Update: Adobe Drive for CMIS is not suited for production and not supported by Adobe anymore. We recommend you to use Nuxeo Drive and DirectEdit for a seamless experience with Adobe tools. You can also directly access content in Nuxeo repository from Adobe InDesign using the Nuxeo InDesign Connector.

Adobe recently upgraded its Drive product to version 3. While Drive version 2 was already supposed to support CMIS, we had some issues here at Nuxeo on how to use it properly and, to be honest, we never looked at it in too much detail. With this new version of Drive, however, comes new hope and I decided to put it to the test!

For those who aren't familiar with Drive, it's a small piece of software introduced a couple of years ago that complements Creative Suite, it helps by plugging Creative Suite software applications into a digital asset management solution. Drive supports either Version Cue or a CMIS generic connector, which is what makes it interesting for Nuxeo as the Nuxeo Platform offers a native CMIS implementation. Adobe Drive can be downloaded on Adobe's website.

As an Adobe product, Drive should speak to creative folks using Creative Suite and naturally, I first started to look at how this works in Photoshop, the Suite's flagship product as I think it would be a nice way for end-users of Creative Suite to leverage Nuxeo.

To put succinctly, Drive provides end-users with the ability to work using their usual desktop tools (e.g. Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator and more, including Finder or the Windows explorer) to create digital assets using their normal workflow while at the same time storing and managing these assets directly in Nuxeo. Having the assets in a platform such as Nuxeo brings many opportunities thanks to the many features of the platform, such as (to name just a few): team collaboration, archiving and versioning (as baseline features), back-end post processing for content transformation, publishing, meta-data enrichment or integration with any existing content-centric workflow that your Nuxeo application might run... All of these major components to a robust creative digital asset workflow! But to cut to the chase—this will significantly improve sharing, collaboration and security throughout the process of creating and managing content and will make end-users' lives easier!

Here's a short movie that showcases my first foray into the Adobe Drive CMIS experience, from Photoshop.

What we see here is that Drive obviously brings more than what could normally be done using a WebDAV-based desktop integration: Adobe Drive will support built-in versioning, ensuring that changes made by the user are tracked and recorded. This is of great value and definitely a "+1" for CMIS standards. Despite the fact that Adobe Drive's checkin/checkout model is a bit different than Nuxeo's locking model, there is no doubt both can work hand in hand.

Beyond Photoshop, I wanted to also look at the desktop integration in my finder (I am a Mac user but Windows would work the same).
I found the experience good as well, which really makes me think Drive is yet an additional option for Desktop Integration for Nuxeo applications, potentially even outside of the creative world.

This second video will show how to connect and how to send office documents from your desktop to Drive.

While this is great, to be totally honest, we encountered some issues with mapping the files to Nuxeo documents, and while it seems simple, this might always require some custom configuration (yes, Nuxeo is much more than a file based document system... and as document types are highly configurable, neither Adobe Drive or CMIS can guess for you! Feel free to ask more about this on http://answers.nuxeo.com if you don't get it!). So, for now, mapping with document types in Nuxeo is done based on file extensions so that a ".jpg" can be imported into an "Image" document type in Nuxeo and a ".pdf" or ".doc" into a generic document in Nuxeo. There is obviously room for improvement.

To be completely transparent, while we work with folks at Adobe on the CMIS standard, as this is an area we are heavily involved in, we don't have a strong partnership on the product side yet (although we would obviously love to do more on the product fields, hint-hint, in case some Adobe folks read this post). This means that the association of Nuxeo and Drive has not been heavily tested, this was just a test drive (um, no pun intended!). We haven't yet checked all the use cases and the details of how CMIS was implemented in Drive, nor have we done some load and stress testing on the client. But thanks to CMIS and, if this is well implemented, one should not expect too many problems. Feel free, however, to reach out if you are interested, have experience with this type of integration, or have specific needs!

In summary, I think it's great to see products like Adobe Drive coming out with strong support of CMIS. It, once more, demonstrates the success of the CMIS initiative, and takes it a little beyond the initial and usual use cases that center around connecting server-side content applications together. This shows that CMIS can also be a great layer to improve interoperability of content management platforms like Nuxeo with desktop and mobile applications alike!