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Re: Draft Minutes from IETF WEBDAV BOF

From: Sean Shapira <sds@jazzie.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 17:14:29 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <m0vhQ7a-000OWSC@jazzie.com>
To: ejw@ics.uci.edu (Jim Whitehead)
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@www10.w3.org, taylor@ics.uci.edu, ejw@ics.uci.edu
In his draft minutes of the IETF meeting, Jim Whitehead wrote:

> LOCKS.
> [...]  It was observed
> that the proposed "read lock" was really a convenience access control
> function to modify the read permissions on a resource, and that a read lock
> might not really be a lock.

More generally, I believe there was discussion regarding whether
sufficient distinctions were being made within the DAV effort
between access control functionality (designed to ensure changes 
are made by those who have permission) and database locking 
functionality (designed to ensure the logical integrity and 
consistency of all operations performed on possibly changing 
information).

(For a SQL Server perspective on definitions for various kinds of
locks, see the answer to question 6.3 of the Sybase FAQ, at e.g. 
http://www.landfield.com/faqs/databases/sybase-faq/part7.)

> MOVE.
> There was a thread of discussion concerning how intelligent an operation
> "move" should be.  Some participants felt that HTTP should recognize the
> special nature of HTML media types, and automatically perform some link
> maintenance on links which are broken by a move.  [...]
> However, some participants expressed
> serious concerns over allowing a move operation to have side-effects which
> could modify the resource being moved, or even modify resources which were
> not being moved.  These participants stated that what was most important
> was being able to know exactly what the consequences of an operation would
> be before executing the operation. 

This highlights the tension between the authoring and versioning
communities represented at the meeting.  From an authoring perspective,
these "assisted move" operations will be required functionality of
any competitive product.  From a versioning perspective, assisted move 
operations appear as compound operations requiring the renaming of one
document in a repository and the simultaneous modification of several 
others.

Combined with the uncertain WEBDAV terminology regarding locking (and
assisted moves would require locking, yes?) this lead some attendees
to express skepticism about WEBDAV's chances for success in this area.

> FORM WORKING GROUP.
> Overwhelmingly, the attendees thought the IETF
> should pursue work in this area (the vast majority were in favor, with 2-3
> opposed, and a handful of abstentions).

I was opposed specifically because it seemed the tension (conflict?)
between the authoring and versioning communities made the formation
of a joint working group less likely to achieve ietf objectives than
e.g. the formation of separate working groups.

Both in the context of web content development and elsewhere,
it might be beneficial to have "versioning aware" authoring
tools, without having those authoring tools attempt to provide
a complete set of versioning functionality.  For example, how
many users of e.g. Microsoft Word attempt to use its internal 
versioning capabilities for anything more than casual use?

-- 
Sean Shapira         sds@jazzie.com         +1 206 443 2028
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 1997 00:25:38 GMT

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