Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is a new standard that (from the spec)
… will define a domain model and set of bindings, such as Web Service and REST/Atom that can be used by applications to work with one or more Content Management repositories/systems.
Around the time when JSR 170 was released, I had written that many products have proprietary repositories and it might not be trivial for them to re-architect those to be JCR compliant. This seems to be an important consideration of this spec and thus CMIS is designed to be an abstraction over existing systems. So it does not require the products to make any major changes to their architecture. It does not even try to make it mandatory to expose ALL features via CMIS.
There is also a recognition of the fact that many organizations indeed have multiple ECM systems and it is going to remain like that. So it might not be possible for everyone to consider migration and/or consolidation to a common repository.
Above all, it has support from Microsoft. And with a focus on REST, HTTP, ATOM it has that distinct feel of web 2.0, content mashups and so on.
So what does it mean for JCR? I’d like to believe what Kas Thomas has written on CMS Watch based on his interaction with David Nuescheler. In fact, the first ever draft implementation of CMIS is based on a JCR (Alfresco)! However, buyers of new ECM systems will now be less enthusiastic about the “support for JSR 170 tick mark” in their RFPs and that will mean reduced pressure on product vendors to support the JCR standard.
Also there is something that i’m trying to figure out and i’m hoping the experts can point me to something. All the diagrams, including the one here show how this spec aims to improve interoperability among different ECM systems by having an application that can access any CMS. However, doesn’t interoperability also mean interaction between the participating CMSs as well – for example, if CMIS enabled EMC Documentum and FileNet are involved and i check out a document in Documentum, the FileNet users will also see that document checked out. Or does this use case not make any sense? We have seen a lot of scenarios where a customer has multiple ECM systems and they want this ability via a common interface.