them. In fact, as you look at a vendor, you’ll notice that they will typically support either very few standards or a large number of standards. Support for open standards is a DNA thing, you either “get” it or you don’t.
Do your vendors “get” it?
Why don’t you start by asking how they support CMIS?