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WebDAV properties: why the lack of support?

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 17:10:54 -0700
To: WebDAV WG <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
So, Gabriel Lawrence's email has prompted me to bring up a question I've
been mulling for awhile: why have WebDAV applications tended not to provide
support for setting arbitrary properties?

One hypothesis is that WebDAV tools so far have been interested in the
protocol as a form of Web-based network file access protocol.  Certainly
this is consistent with the way Web Folders, sitecopy, and the WebDAV
Explorer view the world, and the main motivation for the Web-based storage
sites like Sharemation to provide WebDAV support.

Another hypothesis is that the value of properties only emerges once a
searching mechanism is available.  Since DASL is not complete, there is no
reason for users to set metadata, since there is no way to use it.
Generalizing, there isn't any use, because there aren't any clients that
exploit metadata for their usage.

A third hypothesis is that there aren't any current conventions for how to
use WebDAV properties. For example, even if you did want to set some
bibliographic metadata on a resource, how would you do it?  What property
name would you use, and how would the data be formatted?  It seems to me
some standardization effort is needed here.  The Internet-Draft submitted by
Elliot Christian, draft-christian-prop-semantics-00.txt, available at:
http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-christian-prop-semantics-00.txt is
one example of the kind of work that needs to take place to establish
property usage conventions. John Stracke's I-D, "Use of Dublin Core Metadata
in WebDAV", draft-ietf-webdav-dublin-core-01.txt, available at:
xt is another.

But, maybe there are other reasons why WebDAV properties have, so far, not
been used.


- Jim
Received on Friday, 12 May 2000 20:12:39 UTC

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