Sharing data to become easier

Swapping information across content management repositories may become easier in the years to come, thanks to a newly released set of specifications authored by a legion of content management system vendors, including IBM, Microsoft, Alfresco, Open Text, Oracle, SAP and EMC.

The specification, called Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS), establishes how content management systems (CMSs) can use a set of Web services interfaces, as well as the REST and Atom protocols to link with other repositories. The vendors announced that it plans to submit the specs to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the standards body that oversees many Web services standards today.

"Historically content management systems were purchased for specific application uses and this led to islands of incompatible systems," the specification states in the introduction. "The objective of the CMIS standard is to define a common content management Web services interface that can be implemented by content repositories and enable interoperability across repositories."

It is expected that existing vendors of content management systems will implement the specification, so that when their customers need to move a set of data from one repository to another, they will have an easy set of commands to carry out the work. Not every feature in every content management system will be replicated, and some systems will have to be retrofitted to talk with the new features, the document warns.

SMIS is built on an object model. In the parlance of CMIS Version 1, a content repository has four basic entities, called objects: Documents, folders, relationships and policies. All the objects are extensible, meaning they can be extended with new attributes. CMIS offer specifications for creating, reading updating and deleting objects. Services are also defined for filing documents, navigating the repository and querying documents within the repository

Issuing commands and transferring information across repositories will be conducted by using the Simple Object Access Protocol. A subscription service, where users can be notified when a document changes, will be carried out using the Representational State Transfer protocol.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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