Introduction and first WEMI face to face meeting

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Keywords: introduction, wemi, cmis, soap, atompub, cms, wcm, mobile

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Welcome to my new AIIM blog. Before I get into our main subject, I'd quickly like to introduce myself, and what I hope to achieve while writing for the AIIM community.

My name is Serge Huber. I am the co-founder and CTO of Jahia Solutions, a company started in Switzerland and that produces an open source product called Jahia that, from the start,  integrated web content management software and portlet technologies, and whose focus has always been on easy to use WYSIWYG user interfaces. Over the years we have seen that this strong integration made more and more sense and now it is common to most similar products out there.
 
Nowadays I'm really interested in analyzing and contributing to the world of social, web and mobile technologies. Of course in my line of work I touch pretty much to everything that goes through an HTTP protocol, so at times I might talk about more varied topics. So now, let's get down to the real blogging :)
 
Last week I flew to Copenhagen to attend the first OASIS WEMI (web experience management interoperability) technical committee face-to-face meeting, and I wrote this blog entry on the way back. The WEMI proposal was born out of another standard also defined at OASIS: CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services). Some participants in the latter were frustrated with the document management centric nature of the CMIS standard as well as the complexities involved in implementing it due to the use of dual protocol bindings (SOAP & AtomPub). So the idea of WEMI came out of a need for a more content centric and simpler standard and after a few initial teleconference meetings a face to face meeting was proposed. This meeting was among the most interesting I've been involved with since it was so unstructured. We actually had no agenda defined and there were over 20 people coming from a wide range of WCM/CMS/portal vendors. Both open source and closed source companies were present and were very interested in coming together to see if consensus could be reached to help deal with the issues they encounter on a regular basis or that their clients have to suffer through regularly.
 
Despite the very loose meeting format and the relatively large attendance, a lot was discussed during the day and good progress was made to define what could be the new WEMI standard. In essence, everyone was interested in making it easier to access content in different content management systems, retaining as much as possible of the content objects semantics, while at the same time staying simple enough to be easy to implement widely (contrary to CMIS that included a dual-protocol binding that made interoperability a lot harder to implement !)
 
Among the interesting points that were made is that the people around the table really wanted to make WEMI available to a wider audience, mostly of content consumer such as service integrators, mobile application developers or even desktop application developers. Hopefully these will hear the call for participation and get interested in influencing the new standard to make it fit their needs. One possible use-case of the new standard could be to make it possible to use it as a standardized protocol to expose CMS content to native mobile applications, making it a lot easier for mobile developers to use an existing WEMI client library implementation to talk to a wide range of WEMI-compliant content servers.
 
A big question, often mentioned in initial reactions to the standard initiative (including my own here), was whether this standard could also help deal with content personalization and filtering, and it seems that despite the underlying complexities, there was indeed some interest in making the implementation compatible with such a use case.
 
Of course, this meeting was really the first baby steps for this promising standard. A lot more work will be needed to achieve a real specification that should make it possible to expose content in a larger manner than the CMIS standard did, since it was more aiming at address document management scenarios. From the initial meeting there is a lot of interest and goodwill from all the players involved, so I'm hoping we can keep the momentum going and achieve something great!
 
I welcome of course all your comments, including questions, and will do my best to answer them promptly.
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