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Re: Working collections

From: Greg Stein <gstein@lyra.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 19:41:05 -0800
To: ietf-dav-versioning@w3.org
Message-ID: <20001120194105.C21426@lyra.org>
On Sat, Nov 18, 2000 at 11:11:07PM -0500, Geoffrey M. Clemm wrote:
>    From: Greg Stein <gstein@lyra.org>
>    Why would a checked-out version selector (of a member or a collection) ever
>    be any different from a working resource? What would be the justification
>    for such a difference?
> A checked-out (non-collection) version selector is very similar to
> a (non-collection) working resource.  The main difference is that 
> the working resource is deleted when it is checked in, while the
> version selector is not.  
> For collection version selectors, the model is relatively simple ...
> a collection version selector has as members other version selectors
> (possibly other collection version selectors), as well as non-versioned
> members.  So a collection version selector is the root of a tree of
> version selectors (and possibly non-versioned resources).

Agreed/understood on both paragraphs.

> In contrast, it sounds like you want a collection working resource
> (aka a "working collection") to not be a tree, which would make a
> working collection very different from a checked out collection
> version selector.


Per my "operational model" note, the SVN client will never attempt to deal
with any resources under the working collection, so I don't want to worry
about making them present.

[ since we've defined DELETE of a collection member as an operation on the
  collection, the above statement still holds for "not dealing" with
  collection member resources; I just mildly refer to it :-) ]

>    Doing a check-out in place does not work well for me. I want to construct an
>    activity, check out a bunch of things w.r.t. that activity, make the
>    changes, then merge the activity in one fell swoop. That model works great,
>    and I don't see any incentive/benefit to using a different model.
>    [ I will admit to not reading the latest incarnation of workspaces, but it
>      still seems moot if the activity model and working resources satisifies my
>      problems ]
> If you only checkout leaf (i.e. non-collection) resources, that works
> fine, but as soon as you want to track the history of the collections,
> you need to decide what kind of resource are the members of the checked
> out collections.  That's where I believe that the notion of a working
> collection either falls apart, or at least, becomes quite complex.

Or simply state that the members are not present :-)

I do understand that this introduces the dreaded "Model C" for what a
working collection is.

> All that the "in-place" checkout requires is that you precede your
> work with a single MKWORKSPACE request, that simply tells the server
> "this is the root of the tree of resources I'm going to be mucking with".
> If the client is going to be versioning collections, it needs to know
> that anyway, and it seems reasonable to have it issue the single MKWORKSPACE
> request before it checks out its first collection.

Um. After you create a workspace, then it must get populated with the
resources that you want to work with. So wouldn't that be something like:

    MKWORKSPACE /some/whwere
    COPY /repos  -> /some/where/repos

And then you start working with /some/where/repos ? Ooh, and the client also
has to make sure the result of the COPY actually creates version selectors,
doesn't it?

Hmm. I guess you could use VERSION-CONTROL instead of COPY to set up the
workspace contents. But... it isn't a simple matter of "just create a

>    In the model that I'm going to use, I don't need to "slash-through" the
>    working collection. I just need it to establish a spot where I can create
>    new members/sub-collections.
> It's the semantics of those new members/sub-collections that is the
> tricky part.  What if you MOVE some existing version-controlled
> resources into the working collection, checkout some of the existing
> members of the working collection, and create new members.  All of
> these have to be modeled in a way that allows the server at checkin
> time to decide what version histories should be associated with what
> names in the new version of the collection.

Per my other note, each creation of a resource within the working collection
(via PUT, MKCOL, COPY, or MOVE) will return a 201 (Created) response. Per
RFC 2616, I must return a Location: header with "the most specific URI for
the resource". That URI will refer to the new working resource, and will
*NOT* be a child of the working collection.

>    If I want to reach an existing child resource,
>    then I'll go through version selectors (to their versions, which I CHECKOUT,
>    and then to their working resources).
> So when you checkout an existing child resource of a working collection,
> how is this reflected in the state of that working collection?

The child resource isn't present in the working collection, so a change is
not required.

> What happens
> if you delete a  checked-out child of that working collection?  Does that
> delete the working resource, or is it still around but invisible when
> you check it in?

If a CHECKOUT is done on a "leaf" version (thus creating a working
resource), and then somebody does a DELETE within that resource's parent's
working collection, then you have a "merge conflict".

1) a working resource exists, possibly with changes
2) the resource has been marked for deletion

When you commit, the above two conditions are incompatible since the server
cannot know which takes precedence. So, the commit would fail.

[ commit meaning a CHECKIN of the related activity, workspace, whatever ]

> One can probably create answers to these things,
> but it won't be simple.

Well, the hardest part is whether it is reasonable to say that a working
collection does not report any members. Or maybe it does, but when you try
to access them, you get a redirect. Or the working collection reports them
in a PROPFIND (but returns a 409 (Conflict) if you try to fetch any
properties) but the resource returns a 404.

If the "no member" working collection is possible, then we may be okay.

>    I think the point here is that I'm working in a transactional / change set
>    model here. I get a bunch of working resources, change them, then check them
>    in in one fell swoop. Navigation and management of checked out resources is
>    minimal and short-lived. Give me a working resource, I'll tweak in, then
>    merge it back in (possibly with other changes).
> It's capturing the namespace changes (i.e. the changes to the collections)
> that is the challenge.  You need to distinguish between new members being
> added, existing members being renamed, existing members being replaced
> by new members, and existing members being replaced by members from other
> collections.  A tree of version selectors can handle this, and I would
> regret adding significant complexity to the protocol just to provide an
> alternative way of doing it.

I think the only change to the spec would be to state that "members of a
working collection are undefined" or some such. If it can be defined
further, then okay.

A tree of version selectors is rather difficult to maintain on the server,
compared to a set of working resources. At any point in the tree, you would
need to figure out which is checked out, which is not. If something is
checked out, then what version? And as you pointed out in another note, what
is the target of each version selector? In Subversion, I need to work with
specific version resources (much easier than trying to prep a version
selector to point at the version that I'm concerned with).


Greg Stein, http://www.lyra.org/
Received on Monday, 20 November 2000 22:39:55 UTC

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