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Re: unlock question

From: Dan Brotsky <dbrotsky@Adobe.COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 17:28:01 -0800
Message-Id: <p0433010db6c5e7ce2a0c@[]>
To: Greg Stein <gstein@lyra.org>
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
At 3:08 PM -0800 3/2/01, Greg Stein wrote:
>On Fri, Mar 02, 2001 at 11:12:23AM -0800, Dan Brotsky wrote:
>>  At 2:49 PM -0800 3/1/01, Greg Stein wrote:
>>  >  > >mod_dav returns 400 (Bad Request) whether the resource has other
>>  >locks on it
>>  >>  >or not. The client should have submitted an UNLOCK with a proper
>>  >>lock token.
>>  >>  >
>>  >>  >Cheers,
>>  >>  >-g
>>  >>
>>  >>  Greg,
>>  >>
>>  >>  Why not 412?  I thought servers were always supposed to return 412 to
>>  >>  requests that provided invalid state preconditions?
>>  >
>>  >The Lock-Token: header is not a precondition. It is an input parameter to
>>  >the UNLOCK method.
>>  Sorry I wasn't clear enough.  I wasn't contesting that 400 is a valid
>>  response.  I was trying to ask you for your design rationale in
>>  choosing to return 400 rather than 412.
>As I explained :-) ... The lock token is an input parameter to the UNLOCK
>method. If you don't supply a valid token, then you've sent in a bad
>The If: header is used to specify a precondition for the operation. If the
>precondition specified by the If: fails, then you get a 412.

But you can get 412 in many other cases, not just as a result of a 
failed IF.  (For example, if the server doesn't have the kind of lock 
you want.)  It is clearly a (conceptual) precondition of unlocking a 
given lock that you have it.  So I don't think returning 412 if you 
don't is much of a stretch.  And it has the advantage of saying 
exactly why you failed.

Clients that get 400-series errors back are often interested in 
recovering and trying again.  Returning a 412 in this (eventually :^) 
specified case would allow a client to know they've actually lost 
their lock rather than made some other error, so they can recover 
without (for example) having to do lock discovery.

>UNLOCK operations use the Lock-Token as the parameter, not an If: header. If
>it *did* use the If: header, then how could you know which locktoken to
>unlock if multiple were present? What if you wanted to assert a different
>locktoken than the one that you're intending to unlock? Thus, the Lock-Token
>is required for UNLOCK, and the If: header is just that: an assertion.

I agree with all this.  I'm not suggesting that we change UNLOCK to 
use IF to specify the "what to unlock."

The interesting thing here is that this is completely symmetric with 
LOCK, which *does* specify the token in an IF (for renewal).  I think 
there's another issue here entirely:

ISSUE - Lock Renewal should specify the lock to renew with a 
LOCK-TOKEN header, not an IF header.  Reasoning: If you have multiple 
locks on a resource, then you might specify more than one of them in 
the IF.  How does the server know then which one to renew?

>Based on all that, an UNLOCK with an unknown locktoken (well, unknown on
>that resource) will generate a 400.
>If the UNLOCK contains an If: header, and the assertion(s) in the If: header
>fail, then you'll get a 412. If the If: header fails *and* you have a bad
>locktoken, then you'll get either a 400 or a 412 based on various internal
>conditions (specifically: a 400 if the resource has no locks, a 412 if the
>resource has locks but the If: assertion(s) fail).

So consider the request

UNLOCK /url ...
LOCK-TOKEN: <some-lock-token>
IF: <some-lock-token>

If I have the resource locked with <some-lock-token>, this will 
succeed.  If I've lost the lock and noone else has relocked, then I 
get a 400.  But if I've lost the lock and someone else has locked, 
then I get a 412.  This seems like an unnecessary assymetry, and 
confusing for a client.

Putting this another way, I'm arguing that I should *always* get a 
412 in this situation, whether or not I specify the IF header. 
Because ultimately what's going on is exactly that the LOCK-TOKEN 
header is claiming the same thing that an IF header would: that I 
have this lock!  If I don't, then I should get a 412.

>  > In this particular case, the spec is very clear in section 7.6 that
>>  all methods which "interact with" (interpreted as "change") a
>  > write-locked resource must include an IF header specifying the lock
>>  token.
>I can understand how it can be read that way, but disagree with it. I don't
>see an UNLOCK as changing the resource. The UNLOCK will alter some live
>properties, but live props are defined as changeable at any time, so I don't
>see them as "part of" the resource.

To see that UNLOCK changes the resource, consider a lock-null 
resource.  Unlocking it makes it go away.  (I can come up with other 
examples, but that's the one that requires the least context.)

