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RE: WebDAV Bindings - Issue Yaron.AtomicDelete

From: Slein, Judith A <JSlein@crt.xerox.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 11:00:42 -0500
Message-ID: <8E3CFBC709A8D21191A400805F15E0DBD2457D@crte147.wc.eso.mc.xerox.com>
To: "'Greg Stein'" <gstein@lyra.org>, ccjason@us.ibm.com
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
I think maybe we haven't made it clear what we are trying to accomplish by
saying that DELETE must be atomic.  And maybe expressing it that way is
confusing.  Here are the results we want (I think):

1. DELETE removes a single binding.  It does not remove all the bindings to
a resource, only the one identified by the Request-URI.  If it happens to be
the last binding, then what happens about garbage collection of either
content or properties is outside the scope of the spec.  DELETE is just
about removing the binding.

2. In the case where the binding is to a collection, DELETE still means only
remove the binding to that collection.  It is not acceptable to walk the
tree deleting bindings to descendents of that collection.  This would have
disastrous consequences in an environment with multiple bindings to
resources.  To resurrect an example of Jason's:

User UA uses URL /a/C/ to access collection coll1.  User UB uses URL /b/C/
to access the same collection.  Now suppose UA issues a DELETE on /a/C/.
What you want is for UB to be able to continue to use /b/C/ to access the
collection (and all its descendents).  So you can't go deleting the bindings
in coll1 to all its children.  All you want to do is remove the binding
a:(C->coll1) from collection /a/.

Does either of these restrictions cause problems for mod_dav?

--Judy

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Stein [mailto:gstein@lyra.org]
> Sent: Friday, January 21, 2000 5:36 PM
> To: ccjason@us.ibm.com
> Cc: Yaron Goland; w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
> Subject: Re: WebDAV Bindings - Issue Yaron.AtomicDelete
> 
> 
> On Tue, 18 Jan 2000 ccjason@us.ibm.com wrote:
> >...
> > >>
> >  There are, I freely admit, circumstances in which a client 
> MUST be able to
> > ensure that a DELETE is issued atomically. Clients in those 
> cases will have
> > to choose to not interoperate with many WebDAV servers in 
> order to gain
> > atomic delete.
> > >>
> > These clients can interoperate with an old iterative server 
> just fine if
> > they also include 2518 support.  That's their choice.
> > 
> > We have asked around and it seems that server authors 
> appreciate and are
> > willing to comply with semantic of an "atomic" removal of a 
> single binding.
> 
> I don't recall being asked, nor agreeing with atomic 
> operations. If that
> binding happens to be a collection, then it will definitely 
> be non-atomic.
> 
> [ also assuming this is the "final" removal of the collection ]
> 
> >...
> > >>
> > Let me clarify that DELETE was defined to not be atomic 
> with malice of fore
> > thought. The non-atomic delete language was the result of 
> nearly three
> > years of negotiations and represented a deep and broad 
> consensus built up
> > amongst a huge community. Might I respectfully suggest to 
> the BIND authors
> > that they should not be so ready to overthrow years of 
> careful consensus
> > building.
> > >>
> > We've asked around.  Folks appreciate this behavior and are 
> willing to
> > support it.
> 
> Again: I don't remember being asked. Maybe I missed a post to 
> this list?
> 
> Regardless, I am not willing support atomic deletions of 
> collections OR
> single, member resources. Note that I mentioned member 
> resources here. I
> delete a member resource in two steps: the contents and its 
> properties.
> Definitely non-atomic.
> 
> And with respect to the Apache web server, I will not even 
> begin to think
> of making it atomic (e.g. serialize all requests while a 
> resource is being
> deleted).
> 
> > >>
> > Do not imagine that the lack of screaming on this issue 
> reflects consensus.
> > Rather it reflects the fact that most of the WebDAV 
> community is too busy
> > implementing RFC 2518 to pay much attention to BIND. The BIND
> > functionality, while I believe it will be important to 
> WebDAV, is a bit
> > ahead of the majority of implementers so they just aren't reading or
> > reviewing it, yet.
> > >>
> > We have asked around and we didn't accept silence as a response.
> 
> I was certainly silent. Either that, or I'm going senile and forget
> responding to a question of atomicity. I certainly can't 
> imagine replying
> "sure, I can sure an atomic delete".
> 
> > >>
> > The key reason DELETE was not allowed to be atomic (which 
> certainly would
> > have been a nice thing to be able to do) has to do with the way file
> > systems work. Most file systems do not support depth 
> operations atomically.
> > So, for example, when you delete a directory what actually 
> happens is that
> > the program does a depth first walk of the directory tree 
> and deletes all
> > the individual files, walking backwards up the tree until 
> finally deleting
> > the parent directory.
> > >>
> > You've pointed out that this is a problem on your file 
> system.  We've found
> > no other.   We've tested it and our testing indicates that 
> the MOVE option
> > you mention below works.  (We did not test with ACL's 
> though... or multiple
> > bindings.)    We've also contacted folks at your 
> organization and they
> > didn't see a problem.
> 
> This is an undue complication: generate a unique name, rename 
> the resource
> to that new name, then process its removal. And again, 
> mod_dav couldn't
> even do this because of its separation between properties and 
> contents: I
> could move the contents away, but a PROPFIND could still return
> properties.
> 
> >...
> > >>
> > There is then the third and final issue, WebDAV begins with 
> a "D" for a
> > reason. It's goal is to be distributed. Requiring atomic 
> DELETEs would
> > essentially hinder all but the most expensive of systems 
> from being able to
> > implement distributed namespaces across multiple physical 
> servers. The
> > reason being that the atomic requirement means that these 
> systems will have
> > to establish transactioning systems between themselves in 
> order to issue
> > DELETEs if they share namespace.
> > >>
> > It's only one binding.  The goal isn't to be atomic, that's just a
> > fortunate side effect.
> 
> It is *definitely* not a "side effect." mod_dav certainly 
> does not do a
> rename-then-delete. Therefore, I have to take explicit 
> actions to achieve
> that behavior. I don't even think that I could *ever* 
> guarantee an atomic
> DELETE operation.
> 
> >...
> > >>
> > As such I move that the atomic DELETE language be struck 
> from the BIND spec
> > on the grounds that it destroys interoperability, requires 
> behavior that
> > would preclude file system based systems from supporting WebDAV and
> > significantly increases the cost of implementing WebDAV in 
> a distributed
> > manner.
> > >>
> 
> I agree with Yaron on this one. Strongly.
> 
> > I believe I've addressed all of these above.
> > 
> > It is very clear that DELETE should not be iterative or 
> accept partial
> > results in a server that supports multiple bindings.
> 
> I think it is very clear that it shouldn't.
> 
> Stating your opinion of clarity doesn't make it so, nor does 
> mine. But I
> certainly can tell you right now that I won't be one of the "example
> implementations" required for an IETF Standard.
> 
> > Legacy clients may
> > invoke DELETE without knowledge of the potential dangers.  
> Therefore, a
> > simple DELETE should delete a single binding.  --- There is 
> no compelling
> > reason (so far) not to support single binding delete and it 
> simplifies the
> 
> I believe that I've given you one. With a good chunk of extra work and
> serialization within the server, then it might be possible. 
> But I am not
> really up for trying to figure it out.
> 
> Cheers,
> -g
> 
> -- 
> Greg Stein, http://www.lyra.org/
> 
Received on Thursday, 27 January 2000 11:00:58 GMT

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