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Re: WebDAV properties: why the lack of support?

From: Gabriel Lawrence <gabe@kovair.com>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 09:47:11 -0700
Message-ID: <39217B8F.CDA77005@kovair.com>
CC: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>, WebDAV WG <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>

We have a document repository in our application today. We store simple meta
information, name and description....Just enough to give a user a feel for the
document before they go through all the trouble to download it. Our users have
told us they want tighter integration with the filesystem - WebDAV is perfect
for this solution. You'll notice that this use of properties does only a little
searching - most real search would need to look into the content of the

But browsing is different. This really is a helper for folks browsing the
I know that many Office documents have meta information in them - it would be
especially cool if that meta  information was exposed using WebDAV when they
get saved using WebDAV also...

The reality is that many servers are coming, and many of them offer different
then simple web servers. It would be nice if the fancy clients out there would
these servers. I cant imagine that the exchange  team over at microsoft isn't
interested in
features like this? It would also make the server generated index page pretty
cool in IIS...
I'd like to lobby the MS folks on this list hard to consider putting this stuff
in. Your leadership
could really change the way documents on the web are handled. The lack of solid
meta information about a document before it is downloaded is something that the
has been missing since the very beginning!


John Mott wrote:

> The eKeeper application does precisely this; we store user-defined
> properties on the server. Those properties are defined within the context of
> our application, to be sure, but we are using WebDAV as it was intended; to
> store buckets of arbitrary properties, perhaps from different namespaces,
> with a resource on the server.
> John Mott
> CTO, eKeeper.com
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-dist-auth-request@w3.org
> > [mailto:w3c-dist-auth-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Jim Whitehead
> > Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 7:11 PM
> > To: WebDAV WG
> > Subject: WebDAV properties: why the lack of support?
> >
> >
> > 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:
> http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/webdav/dc/draft-ietf-webdav-dublin-core-01.t
> xt is another.
> But, maybe there are other reasons why WebDAV properties have, so far, not
> been used.
> Thoughts?
> - Jim

Received on Tuesday, 16 May 2000 12:45:51 UTC

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