2014-8-October-connections.jpg

Alfresco just reaffirmed its good-guy enterprise content management (ECM) credentials.  It's contributing an open source integration called Chemistry Pars to the Apache Software Foundation.

Using Chemistry Parts, enterprises will be able to connect Microsoft SharePoint to just about any major ECM system on the market — including Alfresco, obviously — using the open standard Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS).

Making Connections Easier

Chemistry Parts is based on a configurable framework and Microsoft SharePoint Web Parts, provided as an open source CMIS implementation. Using it, developers can quickly and easily create their own content solutions that connect to multiple content repositories and are accessible from Microsoft SharePoint.

If you haven’t heard of CMIS before, it's an open standard that allows content management systems to interoperate over the Internet. Specifically, CMIS offers a layer for controlling diverse document management systems and repositories using web protocols.

This latest move by Alfresco could effectively solve one of the biggest problems enterprises with large-scale ECM deployments face on a daily basis, notably the ability to connect content repositories like SharePoint to other content management systems.

What’s even better about this is that it is relatively simple to create connections using lightweight HTML5 JavaScript though configurations.

Connecting ECMs

Enterprises will be able to easily create applications like document libraries, records management, imaging applications and process applications that can integrate with SharePoint, but also offer the scalability and compliance that many platforms can provide.

However, the integration is not the brainchild of Alfresco alone and comes after it approached information and content management solution specialist Armedia to build something that would enable users of other platforms to access Alfresco.

According to Ben Chevallereau, a software architect with Armedia, the components were built with JS, HTML and CSS files so they are easy to repackage in other web platforms.

Jim Nasr, CEO of Armedia, said, “We have seen a lot of demand for this type of integration with our US Federal customers. The widespread use of SharePoint in the government and the availability of this framework provide an opportunity to solve some real content problems that have not been addressed."

While it is not entirely clear what Alfresco will get directly out of this integration, being able to connect Alfresco and SharePoint will make it a lot more marketable in a world were connecting repositories is not just fashionable but crucial

Keeping in mind the huge number of on-premises SharePoint deployments that are still being used by enterprises, and the fact that the majority of enterprises are still not ready for SharePoint Online, this provides a relatively easy way for enterprises with several systems to connect them all up.

In a statement about the integration, Alfresco co-founder and CTO said the integration underlines Alfreso’s commitment to CMIS, but then it would have to support it as it was one of the original promoters of the CMIS standard when it was first outlined in 2008.

Title image by Matti Vinni  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.