Alfresco: CMIS Browser Binding DELETE example

I’m in the midst of rewriting a CMIS client. We are moving from CMIS 1.0 atompub bindings to CMIS 1.1 browser bindings. I’ve worked out how to do a DELETE and wanted to document an example that others could extrapolate from.

A browser binding DELETE should follow the model of a form POST according to the documentation. Playing around with the provided examples (there were no DELETE examples that I found doing a quick google search) I found it to be a simpler than a form POST. I should also note that these calls are governed by the same origin policy so you’ll need to use either JSON-P or a CORS enabled server to enable building applications against the CMIS enabled repository.

I’m using curl for my examples.

There are two ways to address the object that you want to delete: using the objectId or by path.

Using objectId

To delete by objectId we need to include the ‘objectId=’ parameter along with cmis objectId (ex. 7ab93c6a-9520-40dd-be74-bae52f4bd6ca;1.0).


By Path

To delete by path you need to include the full path in the URL. There is no need to include the objectId in the by path call as the path has precedence over the objectId


Now with the basics of addressing the document or folder under our belt we can pull together the rest of the call.

With the atompub binding we made a delete using the HTTP DELETE method. With the browser binding a delete is made using the HTTP POST method. To indicate our call is a delete we add the ‘cmisaction=’ parameter with a value of delete to our call.


A full objectId call (made against Alfresco Cloud) would use a URL like the following:;1.0

The same call using a path:

Using the objectId example from above a call using curl against the Alfresco Cloud Public API would look like:

curl -X POST ";1.0" --header "Authorization:Bearer 42b8c319-344c-4273-b94c-b4c23482be6b" -IL

(For those unfamiliar with curl I’ve added the -IL options to the command so that I can see details about the response (not including the body).

What about response codes?

With atompub a successful delete would have resulted in a 204 response code and no response body. With the browser bindings a 200 response code is returned still with no body. (My preference would be that it returned a 204. This would keep consistency across the bindings and would match what I believe is proper DELETE response.)

And response codes for Errors? You still see a 401 when a user needs to authenticate and a 404 if the object can’t be found. All other errors that I saw came back as 409s. This includes locked documents and attempting to delete folders containing children. If you receive a 409 result there are two json values you can look at to find the reason for the error: exception (the short description) and message (a fuller description of the error).

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