CMIS Connection

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CMIS Connections allow Grooper to connect to external storage platforms for import and export operations.

Grooper is able to connect to a variety of storage platforms, from simple file systems (such as Windows native NTFS system), to email sources, to full-fledged content management systems. The CMIS Connection object allows you to configure connection settings, allowing Grooper to integrate import and export control. With these settings saved on a Grooper object, they are easily referenced by an Import Watcher service or Document Export activity for automated batch processing.

Which platform is connected is defined by the CMIS Connection's Connection Type property. Once the connection is made to a specific storage location, called a "repository", Grooper has direct access to import and export documents from and to folder locations in the repository. Furthermore, Grooper has import and export access to metadata available to the particular platform. For example, sender and receipt metadata from emails received from email servers or the ability to map extracted data elements from documents to corresponding data element locations in a content management system.


About

CMIS stands for "Content Management Interoperability Services".  It is an open standard that allows different content management systems to inter-operate over the Internet.  This standard protocol allows Grooper to use many different platforms for importing and exporting documents and their contents.  Once a CMIS Connection is created, Grooper can exchange documents with these platforms. "Interoperability " means Grooper has the same access to control the system as a human being does. It is a "one-to-one" connection to the platform, allowing full and total control.

Upon connecting to an external content management system, Grooper will be able to see the "repositories" associated with it.  A repository, in computer science, is a general term for a location where data lives. Different systems refer to "repositories" in different ways.  An email inbox could be a repository. A folder in Windows could be a repository. A cabinet in ApplicationXtender could be a repository. It's a place to put things. We standardize the various terms used by various storage platforms to simply "repository".

These repositories are "imported" into Grooper as a CMIS Repository object, as a child of the CMIS Connection object. This doesn't import data into Grooper in the traditional sense of importing documents into a batch. "Importing" here is more like bringing the repository into a framework Grooper can use (creating the CMIS Connection object). Upon importing the repository Grooper has full file access to that location in the storage platform.

For our purposes, repositories are like filing cabinets full of documents.  Once a connection is established, it's like giving Grooper a key to that cabinet.  You can open the various drawers of that cabinet. You can pull out files and put files into. The storage platform or content management system is like the cabinet. The CMIS Connection object is like the key. The CMIS Repository object is like a drawer in the cabinet. You "connect" to the cabinet by turning the key. You "import" the repository by opening the drawer. Now you can see there are documents in there! You can take them out. You can read them and put them back in. You can put new ones in. You can use this "open" connection to the "drawer" however you need.

CMIS+ Architecture

Grooper expanded on this idea in version 2.72 to create our CMIS+ architecture. CMIS+ unifies all content platforms under a single framework as if they were traditional CMIS endpoints. Prior to version 2.72, there was only one type of CMIS Connection, a true CMIS connection using CMIS 1.0 or CMIS 1.1 servers. Now, connections to additional non-CMIS document storage platforms can be made via "CMIS Bindings". This provides standardized access to document content and metadata across a variety of external storage platforms.

Using this architecture, Grooper is able to create a simpler and more efficient import and export workflow, using a variety of storage platforms. You now use CMIS Import and CMIS Export providers, regardless of the storage platform. They connect to a CMIS Repository imported from a CMIS Connection and use that as Grooper's import or export path.

How you create a CMIS Connection only differs from CMIS Binding to CMIS Binding, as each binding has a different way of connecting to it. You don't connect to an Outlook inbox the same way you connect to a Windows file folder, for example.

CMIS Bindings

A CMIS Binding provides connectivity to external storage platforms for content import and export. Grooper's CMIS+ architecture expands connectivity from traditional CMIS servers to a variety of on-premise and cloud-based storage platforms by exposing connections to these platforms as CMIS Bindings. Each individual CMIS Binding contains the settings and logic required to exchange documents between Grooper and each distinct platform. For example, the AppXtender Binding contains all the information Grooper uses to connect to the ApplicationXtender content management system.

CMIS Bindings are used when creating a CMIS Connection object. The first step to creating a CMIS Connection is to configure the Connection Type property. Which binding you use (and therefore which platform you connect to) is set here. First, the user selects which CMIS Binding they want to use, selecting which storage platform they want to connect to. The second step is to enter the connection settings for that binding, such as login information for many bindings.

Current CMIS Bindings

Grooper can connect to the following storage platforms using below using CMIS Bindings:


How To

Create a CMIS Connection and Import a Repository

The following are very general instructions on how to add a CMIS Connection to Grooper. Which document storage platform you connect to is determined by the Connection Type property. For specific instructions on how to connect to specific document storage platforms, refer to each one's CMIS Binding article, linked below.

This tutorial will use the NTFS binding as its example, connecting to a networked Windows File System folder.

Add the CMIS Connection

CMIS Connections are created and configured in the Infrastructure folder of the Grooper Node Tree.

