Standards in ECM

I notice there have has been an upsurge in volume of posts discussing standards in ECM here, here, here and here.

In summary, some seem to believe standards add little or even nothing to the ECM space. Others seem to think standards are impossible to achieve in ECM. And some others still believe that standards loose you functionality but gain you flexibility.

From all of this two questions resonated with me;

“What problem are we trying to solve?”, and

“Might we want to consume content management on platforms other than Java?”

I think part of the confusion around the question “what problem are we trying to solve?” is historic. Enterprise Document Management (EDM), where we managed black-box files with the services such as metadata, versioning, categorization, workflow, access and collaboration, still exists but has been embellished with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) that also focuses on creating and managing of chunks of content (most likely XML) with the same services plus publishing.

My guess is that, as this discussion is found on ECM-based forums and blogs, we really are debating a case for standardization of this entire space of features and services, not one or the other. But I wonder if everyone is in alignment here? Or will my simple definition cause controversy? Which in itself will tell us something.

I also find the discussion on JSR170 et al, WebDAV and Atom interesting. I would hazard that we are in broad agreement that none of these existing standards in isolation constitute an ECM API. (I think this talks to one of Craig’s points a little). And in today’s world where we want the standard to be as widely applicable as possible surely any standard would itself have to be based on the WS-* set of standards. The others under discussion; JSR170, WebDAV, etc could then be used to implement a version of the ECM standard. However, this is of no consequence to the consumers of the ECM standard itself.

Interesting. Let the discussions continue.