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rfc2518-bis-05 issues (part 4)

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 22:18:19 +0100
Message-ID: <3FA1801B.7070008@gmx.de>
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org

This is a summary of either new issues or issues with changes between 
drafts 04 and 05.

05-C01 media types

Looking at the current W3 TAG discussion about XML media types we may 
want to consider deprecating "text/xml" and making "application/xml" a 

05-C02 "illformed"

Section 8.1.1


05-C03 OPTIONS *

9.1 contains the new paragraph:

    This header must also appear on responses to OPTIONS requests to the
    special '*' Request-URI as defined in HTTP/1.1.  In this case it
    means that the repository supports the named features in at least
    some internal namespaces.

1) I don't remember this being discussed anywhere.
2) This is impossible to implement with the Java Servlet API, so it's 
unlikely to be implemented
3) This clearly contradicts RFC2616, sectopn 9.2 

"If the Request-URI is an asterisk ("*"), the OPTIONS request is 
intended to apply to the server in general rather than to a specific 
resource. Since a server's communication options typically depend on the 
resource, the "*" request is only useful as a "ping" or "no-op" type of 
method; it does nothing beyond allowing the client to test the 
capabilities of the server. For example, this can be used to test a 
proxy for HTTP/1.1 compliance (or lack thereof)."

05-C04 DAV request header

Thanks for adding it, however I think we need to do some more work:

    As an optional request header, this header allows the client to
    advertise compliance with named features.  Clients need not
    advertise 1, 2 or bis because a WebDAV server currently doesn't need
    that information to decide how to respond to requests defined in
    this specification or in HTTP/1.1.  However, future extensions may
    define client compliance codes.  When used as a request header, the
    DAV header MAY affect caching so this header SHOULD NOT be used on
    all GET requests.

1) Just say generally that only those feature names are allowed where 
the spec explicitly defines what it means (in a request!). For 
RFC2518bis this means that none of the feature names defined here may be 

2) "When used as a request header, the DAV header MAY affect caching so 
this header SHOULD NOT be used on all GET requests." - this is 
misleading. Either it is allowed on GET, or it isn't. If the request 
header affects a cacheable GET result, the origin server MUST specify 
that in the "Vary" header.

05-C05 Multistatus format

Section 12:

    When a Multi-Status body is returned in response to a PROPFIND or
    another request with a single scope, all URLs appearing in the body
    must be equal to or inside the request-URI, thus the URLs MAY be
    absolute or MAY be relative.

What is a "single" scope. Ans what does it mean for a URI to be "inside" 

It continues saying:

    When a Multi-Status body is returned in response to MOVE or COPY,
    relative URIs resolution is ambiguous (the request had both a source
    and a destination URL).  Thus, URLs appearing in the responses to
    MOVE or COPY SHOULD be absolute and fully-qualified URLs.

What is a "fully-qualified" URL? If this is meant to say that the URI, 
when relative, MUST start with a "/", then it should be more clear about 

05-C06 12.1 3xx handling

    The 300-303, 305 and 307 responses defined in HTTP 1.1 normally take
    a Location header to indicate where the client should make the
    request.  The Multi-Status response syntax as defined in RFC2518 did
    not allow for the Location header information to be included in an
    unambiguous way, so servers MAY choose not to use these status codes
    in Multi-Status responses. If a clients receives this status code in
    Multi-Status, the client MAY reissue the request to the individual
    resource, so that the server can issue a response with a Location
    header for each resource.

    Additionally, this specification defines a new element that servers
    MAY use in the response element to provide a location value in
    Multi-Status (see section 13.29).
    I think we can improve that:

- "not to use" -- be clear what this means -- is it using a "200" status 
element instead?

- when the server chooses not to return the 3xx code, should it include 
the location element nevertheless (I think it should)

05-C07 XML Extensibility (section 13)

I still think we should make statements about extensibility once. The 
current notation (adding verbose text to each and every element 
description) just makes the spec less readable and harder to maintain. 
Note that already the descriptions are partly broken (for instance in 

In particular:

    Extensibility: MAY be extended with additional child elements or
             attributes which SHOULD be ignored if not recognized.


05-C08 propfind DTD


    <!ELEMENT propfind (prop | dead-props | propname | allprop) >

Should be:

   <!ELEMENT propfind (allprop | propname | (prop, dead-props?)) >
   <!ELEMENT dead-props EMPTY >

05-C09 Properties

    Some property values are calculated by the server and it is not
    appropriate to allow client changes, thus they are protected.
    Existing server implementations already have different sets of
    RFC2518 properties protected, but clients can have some expectations
    which properties are normally protected.  The value of a protected
    property may not be changed even by a user with permission to edit
    other properties.  The value of an unprotected property may be
    changed by some users with appropriate permissions.

This definition seems to slightly differ from what RFC3253 says. That 
seems to be a bad idea (here is seems to identify "calculated" with 
"protected"; in RFC3253 there's a clear difference between "protected" 
and "computed").

05-C10 Properties (COPY/MOVE behaviour)

This somehow combines statements about how the property behaves upon 
COPY and MOVE (good) and some statements about what happens in "remote" 
operations. I think the latter is very confusing. Either a copy is done 
using COPY, or it isn't. If a server decides to emulate a copy operation 
using PROPPATCH and PUT, the standard considerations for these methods 

05-C11 "mandatory" properties

This is actually an old issue. For instance:

    Description: The creationdate property should be defined on all DAV
             compliant resources.  If present, it contains a timestamp
             of the moment when the resource was created (i.e., the
             moment it had non-null state).

Basically this says that the property should be there, unless it isn't. 
Just say that it's optional in these cases.

<green/>bytes GmbH -- http://www.greenbytes.de -- tel:+492512807760
Received on Thursday, 30 October 2003 16:18:26 UTC

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