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RE: WebDAV Resources

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@cse.ucsc.edu>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 10:31:13 -0700
To: <shadgar@cs.bris.ac.uk>, "WebDAV" <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
> By definition of WebDAV in RFC 2518, it that possible to consider a
> whole database as a resource? Or the resource in this document just
> stands for files and directories.

The concept of a "resource" is intentionally loose. Basically, a resource is
an abstraction. Since the notion of a database is an abstraction, just as a
cell in a database is too, either could be considered resources. A resource
can be mapped to a URI, URN, or URL.

So, if you write a server implementation that maps an entire database as a
resource, and maps it to a URL, then yes, it is possible to consider a
database as a whole resource. Similarly, if you write a server
implementation that maps individual database cells to a resource, then
assigns each cell a distinct URL, then it is possible to consider a database
cell as a Web resource.

WebDAV defines operations for working with Web resources via HTTP, so the
effect of a DAV operation on the underlying repository depends on the
mapping of resources to abstractions in that repository.

The "official" definition of a resource can be found in RFC 2396:


         A resource can be anything that has identity.  Familiar
         examples include an electronic document, an image, a service
         (e.g., "today's weather report for Los Angeles"), and a
         collection of other resources.  Not all resources are network
         "retrievable"; e.g., human beings, corporations, and bound
         books in a library can also be considered resources.
         The resource is the conceptual mapping to an entity or set of
         entities, not necessarily the entity which corresponds to that
         mapping at any particular instance in time.  Thus, a resource
         can remain constant even when its content---the entities to
         which it currently corresponds---changes over time, provided
         that the conceptual mapping is not changed in the process.

- Jim
Received on Wednesday, 18 July 2001 13:33:54 UTC

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