  1. Navigate to the CMIS Connections folder under the Infrastructure folder.
  2. Right click the CMIS Connections folder. Select "Add" and "CMIS Connection..."
  3. This will bring up a window to name the CMIS Connection. Name the CMIS Connection and press "OK" when finished.
    • How you name this object is up to you. However, it's a good idea to at least include which CMIS Binding you're going to use. We're connecting to a Windows File System using the NTFS binding, hence our name "NTFS Example"

Cmis-connection-how-to-01.png

Select the CMIS Binding

  1. This will create a new CMIS Connection object in the CMIS Connections folder.
  2. Select the Connection Type property.
  3. Use the dropdown menu to select the desired CMIS Binding. This will be whatever input/output platform you choose to connect to.
    • For the purposes of this tutorial, we are choosing NTFS, connecting to the Windows File System.

Cmis-connection-how-to-01.png

Configure the Connection Settings

The Connection Settings will be configured differently depending on which CMIS Binding is selected. The settings shown here are specifically for the NTFS binding.

  1. Expand the Connection Settings properties.
  2. For the NTFS binding, select the Repositories property and press the ellipsis button at the end.
  3. This will bring up a "Repository Configuration Collection Editor" for the NTFS binding.
Each CMIS Binding has different connection settings required for connection. Depending on the CMIS Binding chosen for the Connection Type this step will be configured differently.

However, once connected, CMIS Connections are largely the same across CMIS Bindings.

Cmis-connection-how-to-03.png

  1. Press the "Add" button to add a new Windows folder location.
  2. Use the Base Path property to enter a Windows File System folder path.
    • Note: Paths should be specified as UNC paths, as seen here. Avoid mapped or local drive references. Non-UNC paths may not be accessible to other users, machines or processes.
  3. Press the "Ok" button when finished.

Cmis-connection-how-to-04.png


Verify Repository Connection

  1. Press the "Save" button.
  2. Press the "List Repositories" button to view all repositories available to the CMIS Connection.
  3. Repositories will populate in the "Repository List" window.
    • If you do not see anything listed here, either:
      1. You have not successfully connected to the storage platform.
      2. There are no accessible repositories in the assigned location.

Cmis-connection-how-to-05.png

Import a Repository

  1. Select a repository in the "Repository List" window.
  2. Press the "Import Repository" button.

Cmis-connection-how-to-06.png

  1. This will add a CMIS Repository object as a child of the CMIS Connection object.
  2. You will also see the dot on the repository icon in the "Repository List" window change from red to green.

You can now use this repository for import and export operations. Grooper has full access to this folder location to bring in documents and export processed documents.

Cmis-connection-how-to-07.png

View the Repository

  1. Select the CMIS Repository object in the Node Tree.
  2. While we're here, notice the "Content Types" window, listing File and Folder.
    • These objects allow Grooper to do more advanced operations such as metadata import and export mapping. The File object corresponds to documents and the Folder object corresponds to folders in the repository. They exist as child objects of the CMIS Connection.
  3. The associated metadata for the File and Folder objects are listed in the "Content Type Properties" window.
    • The available properties here will change depending on the CMIS Binding used. For example, the NTFS binding allows you to write filenames upon document export. Therefore, there is a writable "Name" property.

Cmis-connection-how-to-08.png

  1. You can use the "Browse Repository" tab to view the documents and folders inside the imported CMIS Repository.
  2. You can select documents in the list here.
  3. A preview of the document will populate in the "Document Viewer" window.

Cmis-connection-how-to-10.png

Now that a connection is established, this CMIS Repository as a direct connection to the folder location.

For example, if we are to add a folder in the Windows File System, the CMIS Repository will be aware of the change.

Cmis-connection-how-to-11.png

  1. There's the new folder in our CMIS Repository.

You can even delete files, rename them, change editable properties, and cut/copy and paste items into folders, just like you can in the storage platform's native application. You have control of the repository as if you were using it natively.

Cmis-connection-how-to-12.png


Version Differences

2.9 Box Integration

Grooper 2.9 sees the addition of the Box.com document storage platform into the CMIS fold via the Box (CMIS Binding).

2.72 Legacy Providers

Old import and export providers should be replaced with this new functionality. While Grooper's older import and export providers are available as "Legacy Import" and "Legacy Export" providers, these components are depreciated. They will still function but will no longer be upgraded in future versions of Grooper.

Grooper can import documents using CMIS Connections via "Import Descendants" and "Import Query Results". Grooper can export via the CMIS Export providers, Mapped Export and Unmapped Export.

2.72 New Connection Types

By creating the CMIS+ architecture, we have been able to create new connections between Grooper and content management systems.

Grooper can now connect to Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange via new CMIS Bindings. Since these were created as CMIS Bindings, they can be used by the CMIS Import and CMIS Export providers. Instead of having to create three new import providers and three new export providers for a total of six brand new components, we can use the already established CMIS import and export providers in the CMIS+ framework. A user can create a CMIS Connection using the OneDrive, SharePoint or Exchange bindings, and use the same import and export providers for them as any of the other CMIS Bindings.

This will also allow Grooper to create CMIS Bindings to connect to currently unavailable content management systems in the future much quicker and easier.