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Re: More on "Webify Word? No Way!"

From: Geoffrey M. Clemm <geoffrey.clemm@rational.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 15:47:01 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <200009291947.PAA00731@tantalum.atria.com>
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org

   From: S. Matthew Hersey, MA Ed.

   More on WebDAV:

    http://www.webdav.org/deltav/protocol/draft-ietf-deltav-versioning-08.htm
    (co-authored by Christopher Kaller of Microsoft)

Just for the record, this is a URL of a working document.  The official
reference URL for this internet draft is:

http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-deltav-versioning-08.txt

This is a plain text document, as required by the IETF.

The HTML and Word versions of this document are made available for
the convenience of readers that prefer those alternative formats.

   Look at the source code:
   <meta name=Generator content="Microsoft Word 9">
   <meta name=Originator content="Microsoft Word 9">

The design team decided to use Microsoft Word primarily because it
is the most commonly available authoring client that supports WebDAV,
which is the mechanism which the DeltaV group uses to do collaborative
authoring.

   For those of us who question why this Internet Draft html would be
   published Microsoft Word:

Just for interest's sake, what alternative would you suggest?

   WebDAV conventiently stores all resource properties in an XML
   document.

WebDAV actually says nothing about how resource properties are stored.
It does say that operations that manipulate resource properties are
marshalled via XML, but that is independent of how they are stored.

   WebDAV (and now DeltaV) is being developed to use MSIE5+
   as a front end in conjunction with the Windows 2000 platform Web
   Folders feature acting as a remote client.

WebDAV and DeltaV are not being developed to use MSIE5+, but rather
MSIE5+ is one of the many servers that have chosen to support the
WebDAV protocol.

   JimWhitehead, Chair of the webDAV Working Group and Assistant
   Professor of Software Engineering at UCSC
   (http://www.ics.uci.edu/~ejw/papers/whitehead_diss.pdf) explains
   that the goal of the new DeltaV protocol is to take out "a lock on
   the resource, write its contents, write the property, then
   unlock". He goes on to say that if you "wanted to add this property
   capability for a third-party client, like Word, then you're
   currently out of luck".

Note that lock/modify/unlock (actually, should be
lock/read/modify/unlock) is functionality provided by WebDAV as
defined by RFC-2518, and is not modified in any way by the DeltaV
versioning extensions.

The comment about "being out of luck" is in reference to "being out
of luck unless you have something like WebDAV".

   So why author the Web version of the the document linked above in Word?

Because Word in office-2000 does talk WebDAV.

   Again we ought to refer to the source code:
   <o:DocumentProperties>
     <o:Author>Geoffrey Clemm, Jim Amsden, Christopher Kaler, Jim Whitehead</o:Author>
     <o:LastAuthor>Geoffrey Clemm</o:LastAuthor>
     <o:Revision>2</o:Revision>
     <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime>
     <o:LastPrinted>2000-07-07T16:26:00Z</o:LastPrinted>
     <o:Created>2000-09-11T16:53:00Z</o:Created>
     <o:LastSaved>2000-09-11T16:53:00Z</o:LastSaved>
     <o:Pages>61</o:Pages>
     <o:Words>19456</o:Words>
     <o:Characters>110903</o:Characters>
     <o:Company>World Wide Web Consortium</o:Company>
     <o:Lines>924</o:Lines>
     <o:Paragraphs>221</o:Paragraphs>
     <o:CharactersWithSpaces>136196</o:CharactersWithSpaces>
     <o:Version>9.3821</o:Version>
    </o:DocumentProperties>
   </xml>

   MS Word 2000 embeds version data into the head of the document
   using the MSO markup flavor of XML.

Note that WebDAV has been explicitly designed to support documents
in an arbitrary format (not just documents in XML), so it cannot and
does not assume that this information can be embedded in the document
content.

   Word autolocks a document that
   is under development so that one user, or group member is editing
   it at a time.  When the editor is finished writing, saves the
   document and closes it, the version data is embedded.  When the
   document is closed, it is unlocked and another user or group member
   can continue its development.

And because WebDAV provides a locking protocol, Word-2000 can perform
this function against an arbitrary WebDAV server (e.g. the Apache
server that currently holds the DeltaV working documents).

   Word is an effective authoring and version control application for
   Internet publishing.  Web pages authored in Word are kind of
   crufty.

These two statements seem to be contradictory.  Is Word an effective
application for Internet publishing, or are web pages authored in
Word too crufty for it to be useful?  Our experience has been that
although Word doesn't produce the most polished HTML documents,
it does produce documents that are acceptable for collaborative
development.

   This author hopes that WebDav will eliminate the need to
   rely on Word to control authoring and versioning for Web document
   publishing.

Until other authoring tools follow Word's lead and support the
WebDAV protocol, WebDAV actually increases the benefits of using
Word to collaboratively author documents over the Web.

Cheers,
Geoff
Received on Friday, 29 September 2000 15:47:31 GMT

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