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WebDAV and disconnected/asynchronous operation

From: Mike Evans <Mike.Evans@jack.see.plym.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 11:14:17 -0000
To: <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000401bf8cdd$45d7e0e0$6b31a38d@see.plym.ac.uk>
Hello all,

I am a Ph.D student at the University of Plymouth, UK, and I was wondering
if anybody could help me with some questions I have regarding WebDAV.

I need to know if any work is currently being conducted into using WebDAV
over slow/intermittent connections?  From what I have read from the
archives, the discussion on this topic seemed to end in 1997, with a small
discussion on 'email access to DAV functionality' and 'disconnected
operation', but I can't find any outcome to these discussions.  Was any
decision reached to include/preclude such operation in the spec, or was it
decided to leave it to specific impementations to handle in their own way?

To give you some context, my Ph.D work is centred around managing
information on the web. Hardly new, I know, but part of the work is based on
developing a resource migration mechanism for the web.  Before you all
switch off, I am currently designing a resource migration protocol that
manages the migration process, with WebDAV being used to handle the physical
movement of the resource across servers during a migration.  The idea is
that an agent manages the process on behalf of a client.  The client could
be a user, or a programmatic client (such as a distributed object).  If it's
the latter, it will need to send a 'Migrate' message to the agent (which
could be on a different host to the client), and wait for the response.
What concerns me is the potential delay in receiving this response.  The
migration process comprises several DAV commands, some authorisation along
the way, and the updating of a suitable name service, which could
potentially take some time.  Waiting for the response may not be a good
idea, but I'd hate to go ahead and implement my own asyncronous operation if
it conflicts with what has already been developed (and why reinvent the
wheel anyway?!)

Could anybody inform me, therefore, if any work has been carried out into
disconnected operation, as I will gratefully use it.  If not, I'll have to
come up with my own solution.  Clearly, as I'm working on automatic
operation of the migration process, I can't use e-mail notification.

BTW, I was wondering what (if anything) I should do with the migration
protocol once it's complete? The protocol _uses_ WebDAV, it doesn't _extend_
it, but it does extend HTTP (minimally), and it does define cross-server
operations, so it may be useful to others.  Should I write an Internet
draft? Would it be useful to this group? If not, who would it be useful for?
(the IETF and W3C seem a bit quiet on the resource migration front, and the
URN group seems a bit contentious! Would they welcome such a draft?).

Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Regards,

Mike Evans

Network Research Group
University of Plymouth
Room 505, The Moneycentre Building
Drake Circus
Plymouth
Devon

Mike.Evans@jack.see.plym.ac.uk
Received on Monday, 13 March 2000 06:04:44 GMT

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