Alfresco and Drupal Content Integration via CMIS

3 minute read
Barb Mosher Zinck avatar

Alfresco Enterprise 3 Officially Released
One of the first official demonstrations of the Content Management Interoperability Specification (CMIS) came from Alfresco last December. Their Alfresco:Joomla! Integration Module enabled organizations who use Joomla for web content management to access content stored in Alfresco's content management repository. In fact Alfresco version 3 has built in CMIS capabilities, so it was only a matter of time before another open source vendor would come along and set-up their own integration module. Optaros, in association with Acquia and Alfresco has now also created a set of CMIS integration modules connecting Drupal web content management with Alfresco.

The Drupal Integration with Alfresco

The integration between Drupal and Alfresco enterprise content management comes as two modules:

  • CMIS API: This is a module that defines the interface for Drupal developers to make RESTful CMIS calls to any CMIS compliant repository. It completely covers the CMIS specification, providing Drupal developers a set of functions.
  • CMIS Alfresco: This module contains some specific vendor functions that are not included as part of the CMIS specification. In particular, it includes how authentication is handled by Alfresco. As more ECMs become CMIS compliant (like Alfresco is out-of-the box), additional CMIS-vendor modules will need to be developed.

Why Integrate Drupal and Alfresco?

This integration solution was developed by Optaros, a consulting firm, who does a lot of work with both Drupal and Alfresco. Many of their customers ask for integration between the two solutions. By creating the CMIS integration modules, Optaros is providing their customers all the community features that Drupal offers with the enterprise content management capabilities of Alfresco.

According to Jeff Potts of Optaros, "It was important to us that this integration be meaningful: We didn't want to simply provide a read-only "window" into the Alfresco repository. And, we didn't want to do anything that would prevent the thousands of available Drupal modules from working with content that may have come from Alfresco."

Of course, these modules are free to download on Drupal's website, so they aren't limited to just customers of Optaros.

Enterprise Document Management for Drupal

Dries Buytaert states on his blog, that these modules, "mark a first step towards enterprise-grade document management support for Drupal." Something apparently, customers have been asking for. Just as important as being able to integrate with Alfresco, is that Drupal now has the functionality in place to integrate with any content repository that implements the CMIS specification. And it's only matter of time before we start seeing more of these popping up.

Still Work to Be Done

The Alfresco: Drupal Integration Modules are in their infancy. Potts says that they are currently only passing plain text back and forth between the system content management systems and that they aren't passing Drupal credentials through to the Alfresco CMIS module. But he believes it's only a matter of time before the modules evolve to include more functionality.

Alfresco Stands Behind CMIS

Now we are sure Alfresco is excited about this CMIS integration work. They are actively pushing the content management specification with what appears to be a true belief that interoperability between content management systems is the only future. They are currently the only ECM with support for CMIS out-of-the box (although certainly not the only one supporting it) and they do provide a CMIS Developer Toolbox to help developers build solutions that integrate with them.

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