BCM, WebDAV, and Atom

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AIIM E-DOC Magazine published:

 

Basic Content Management and WebDAV

 

James Till January/February 2006

 

Increased security and compliance requirements, coupled with growing problems associated with email-based collaboration, are forcing many organizations to find new ways of helping users manage and share information. Analysts have cited increased workforce mobility, task complexity, and employee/trading partner interdependence as key workplace changes that are causing organizations to seek improved collaborative solutions. While enterprise content management systems have traditionally filled the role for managing most kinds of unstructured information, these applications have generally been limited to a select few users within organizations due to their cost and complexity.

 

A new category of document collaboration applications has recently emerged that is intended to meet the needs of the everyday user. These lightweight content management applications differ from traditional ECM (enterprise content management) systems in that they were designed from the beginning to leverage open standardsbased Web protocols, such as HTTP and WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) which together can expose a core set of document management functionality as Web servicesÑaccessible through a growing number of client and server applications. As a result, core document collaboration features including document check-in/out, file access, and version control become available from within common Web browsers and desktop applications. As users gain access to these features, they quickly become accustomed to the advantages of being able to store their documents on enterprise servers and use WebDAV features to exchange file links (URLs), instead of struggling to send file attachments via email.

 

I’m glad to see this meme spread.  WebDAV is a great protocol, an over-achiever to be sure.  And from my own interviews with enterprise customers, basic content management is exactly what they want.

 

But WebDAV is only part of the BCM picture; Atom complements WebDAV so that organizations and vendors can provide both multi-dimensional content authoring solutions:

 

WebDAV Atom
files

database

HTML XML
place time

 

Unfortunately, it has taken almost a decade for WebDAV to find its voice and its business proponents.  Let’s hope that Atom doesn’t take that long.