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Re: Simplifying RFC-2518 Locking: A proposal

From: <ccjason@us.ibm.com>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 21:13:20 -0400
To: jamsden@us.ibm.com
cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
Message-ID: <8525680D.0006571C.00@D51MTA03.pok.ibm.com>

  I would resist the second extension. My server currently does not associate
  anything with the lock token except the locked resource. In particular, it
  doesn't remember the URL used to lock the resource,

Hey, it's just a little matter of coding. :-) It sounds like the server would
need to maintain a   lock + URI  ->  new URI mapping or something
like that.  There really wouldn't be any point in storing it with resource.
That mapping table would need to be global (at least to the workspace).  It
would need an entry for every URI locked by a depth lock if we plan to
remap each of those independently.


i1) I suspect Geoff didn't mean it, but I think he said (by using the
 word "identify") that the server "tells" the client where the resource
 has moved to.  (If this is not what Geoff meant... skip to (i2).)
 This can be a bad thing.
 The server should internally redirect the request to the resource at it's new
 The reason it's bad is that by the time the client accesses that new location
 it couild have moved again.  That means the client has to go back to the
 original URI to to ask where it has moved again.  So this means the
 client has to chase down the resource.  It's a potential race condition and
 the client can never safely use the second location/URI in a request.  It
 always has to remember the first location.  -- Now this could be improved
(client view) if
 Geoff says    that a resource doesn't just remember the original location of
 the resource... but also subsequent.  (This was what Geoff proposed a few
 weeks ago.)   We'd need to define this more clearly but it might work.  BTW
 this second alteration by itself doesn't save the client from chasing down
 the resource... but if we can define a useful deterministic behavior, it
 allows the client to only remember the most recent URI that he was given.
 This second change would also allow one to use a lock obtained via lock
i2) This proposal breaks our model whereby all webdav resources have parents
 at their analagous parent URI.  This would not be the case here unless
 URI protection were added.  That is... a whole tree of URI's could be
 locked, but if someone does a MOVE above the root of that URI at which
 the lock request was originally directed, then there will be a gap in the
 parentage tree.  --  I personally don't care about this, but a lot of folks
 went through a ton of time defining and refining how webdav resources must
 have a parent at their parent URI.  A ton.  They must feel this is a valuable
 feature.  -- Also a lesser namespace incongruity like this was also the reason
 that it was claimed that lock null resources are a pain for the client.  If
 that was to believed there... it should be a consideration here.
i3) Because this model doesn't protect a URI, it isn't just possible to move
 a locked resource from the namespace... it's also possible to delete it
 from the namespace and thus removing all apparent URI's for it.  Redirection
 won't work then.  Perhaps internal redirection would still though.
i4) For depth locks, we'd need to define behaivor.   Given /a/b/c and a
 depth lock placed on /a/b/.  It's pretty clear what the redirection does
 for an access to /a/b/.  But what about /a/b/c?  Does it refer to the
 resource that was originally at that location?  Or does it refer to the
 current "c" member of the collection that was orginally at /a/b/.
i5) We'd have to work out when the redirection is triggered.  It's probably
 not sufficient to say it's triggered when there is no resource at a
 URI.  It would need to also deal with the situation where a different
 resource is now at that location.  But that does create another
 ambiguity rlated to (i4).  Ah... it's a bit of a mess.  I'm not going to
 get into it here.

   and there is no special case
   URL mapping that would somehow add lock tokens to namespace resolution
   calculations, some of which happen outside my server's domain.

???  wakarimasen (I don't understand.)

  It seems like if
  we have to do this, we're still missing something. I think the solution is
  if the user is conserned about someone moving his locked resource, then he
  should lock the parent collection. That's what locking collections is for, to
  control the namespace.

Lacking URI protection, he'd also lock all the collections to the root.

  Alternatively, we can fail any move whose souce is
  locked, and the requesting principal either doesn't own the lock, or didn't
  specify the lock token.

This sounds like a version of URI protection.  The version where all URI's of
a lock are protected.
It actually sounds fine/benign the way you describe it, but in an earlier
thread Geoff and I determined that this can be expensive.  (It might have
been an offline thread between the AdvColl folks.) I have to
admit... it really does sound attractive here though.  :-)

  The confusion here is that PUT and DELETE are resource
  methods that effect their parent collection as a side effect. It would be
  to have some addMember/removeMember methods on a collection to do this. The
  problems result form the behavior being in the wrong place. But this is
  inherited from HTTP which didn't have collections, so we'll have to work

What PUT and DELETE problem are you refering to that is
related to this discussion?

  Now, while we're on a role, how about getting rid of those pesky lock tokens!
  The only thing they seem to do is let a particular principle who is running
  concurrent authoring applications that might be updating the same resources
  detect the possibility of overwrite conflicts by distinguishing which
  application got the lock token by doing the LOCK, and which one got it from
  other mechanism (like IPC or the user typed it in). The application that
  directly got the lock could proceed with its operation while the others could
  put up a warning indicating there might be some other application that could
  updating the resource at the same time, and you might want to think about
  whether you want to do this operation now or not. (Now there's a warning for
  you). It took me quite a while to figure this out, and I may not have it right
  yet, but that's my interpretation of the spec.

I think you got that right... the part about determining which application got
the token via the primary mechanism isn't right, but it doesn't affect what you
say below.

  Note that clients don't have to
  do anything with the lock token except hang on to them and send them back when

I guess so.  I don't know else they might do that you are suggesting is avoided.

  The above is just a suggested convention.

You're losing me.  :-)

  Not also that having a lock
  token doesn't give any other principle any privilege as you must own a lock
  token to be able to use it.

Right.  You can't get past a lock by stealing a lock token... unless you appear
to be the principal that took out the lock in the first place.

  I submit the problem being solved is not worth the
  protocol complexity and client inconvence (having to retain all those lock
  tokens). Note also that other systems either associate the lock with the
  id (which we can't do in an HTTP server), or let the user be responsible for
  concurrent process he might have started up. I'd be happy that.

I think you're essentially saying that when one authenticates, there should be a
way to distinguish between the applications using the same ID... or perhaps that
they really should use different ID"s.  The use of distinct ID's or session ID's
has been discussed before.  (Yaron and I had an exchange on this about two years
ago... but I can't find the posting.)   Yaron shot down that proposal.

Reasons for tokens rather than just principles
  1)    Reduces the dependency on a clients
        generating unique and unpredictable session identifiers.
        (Puts control in the server's hands.)
  2)    Still allows the same principal to share a capability
        between his left and right hands if it deems it
        appropriate.  (puts some control in the lock owner's
   2.1) It's never stated, but I suspect they might have also
        envisioned using this as a the basis of capabilities
        passing system that wasn't dependent on authentication.
  3)    It allows for the possibility of multiple locks per
        resource by the same principal... without chaos.
   3.1) It's a convenient way for UNLOCK to specify the lock
        it is removing.
  4)    It allows for URI remapping schemes like Geoff's.
  5)    The original authors seemed to feel it was important
        that the client at times to provide verification that it
        knows what locks are located where.  This actually
        becomes essential if we don't protect URI's or remap
        them.  (if-match headers don't support guids yet.)

I think it's an interesting coincidence that you seem to have suggested the
possible removal of lock tokens.  I was actually mulling over another
possibility.  Removal of locks altogether.  It was inspired by recent arguments
against URI protection and lock null resources... which both are intended to
protect the namespace.  I eventually decided that locks are still a good thing
even without URI protection (which I still advocate) and LNRs.  Locks do more
than just prevent the lost update problem.


Received on Saturday, 16 October 1999 21:09:27 GMT

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