With a public review of the Content Management Interoperability Specification (CMIS) (news, site) expected to be announced sometime soon, it's definitely time to check in and see what the various player have been up to.
Reminder: CMIS is an OASIS specification. It may well end up as a standard (and we hope that this happens), but it's not there yet. Here's where things stand today.
First off, the latest version of the CMIS document is v0.62. If you have not yet had a look yourself, we recommend you download it (zip) and at least scan the documents so you have an idea of the project's scope.
As of press time for this article, the 0.62 version was available, but not yet finalized. Looking at the open issues, the project website shows that 133 of the 192 items have been resolved, either by being resolved, applied or closed.
Up next is a face-to-face group meeting, which is slated for sometime early August in Boulder, CO. And it's there that the spec should be locked down and the draft complete for public review.
The Public Review Process
Right now, everyone has access to the proposed CMIS specification and can make comments. The Public Review is part of the OASIS process for ratifying CMIS as an official standard. It give more widespread visibility into the project and enables the public a final chance to provide input.
The first public review must take place for 60 days. There could be additional public reviews after the first, depending upon the outcome of the first review. Any subsequent reviews must be for a period of at least 15 days. You can review the OASIS process yourself (pdf).
Apache Chemistry Project
The Apache Foundation's Chemistry project aims to create a generic, open-source, Java-language implementation of CMIS. And it has received a lot of positive feedback and picked up involvement from the major open source ECM players and even some proprietary ECM vendors.
Here's where you can find more information:
The CMIS FileShare is a development activity by Florian Müller. It provides a lightweight CMIS server based on a file share for you to test your CMIS implementations. The current implementation follows the 0.61 version of the proposed CMIS spec.
What Are Enterprise CMS Vendors Up To?
Here's a run down of what the main parties have been cooking up.
Everyone knows what Alfresco is up to with CMIS. We talked about their recent release of Alfresco Community 3.2 and its full implementation of the CMIS 0.61 draft. Alfresco has two committers on the Apache Chemistry project.
If you are an Alfresco developer, check out their CMIS Developer Toolbox.
We don't have anything new to tell you regarding Day Software's activities for CMIS -- other than what we've already told you. Day played the lead role is establishing and getting the Apache Chemistry project off the ground.
EMC had nothing new to tell us about their activities with CMIS. They do have a section on their community website dedicated to the work they are doing. In addition, during the info360 conference in late March, EMC, along with Alfresco, Nuxeo and AIIM created a demonstration of CMIS in action (based on the 0.5 draft). You can view that demo now.
CMIS Early Access release 2 is an implementation of the CMIS draft v0.5 for EMC Documentum. It includes support for both the REST and Web Services bindings. You can download it here.
David Choy of EMC provides us with a couple of CMIS videos explaining the technology behind the proposed standard. And here are some potential scenarios:
When we contacted Al Brown, Emerging Standards and Industry Frameworks at IBM, he said that teams from both Enterprise CMS and Lotus are actively working on and leading the CMIS TC at OASIS.
IBM has a working prototype of CMIS in action for FileNet P8 Content Manager 4. This prototype demonstrates the REST/Atom binding and is a work in progress.
The plan, according to Brown, is to provide a tech preview sometime in H2 of this year.
Of course, he's clear that an official "productized versions" of CMIS will be announced at a later date as the standard is not official and some changes are still being made.
Until the tech preview, if you want to understand IBM's strategy towards interoperability, here's a whitepaper on the subject.
Another one of the initial players involved in bringing the CMIS standard to life is Microsoft, who as we know, has been doing their best to convince we all that they are pushing their solutions to support standards more and more every day.
We saw their first example of CMIS when we reviewed their efforts to connect SharePoint (MOSS) to an external CMIS repository. While it didn't tell us everything we wanted to know, it was a start.
Microsoft doesn't have a lot of new information they are prepared to share, other than letting us know that SharePoint 2010 will support CMIS. All they will strongly suggest is that we attend the SharePoint conference in October, where all will be revealed about the next generation of SharePoint. Have you bought your ticket?
Florent Guillaume, head of R&D at Nuxeo took a few minutes to chat with us about Nuxeo's involvement in the CMIS standard. You may remember that Irina Guseva had a conversation with him on Nuxeo's role in the Apache Chemistry project.
Although David Nuescheler of Day Software had the original idea for the Apache project and created the first CMIS server, it is Guillaume's code that is currently used in the project, providing a more generic server.
Guillaume told us that Nuxeo provides a downloadable nuxeo-cmis module that provides basic read support of their content repository for Nuxeo 5.2. The module is based on Chemistry code, but has a Nuxeo specific backend.
Nuxeo 5.2.1 will come with a CMIS connector, but still won't be full-featured CMIS. That will likely come with the next release of Nuxeo (maybe 5.2.2?), assuming the standard is ratified by that point.
If you want to keep with Nuxeo's view of CMIS, subscribe to their blog.
In an interview with Martin Courtney of computing.co.uk, John Shackleton, Open Text CEO, said that prototype software with CMIS 1.0 is already built in, but can't be finalized until the standard is finalized.
We confirmed with Open Text that they have indeed built server and client prototypes and are already implementing CMIS components in their products. Open Text expects to release a CMIS compliant version of the Open Text ECM suite early next year.
Open Text is one of the proprietary vendors involved with the Apache Chemistry project. They attended CMIS PlugFest, demonstrating their CMIS Windows Client. This client is based on their Enterprise Connect offering which enables interoperability between various repositories and applications using interfaces users are already familiar with (MS Office,Outlook, Lotus Notes, SharePoint, etc..).
Open Text also has a semi-public CMIS repository in the Amazon cloud, including hosting the software and storing the documents in Amazon S3.
SAP and Open Text are also jointly working on the CMIS spec -- they are submitting joint proposals for enhancements and changes. SAP is using the Open Text prototypes for their development work on CMIS.