>  > If the lock token is missing, they are to get a 412 (since
>>  it's an IF).
>Not entirely true. The If: header doesn't have to make an assertion on the
>resource identified by the Request-URI. The locktoken present in the If:
>header might not be on the requested resource, it might be on something else
>altogether. Thus, the If: header could pass, but none of the locktokens
>mentioned in the If: header are present on the requested resource.

And the spec mandates that a 412 should be returned in exactly that 
case.  The spec is saying that if a resource is locked then you 
*must* present the token that locks that resource in order to modify 
it.  It's not saying you get a 412 because the IF fails, it's saying 
you get a 412 because the precondition that you specify the lock 
token has failed.  To see this, suppose I've locked a resource /url 
and gotten <some-token> back.  If I execute

PUT /url ...
IF: (NOT <some-other-lock-token>)

then I should get a 412 back.  Not because the IF failed (it hasn't), 
but because I haven't presented <some-token> in an IF.

>  > Unfortunately, the example for UNLOCK does not show any
>>  such IF header, so presumably the LOCK-TOKEN header is supposed to be
>>  doing double duty here (both specifying what to unlock and specifying
>>  the required precondition for every "interacting" method).
>The Lock-Token is not specifying a precondition. It is specifying a
>parameter to the UNLOCK method. Only the If: header specifies preconditions
>to the execution of a method.

I "misspoke", sorry.  I shouldn't have said "specifying the required 
precondition" but instead "presenting the lock token as required in 
section 7.6".  But your point about the IF header is interesting, and 
I'm not sure I agree.  I believe my reading of the spec is that "a 
precondition of executing an interacting method against a 
write-locked resource is that the lock token must be presented."  In 
the case of PUT, etc., this precondition is being met by the use of 
an IF header.  In the case of UNLOCK, it's being met by the use of a 
LOCK-TOKEN header.

I believe the function of the IF header is for *clients* to specify 
*additional* preconditions on the execution of a method *other* than 
those mandated by the spec.  In this reading, the use of the IF 
header for presenting a lock token in order to *satisfy* a spec 
precondition is a little confusing, but since such presentation is 
also useful as a client-generated precondition (only do this if I 
still have this lock) it makes sense.

>If the parameter is invalid, then you get a 400.
>>  Note that there's a separate issue here for servers that support
>>  non-exclusive locks and also support write locks.  The issue is that
>>  both LOCK and UNLOCK are clearly "interacting methods" in the sense
>>  of section 7.6,
>I wouldn't say "clearly" :-)

Touche :^).  But see above: I think LOCK and UNLOCK are "arguably" 
such methods.

>>  but UNLOCK is not shown to need an IF header.  If a
>>  server issues a write lock on a resource that has some other kind of
>>  non-exclusive lock on it, then it ought to reject an unlock for that
>>  other kind of lock if the UNLOCK call doesn't specify an IF header
>>  with the token of the write lock.
>The locks do not interact like that. You cannot install a lock that prevents
>another lock from being removed. Locks are about preventing change to the
>body and to (dead and some live) properties.

Sure you can.  The semantics of locks are completely determined by 
the server, as long as they are consistent with the mandated 
semantics of write locks in the spec.

To see this, consider a file system with read locks and write locks, 
where read locks can be upgraded to write locks.  A natural mapping 
for this through a DAV server would be to have separate non-exclusive 
read locks and exclusive write locks.  A user might apply for a 
read-lock and get <some-token>.  Then he applies for a write lock. 
The system upgrades his read lock to a write lock and returns 
<another-token>.  Now it's perfectly OK for the user to release the 
write lock and retain the read lock (which is why they have different 
tokens), but if he tries the natural thing:

UNLOCK /url ...
LOCK-TOKEN: <read-lock>

the system is likely to reply 412 because he needed to say

IF: <write-lock>

so the system would know he was releasing only the read part of the 
lock but knew he still had the write lock.  (And it might well 
*refuse* to release the read lock at all until the write lock was 
gone.)  All of this is completely consistent with the spec, because 
locks are about preventing whatever the server says they should 
prevent (as long as, in the write-lock case, that includes the 
content and dead properties and certain live properties).

>  >...
>>  1. Does UNLOCK require IF header specifying applicable write lock token?
>Adding an issue is certainly fine, but I'd answer this with "no".

I think we agree about this, by the way.  But I'd definitely suggest 
we change LOCK refresh to use LOCK-TOKEN to present the token rather 
than IF.  So I think it's still worth discussing.

>>  2. UNLOCK should return 412 if valid lock token is not supplied as
>I disagree. I believe the current behavior in mod_dav is correct, but am
>certainly willing to listen to why it may be wrong. See above for my
>reasoning about the current behavior.

Thanks for reading this far, then!

Daniel Brotsky, Adobe Systems
tel 408-536-4150, pager 888-461-0237
2-way pager email: <mailto:page-dbrotsky@adobe.com>
Received on Friday, 2 March 2001 20:29:25 UTC

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