Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS)

This abbreviation is written out as Content Management Interoperability Services. CMIS describes a vendor-independent, open standard that represents an abstraction or access layer above the vendor-dependent interfaces of ECM/DMS systems. The standard was launched in version 1.0 by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) in May 2010, followed by CMIS version 1.1 in November 2013.


OASIS is a non-profit standardization body. Its members include software vendors such as Accenture, Adobe, Alfresco, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, etc.; collectively and in conflict, these vendors assert their interests during standards formation, such as in the case of the CMIS standard.

What is the goal of OASIS CMIS?

Overcoming boundaries and creating interoperability between different content management systems is the goal of the CMIS standard. Perfect for modern content services, for example. So that accessing, changing, sharing documents and data between different DMS/ERP systems becomes possible via this standard.

For a long time and until today software vendors develop interfaces and DMS/ERP systems for their own purposes in proprietary manner. This is legitimate. However, this results in so-called “content silos”. Interoperability between the content repositories of the various ECM/DMS vendors has thus been made difficult or even impossible. In other words, accessing a repository from ERP vendor A with a client application from ERP vendor B did not work and was not intended to work in this way.


The goal of the standard called Content Management Interoperability Services is now to dare to build a bridge – through an intermediate or access layer between DMS client <-> CMIS interface <-> and the content repository, e.g. of a DMS solution. The access layer thus abstracts from the vendor-dependent interface of the respective content repository.


What does the CMIS standard offer in concrete terms?

The CMIS standard provides a basic data structure. To this end, the standard offers four basic types of objects: Document objects, Folder objects, Relationship objects, and Policy objects. These CMIS objects in turn have numerous properties. In this way, the standard organizes access to documents, folders and their relationships to one another. The standard is also used, for example, in the EASY Archive archiving software.

All in all, extensive ECM worlds can be mapped via this standard. These objects can be addressed via various bindings: In CMIS version 1.0, only Web services (SOAP) were initially included. Version 1.1 then added RESTful AtomPub (XML) and RESTful Browser Binding (JSON).

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