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semantics of external members

From: Jim Davis <jdavis@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 21:31:22 PST
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
I have a few questions about the intended semantics of URIs that are
external members of collections.  In particular, I am curious about those
URIs for which the server named in the URI is not the same as the server
that stores the collection.

If server S has a collection C that contains an internal member P and an
external member Q, when I do a PROPFIND on C I should expect to get back a
multistatus that contains a results for both P and Q, right?  And this is
independent of the identity of the server in the URI for Q.

Does this mean I can also do a PROPFIND on server S for the URI Q?  and
likewise a PROPPATCH?

Surely this must be so, since it would be weird to be able to retrieve the
property by asking the collection (with Depth non-zero), but not directly.
And if I can do a PROPFIND (of a non-live property) I ought to be able to

And if I can do a PROPPATCH, I should be able to do a LOCK and UNLOCK, too

Now in that case, does WebDAV say anything about the semantics of a GET on
Q?  Is it silent?  May a server return 404? (not found)?  May it return 302
(Moved Temporarily)?

Near as I can tell the spec is silent on these matters, and I wish it said
something explicitly.

Likewise, if URI Q is a member of two collections on S, it must be external
to at least one of them.  Does the spec say anything about whether the set
of properties visible on Q MAY or MUST NOT in any way on which collection
it is part of?  Imagine, for example that two different users, A and B,
each have a collection (Ca and Cb) stored on S, and they each add Q as an
external member to their collections.  If A sets a property on Q, will B
see it, too?  This might surprise B.  

I hope there are well defined obvious answers to these questions, that
someone will tell me what they are, and that the next version of the
documentation will include them.

best wishes

Received on Saturday, 17 January 1998 00:32:45 UTC

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