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Cinnamon use cases
As outlined on the page What is Cinnamon, the system covers the functionality you'd expect from a Component CMS (CCMS) and an Enterprise CMS (ECMS). Thus, you can use it to manage structured, modular, reusable, translatable content as well as binary content of any kinds. Cinnamon is highly configurable. Little is hard-coded, most modules can be replaced by your own code, following the same interfaces. Therefore, Cinnamon is one of the most flexible systems in its category.
Cinnamon, seen as a CCMS
To start with, you can use Cinnamon just like any other CCMS, to create, manage, review, translate, publish and distribute data like technical documentation. Cinnamon provides all building blocks you need for this:
- Configurable support for any data model based on XML (and, with some extra effort, for SGML).
- Adaptor interface to support any data model based on any format. It is possible to support references in Microsoft Office or Adobe FrameMaker (but we recommend using XML).
- Integrated, out-of-the-box support for DITA and DITA Open Toolkit.
- Versioning system, supporting branches.
- Lifecycles, Workflow engine, sophisticated role and permission system to support review and release.
- Powerful, modular management of object languages and translation processes with integration to Translation Memory.
- Integration with XML and other editors by referencing adaptor.
- Integration for publication and distribution of content (e. g., upload to content retrieval systems).
- Configurable and powerful metadata model, integrated with search capabilities configurable in the same depth, based on the Open Source index engine Lucene.
- Master data management providing taxonomies for metadata, and integration adaptors with external master data sources like PIM / PLM systems.
Cinnamon, seen as an ECMS or DMS
For application that are rather focused on monolithic, binary data like Microsoft Office documents, PDF, CAD data, scanned invoices and so on, Cinnamon provides the functionality and flexibility needed. Most of the features mentioned in the CCMS contect are relevant here, too, but some others do also apply:
- Flexible interfaces to deal with inbound data (like automatic scans).
- Content intelligence, by standard, based on the Open Source library Tika.
- Flexible and powerful, integrated management of format variants, or renditions, based on the branch-enabled versioning system.
Management of structured AND binary data in the same system
Cinnamon is always strong when flexibility is needed - for example, in CCMS applications that have additional requirements in binary content management. This is often the case in applications in these fields:
- Management of supplier documentation in Mechanical Engineering and Plant Engineering applications. If you produce components or machines that are integrated into plants and highly customized, and which contain variable components that are delivered by suppliers, you are obliged to provide as-built documentation, containing your own, structured documentation (produced with CCMS methods), but integrated with the documentation provided by your suppliers (which is typically in binary formats like PDF or Microsoft Excel). Cinnamon can manage and publish such data, and there is a commercial, web-based solution available to collect required documentation from suppliers, review the supplied quality and integrate it into the deliverable documentation to your end customer.
- Management of project and service documentation often produces a quite heterogeneous set of data, containing certificates, service reports, contracts, claims, change requests, meeting minutes and many, many more. Cinnamon is capable to handle all this (like a DMS), integrate it with your own documentation (like a CCMS), put all into context, using it's strong and flexible metadata model and integrate with any other systems that act as data sources and sinks.
With Cinnamon's highly flexible interfaces and customization options, applications can be realized that are hardly possible with more specialized systems. Just a few real-life examples:
- One customer integrated Cinnamon with a high-end PDF publishing engine generating ready-to-print PDFs with financial / investment content. Cinnamon is hidden under an easy-to-use web interface, only providing the functions needed by the users. The end customer, a group of banks in Switzerland, upload investment data as Microsoft Word and Excel files, and receive downloadable PDFs. The system uses Cinnamon's Calculatrix module, a configurable content analysis and processing framework. Calculatrix converts number and data formats to the three main languages spoken in Switzerland, creates diagrams from tables and checks for plausible values.
- Another customer started using Cinnamon as a DITA CCMS. Since Cinnamon, even with it's commercial add-ons, has no user-based licenses, the customer quickly took more and more users from other departments into the system, providing and consuming data of any types. In 2011, when the project started, there were perhaps five technical writers, in the meantime, there are ca. 200 users in three countries, storing data like project documentation, software packages up to 1 GB in size and configuration data used in projects. The customer's staff started developing their own Cinnamon integrations using the powerful API. To manage the large number of users, LDAP integration with Active Directory is used, and to speed up data transfer between the sites, there is a content cache in place. Both are standard, commercially available extensions for Cinnamon.