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Re: Why does MERGE automatically checkin resources related to act ivities?

From: Roy Seto <Roy.Seto@oracle.com>
Date: Mon, 01 Oct 2001 21:46:51 -0700
Message-ID: <3BB946BB.47783F10@oracle.com>
To: ietf-dav-versioning@w3.org
My implementation has two use cases where we need to MERGE from an activity
source without checking in that activity's DAV:activity-checkout-set. I
strongly favor Geoff's proposal (activity checkin). If that's not feasible
because there is a requirement for atomic activity checkin/merge, I'd like
to make the activity checkin an optional part of the activity merge. In
fact, I was writing a proposal to extend the protocol with such an option
before Peter raised this question. Here's my proposal below.


My implementation has a requirement that the changes in
multiple activities be logically merged into a shared
line of descent upon completion. I would like to model
the shared line of descent as an activity.

Here's a summary of my overall use case:

  1. Each user's client initializes a separate
     workspace so its version-controlled members'
     DAV:activity-set values include the shared
     activity. I'll call this the "integration
     activity" for the rest of this discussion.

  2. Each user's client issues MKACTIVITY to create a
     non-shared activity for making changes on a
     separate line of descent from the integration
     activity. I'll call this the "isolation activity"
     for the rest of this discussion. The client then
     PROPPATCHES the DAV:current-activity-set of its
     workspace to the isolation activity and issues a
     number of CHECKOUT, GET, PUT, and CHECKIN requests
     whose request-URLs are members of the workspace.

  3. At certain times while working on their isolation
     activities, users would like to logically merge
     the latest versions in the integration activity's
     DAV:activity-version-set to their
     workspaces. (This is the step at which I'd like
     the option to make checkins of an activity's
     DAV:activity-checkout-set optional when that
     activity resource is the DAV:source of a MERGE
     request. I also have a secondary use case for this

  4. When users complete work on their isolation
     activities, their clients issue a series of
     requests so that the changes in the isolation
     activities are logically merged to the integration
     activity. To support this, I will propose (in a
     separate note) to define the semantics of UPDATE
     where the source is an activity resource.

Extension proposal: Make checkins of an activity's
DAV:activity-checkout-set optional when that activity
resource is the DAV:source of a MERGE request.

Primary use case: One way to implement step 3 in my
overall use case above would be to do something like

  MERGE /ws/user_x_work HTTP/1.1
  Host: www.webdav.org
  Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
  Content-Length: xxxx

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
  <D:merge xmlns:D="DAV:">

In this step of my use case, it would be undesirable to
checkin all the VCR's in /act/integ_act's
DAV:activity-checkout-set. Those checked-out resources
could be members of other workspaces whose owners were
in the middle of logically merging their own isolation
activities to /act/integ_act. The
<D:no-activity-checkin-on-merge/> option in the request
body would suppress the DAV:atomic-activity-checkin
precondition and DAV:checkin-activity postcondition in
Section 13.12.

I understand that similar results can be achieved by
merging from a baseline (where the members of the
baseline's DAV:baseline-collection's DAV:checked-in
versions include the integration activity in their
DAV:activity-set). However, merging from the
integration activity gives users another option when
they wish to incorporate changes newer than the latest
baseline into their workspace.

Secondary use case: Support a process in which multiple
workspaces perform their checkouts directly in a shared
activity (because the workspaces share the same
DAV:current-activity-set). Each workspace can pick up
the latest versions created in the shared activity by
the other workspaces by doing a MERGE similar to the
one above.

Informal proposed marshalling: Add an optional element
(like "DAV:no-activity-checkin-on-merge") to the
request body of MERGE. This would change the semantics
of Section 13.12 in draft-18. If this optional element
was present in the request body, the server SHOULD NOT
(MUST NOT?) checkin the activity's
DAV:activity-checkout-set before determining the merge
sources.  Also, add a property (something like
"DAV:no-activity-checkin-on-merge" ?) to activity
resources that did the same thing, to enable clients
which did not know about this option to support my use

Compatibility considerations: Existing clients would be
compatible with this change since they would not have
to use the new optional request-body element, there are
no additional response-body elements, and optionally
the new activity property could be PROPPATCHED to allow
existing clients to get the new behavior without
understanding the additional marshalling. Existing
servers would be compatible with the change if it were
specified as a SHOULD NOT, since RFC 2518 Section 14
requires that servers ignore XML elements they don't
understand in request bodies. Existing servers would
need changes to support the change if it were specified
as a MUST NOT. (SHOULD NOT/MUST NOT is a tradeoff
between simplicity and compatibility in this case,
since MUST NOT would simplify clients which used the

"Clemm, Geoff" wrote:

>    From: Peter Raymond [mailto:Peter.Raymond@merant.com]
>    I was reading section 13 with a group of other staff in MERANT and
>    we came across section 13.12 which talks about automatically
>    checking-in any checked-out resources referenced by an activity
>    which is specified as part of the DAV:source set for the MERGE.
>    Why does MERGE behave like this for activities and not for other
>    resources (see the precondition
>    DAV:cannot-merge-checked-out-resource in section 11.2.
>    This auto-checkin behaviour seems to add more complexity to the
>    implementation of MERGE and seems to be inconsistent.  What was the
>    use case for including this auto-checkin behaviour only for
>    activities?
> This was added to allow for an "atomic" activity checkin/merge request
> (something needed by the Subversion system), which only supports
> DAV:no-checkout merge requests.  With the new DAV:auto-update
> functionality, an alternative way of supporting this functionality
> would be to allow CHECKIN to be applied to an activity (and having it
> mean "checkin everything in that activity").  The DAV:auto-update
> functionality would do the MERGE.
> Greg: This just means you would replace your activity MERGE request
> with an activity CHECKIN request.  This would also significantly improve
> interoperability, since more systems are likely to support
> activity CHECKIN than are likely to support the MERGE feature.
> I believe this would be a significant improvement in consistency, and
> only requires moving a postcondition from the MERGE method to the
> CHECKIN method.  In addition, these two methods happen to be on the
> same page of the text draft, so I could make this change without the
> dreaded repagination.
> If there are no objections, I can make this change.  If there
> are *any* objections, I will not make the change, since we are
> so late in the draft process.
> Cheers,
> Geoff
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 00:58:14 GMT

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