Around two-and-a-half years ago (at the AIIM conference in Philadelphia in May of 2006), my counterparts at IBM and EMC and I started discussing the need to form a group to create an open services standard for interacting with Enterprise Content Management systems (like SharePoint, IBM FileNet P8, EMC Documentum, etc.) in a uniform way. An earlier blog post explained the full rationale – but in short many customers and partners made it apparent that having to create one-off "connectors" between each application (like eDiscovery applications, Portals or Business Process Management systems) and ECM system was making it hard for customers to use more than one ECM system and for partners to build great applications that could "just work" with whatever systems a customer is using.

And now, after working with many other vendors like Alfresco, Nuxeo, OpenText, Oracle, SAP, and others on the CMIS specification, forming a Technical Committee at OASIS to deliver that specification as a truly open standard, and having four "plug-fest" events where we've tested actual (prototype) implementations of the spec together to make sure it would work in the real-world – I'm thrilled to announce that on October 23, 2009 Version 1.0 of the CMIS specification entered OASIS' public review process.

"Public Review" -- What does that mean?

Those of you who aren't familiar with the mechanics of the OASIS standards process (i.e. nearly everyone) are probably wondering what "public review" means, and how it relates to everyone's ultimate goal of having a final 1.0 specification available so that everyone can start supporting CMIS in their applications. (If you want the full details of how the Public Review Process works, you can read OASIS official "Technical Committee Process" rules – but the summary below is a bit more self-contained and user-friendly).

Public Review is one of the final stages of the OASIS standardization process –it means that the members of the Technical Committee think the spec is (almost completely) done, and that we're soliciting feedback from the general public about what changes (if any) they'd like to see in the
specification before it becomes the final CMIS 1.0 standard. The public review period lasts for 2 months – so it will continue until December 22, 2009.

Anyone can look at the spec and send us comments–I've also copied the full public review announcement below for reference.

The Technical Committee is then required to review and respond to all comments – which could include updating the specification, or responding to those comments without making a change (which we would likely do if the comment is asking for new features or big enough that it would be better deferred to a future version of the specification). If those comments result in substantive changes, then the updated spec would undergo a shorter (15-day) additional round of public review. If not, then the Technical Committee will submit the CMIS 1.0 specification (possibly with some minor clarification updates) for a final approval vote by the OASIS membership – a process which takes about a month.

Once the final OASIS approval vote is closed (assuming of course that CMIS gets sufficient votes to pass), CMIS 1.0 is (finally) an OASIS standard!

OK... so when will CMIS 1.0 be final?

Those of you keeping count from the above paragraph already figured this out – but CMIS is on track to become a final 1.0 standard sometime in the first 3 months of 2010 (exactly how soon will depend on the volume of comments we get in Public Review and the changes required to address them).

Given all of the work that the Technical Committee has done in writing & testing the spec so far, we aren't expecting to make many (if any) substantive changes – but of course if there are any issues in the spec that will hamper it’s real-world adoptability we want to hear about and address those now in Public Review, rather than waiting until the 1.0 standard is final (when making changes will require a whole new version of the specification.) So please do review the spec and give us your feedback!

When can I expect vendors (including Microsoft) to start supporting CMIS in their products?

At this point, pretty much every vendor in the ECM space is really motivated to start supporting CMIS in their respective products. We've all seen the excitement from customers about CMIS -- for example, a recent AIIM survey showed that 15% of organizations are already interested in using CMIS. (This is an unbelievable number for a standard that isn’t even final yet!)

Of course, the prerequisite for all this is a final, OASIS-ratified 1.0 standard. While several companies have released prototypes based on interim drafts (which are wonderful proof-points that CMIS is ready for real-world implementation), look for vendors to start disclosing specific plans once the specification is final.

For Microsoft's part, we announced at the ARMA 2009 Conference and at our own SharePoint Conference in the last two weeks that we are planning to deliver support for CMIS within SharePoint 2010.

Since that announcement we've gotten lots of requests for additional details ("give me an exact date!", "tell me exactly what functionality will be included", etc.) I wish that this blog post could be the place to provide more detail – but it's simply not possible at this time. Here's why -- those of you who attended the SharePoint Conference last week have seen that SharePoint 2010 is looking pretty shiny and polished. But until the CMIS 1.0 specification is final, we can't realistically commit to exact dates when our CMIS support would be ready. This means that our plans need to be flexible to balance the following needs:

  1. Not rushing the finalization of the CMIS 1.0 specification in a way that would compromise its quality
  2. Release CMIS support as soon as possible for SharePoint 2010 that meets the interoperability needs of our customers and partners

We're definitely looking forward to having the CMIS standardization process complete so we can lock-down our plans to the point where we can share additional details. Please stay tuned for more information.

Ethan Gur-esh,
Program Manager
CMIS Specification Editor
CMIS Technical Committee Secretary

Copy of the OASIS Public Review Announcement:

To OASIS members, Public Announce Lists:

The OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) TC has 
recently approved the following specification as a Committee Draft and 
approved the package for public review:

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Version 1.0

The public review starts today, 23 October 2009, and ends 22 December 
2009. This is an open invitation to comment. We strongly encourage 
feedback from potential users, developers and others, whether OASIS 
members or not, for the sake of improving the interoperability and 
quality of OASIS work. Please feel free to distribute this 
announcement within your organization and to other appropriate mail 
lists.

More non-normative information about the specification and the 
technical committee may be found at the public home page of the TC at:
http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=cmis
Comments may be submitted to the TC by any person through the use of 
the OASIS TC Comment Facility which can be located via the button 
marked "Send A Comment" at the top of that page, or directly at:
http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/comments/index.php?wg_abbrev=cmis.

Submitted comments (for this work as well as other works of that TC) 
are publicly archived and can be viewed at:
http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/cmis-comment/. All comments 
submitted to OASIS are subject to the OASIS Feedback License, which 
ensures that the feedback you provide carries the same obligations at 
least as the obligations of the TC members.

The specification document and related files are available here:

Editable Source:
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/cmis-spec-v1.0.doc
PDF:
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/cmis-spec-v1.0.pdf
HTML:
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/cmis-spec-v1.0.html

Schema:
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/CMIS-Core.xsd
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/CMIS-Messaging.xsd
http://docs.oasis-open.org/cmis/CMIS/v1.0/cd04/CMIS-RestAtom.xsd


OASIS and the CMIS TC welcome your comments.


Mary P McRae
Director, Technical Committee Administration
OASIS: Advancing open standards for the information society
email: mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org
web:
www.oasis-open.org
twitter: fiberartisan #oasisopen
phone: 1.603.232.9090