JSR 170 Released

Content Repository for Java Technology API (JSR 170) has been finalized and released. If the vendor support mentioned here and here is any indication, life would be much better for customers using multiple CMSes. If one department uses Vignette, another one uses Interwoven, there is no need to integrate or enter data multiple times. All that one needs is to build a layer above the repository and both CMSes would be able to access each other’s content. There are obvious benefits arising out of a standard such as this.

However, the success of any standard depends on how many vendors “fully” support it. Here are my doubts:

1. Many products have proprietary repositories (remember Interwoven’s backing store??) and building a JSR 170 interface to this may or may not be a trivial exercise. Plus, another layer on top of a proprietary repository will bring its own set of issues and problems. This becomes a bigger problem now that many vendors have acquired other CMS vendors. Looks like a new breed of companies will start offering solutions around JSR170 enablement!

2. Many vendors will become JSR-170 compliant for getting “ticks” in analyst reports. So when you buy the product, the sales brochure will claim standards compliance. However, when you actually implement it, you will realize that if you have to use JSR 170, you cannot use features A, B and C. Those A, B and C features will be the ones because of which you had chosen this product over another!! I’ve had this experience with JSR168 portlet spec. Many portal servers have started supporting it but if you use it, you cannot take advantage of portal server features.

3. I haven’t seen many easy “Example” implementations yet. The only one i saw is jackrabbit from apache. All it provides is a Java class to read and write from an XML file. I could be wrong though because i haven’t really explored it. Not many vendors though have released an implementation yet except for Magnolia. Unless there are “solved” examples and documentation, it will be tough for people to use a new standard.

4. Vendors will loose a “differentiation” factor.

However, I personally think that there are huge benefits in terms of costs and time to market that can be gained by adopting a standard like this. A very good article on this can be found at CMSWatch.

Either way, JSR170 could define the future of ECM.

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