Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS)

By Deane Barker on September 11, 2008

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS): I’m seeing this float around more and more. CMIS is an abstraction layer designed so different content management systems can talk to each other, or so a CMS can separate itself from its repository and work with multiple repositories.

CMIS is designed around a services architecture based on SOAP, REST and Atom to simplify application development. The process of developing content centric applications that are repository independent or that are capable of working with the content from various repositories becomes a viable option as a result of the CMIS specification.

Conceivably, someone could sell a CMS without a repository, and you could buy the repository from another vendor.

Two articles on CMSWire today have tossed this in front of me:



  1. What is the benefiot of this? Isn’t is so that a CMS always will work best with its own repository? Using another repository will only weaken the solution. Can you give some practical examples of situations in which you would use CMIS?

  2. With CMIS, the vendors behind it had an interoperability event. There you saw clients from Lotus, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and the same clients from that, working against different providers such as FileNet, EMC, SharePoint, OpenText and Oracle all via CMIS.

    I am hoping the TC will repeat the event at the first F2F.

    For customers, this provides a few benefits:

    1. Lowers the cost of application development assuming more people become familiar with CMIS
    2. Protects their investment in applications as if written against CMIS will work on different repositories going forward.

    All of this is predicated on industry adoption. Seeing the vendors with working code, which I haven’t for other prior ECM standards, really validates that this effort might succeed.

  3. Jeron, while the holy grail of the enterprise is to have a single content management solution for the enterprise…I’ve never seen that actually happen. Those CMS applications adopting the CMIS specification would look very attractive to most enterprises when there is no practical solution for consolidating the content management services. While differing information systems would be a headache for IT, CMIS could provide the user the same benefits that are hoped for consolidated CMS services but rarely achieved.

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