In the spring of 2007, I first heard rumors about IBM and Microsoft working together on a specification that could change the content management landscape. Last week, EMC, IBM and Microsoft (with support from Oracle, SAP, Alfresco and OpenText) announced that they will be collaborating on CMIS, a standard to enable interoperability among content management systems. CMIS stands for Content Management Interoperability Services and promises improved content unification, better content aggregation and mashups, cross-silo federation, and better integration with desktop publishing.

Various people blogged about CMIS, including John Newton (CTO Alfresco), Craig Randall (software architect for EMC), Kas Thomas (analyst for CMSWatch), Brian Huff, Andrew Chapman (Senior Director EMC) and more. If you want to learn more, you can also check for video presentations and additional technical materials.

It will probably take years before this becomes an actual standard and before it gets widely adopted, but it is interesting for at least two reasons:

  1. CMIS can use Atom in its REST model. This makes me want to push even harder for adding Atom as one of the default output formats for Drupal nodes (see also refactor node rendering and pluggable renders for JSON, XML, etc). Looks like Drupal was already heading in similar directions, so we might as well keep an eye on CMIS.
  2. The specification solves a real problem and the big boys are backing it. If EMC, IBM and Microsoft put code behind their words, CMIS might become part of Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Documentum, FileNet, etc. I'd love to see Microsoft Office users to be able to save documents into Drupal. Pushing for standards is always a good thing.


Craig Randall (not verified):

I'm glad to see that you're aware of CMIS, and I encourage you not just to observe progress on the standard but also to actively participate in its development. On my post that you referenced above, you'll find links to OASIS-based content, including the Technical Committee (TC) proposed charter. The TC convenes next week, and feedback on the charter is being received through 9/24/2008. Cheers...

Adam (not verified):

Pushing for standards with MS is not always a good thing. I think whenever anyone gets together with MS in a standards process you have to keep your guard up. They have proven with OOXML that while standards are a good thing sub-quality standards are not.

Matthew Davidson (not verified):

Microsoft tend to do rather better on standards when they're the underdog and have everything to gain from standardisation than when they're the market leader and have everything to lose.
So I think we can say that for the moment content management is relatively safe.

BiroTom (not verified):

I like this sentence: "I'd love to see Microsoft Office users to be able to save documents into Drupal." And you are quite right, this could very well happen in the new office. And implementing CMIS is quite easy, we did a pilot draft implementation of some basic verbs over the weekend, well not in Drupal, but it can be easy there as well...