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Re: Issue 181, DAV:error

From: Geoffrey M Clemm <geoffrey.clemm@us.ibm.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2006 19:33:39 -0500
To: " webdav" <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF24D20364.86151F4D-ON85257130.00027FCB-85257130.0003128D@us.ibm.com>
I strongly agree with all of Julian's points below.

It was my understanding that the consensus was to adopt the condition
code approach taken by all of the other specs, and so these are
remnants of the alternative "error code" approach that was rejected by 
the working group.

Cheers,
Geoff

Julian wrote on 03/12/2006 07:36:01 AM:
> 
> Following up on issue 181 
> (<http://ietf.cse.ucsc.edu:8080/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=181>), which is 

> about preconditions/postconditions and the DAV:error element, mainly in 
> Section 16.
> 
> IMHO, the spec as it is today is really in a bad shape, both from an 
> editorial point of view, and regarding correctness/preciseness.
> 
> The main issues are:
> 
> 1) General confusion about whether we're talking about condition codes 
> or errors. This is a left-over from early drafts where the RFC3253 was 
> borrowed without actually using it's semantics. As a guideline, every 
> time the spec says "error code" it's likely to be incorrect, because it 
> either should say "status code" (this is the numerical status code 
> defined in RFC2616, and "status" != "error") or "condition code" (that's 

> what we use for pre/postconditions).
> 
> 2) Spec organization: there's no structure within Section 16, which 
> makes it extremely hard to read, and impossible to directly reference 
> pre/postcondition names. Right now, they don't appear in the TOC nor in 
> an index (because we don't have one; another issue). See for instance 
> 
<http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-webdav-rfc2518bis-14.txt#page-107>).
> 
> 3) Mostly, the individual condition descriptions do not define a 
> precondition or a postcondition, but instead talk about error 
> marshalling. This is  inconsistent with the usage in all other specs.
> 
> 4) Condition descriptions are given with an HTTP status code labeled 
> "Used with". Again, this is misleading (a precondition/postcondition is 
> independant of a specific status, and in general the status may vary for 

> the same condition). Also, the same information is already provided in 
> the method definitions; yet another useless repetition of information 
> (with the risk t be inconsistent).
> 
> 5) Providing DTD fragments for error conditions that are EMPTY is just 
> distracting; please restrict them to the cases where they actually are 
> needed.
> 
> Some of these issues have been discussed before on teleconferences, see 
> BugZilla issues 220 
> (<http://ietf.cse.ucsc.edu:8080/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=220>), 221 
> (<http://ietf.cse.ucsc.edu:8080/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=221>), 222 
> (<http://ietf.cse.ucsc.edu:8080/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=222>) and 223 
> (<http://ietf.cse.ucsc.edu:8080/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=223>), but it 
> doesn't seem I've been able to convince the participants of the calls. 
> So to those who agree, PLEASE SPEAK UP.
> 
> Also see 
> <http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/draft-reschke-webdav-rfc2518bis-
> latest.html#rfc.section.16> 
> for a proposal how all problems with this section could be resolved.
> 
> Below is a set of proposed changes that attempts to address the main 
> problems with terminology.
> 
> 
> 
> Section 8.7., para. 1:
> OLD:
> 
>      HTTP and WebDAV did not use the bodies of most error responses for
>      machine-parsable information until DeltaV introduced a mechanism to
>      include more specific information in the body of an error response
>      (section 1.6 of [RFC3253]).  The error body mechanism is 
appropriate
>      to use with any error response that may take a body but does not
>      already have a body defined.  The mechanism is particularly
>      appropriate when a status code can mean many things (for example, 
400
>      Bad Request can mean required headers are missing, headers are
>      incorrectly formatted, or much more).  This error body mechanism is
>      covered in Section 16
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      HTTP and WebDAV did not use the bodies of most error responses for
>      machine-parsable information until DeltaV introduced a mechanism to
>      include more specific information in the body of an error response
>      (Section 1.6 of [RFC3253]).  The error body mechanism is 
appropriate
>      to use with any error response that may take a body but does not
>      already have a body defined.  The mechanism is particularly
>      appropriate when a status code can mean many things (for example, 
400
>      Bad Request can mean required headers are missing, headers are
>      incorrectly formatted, or much more).  This error body mechanism is
>      covered in Section 16.
> 
> 
> Section 9.1.1., para. 2:
> OLD:
> 
>      403 Forbidden - A server MAY reject PROPFIND requests on 
collections
>      with depth header of "Infinity", in which case it SHOULD use this
>      error with the precondition code 'propfind-finite-depth' inside the
>      error body.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      403 Forbidden (with the condition code 'propfind-finite-depth'
>      defined in Section 16) - A server MAY reject PROPFIND requests on
>      collections with depth header of "Infinity".
> 
> Section 9.2., para. 10:
> OLD:
> 
>      403 (Forbidden): The client has attempted to set a read-only
>      property, such as DAV:getetag.  If returning this error, the server
>      SHOULD use the precondition code 'cannot-modify-protected-property'
>      inside the response body.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      403 (Forbidden) (with the condition code 'cannot-modify-protected-
>      property' defined in Section 16) - The client has attempted to set 
a
>      protected property, such as DAV:getetag.
> 
> 
> Section 14.5., para. 2:
> OLD:
> 
>      Purpose:   Error responses, particularly 403 Forbidden and 409
>         Conflict, sometimes need more information to indicate what went
>         wrong.  When an error response contains a body in WebDAV, the 
body
>         is in XML with the root element 'error'.  The 'error' element
>         SHOULD include an XML element with the code of a failed
>         precondition or postcondition.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      Purpose:   Error responses, particularly 403 Forbidden and 409
>         Conflict, sometimes need more information to indicate what went
>         wrong.  When an error response contains a body in WebDAV, the 
body
>         is in XML with the root element 'error'.  The 'error' element
>         SHOULD include an XML element with the name of a failed
>         precondition or postcondition.
> 
> 
> Section 16., para. 1:
> OLD:
> 
>      As introduced in section Section 8.7, extra information on error
>      conditions can be included in the body of many status responses.
>      This section makes requirements on the use of the error body
>      mechanism and introduces a number of precondition and postcondition
>      codes.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      As introduced in Section 8.7, extra information on error conditions
>      can be included in the body of many status responses.  This section
>      makes requirements on the use of the error body mechanism and
>      introduces a number of precondition and postcondition codes.
> 
> 
> Section 16., para. 3:
> OLD:
> 
>      Each precondition and postcondition has a unique XML element
>      associated with it.  In a 207 Multi-Status response, the XML 
element
>      MUST appear inside an 'error' element in the appropriate 'propstat 
or
>      'response' element depending on whether the condition applies to 
one
>      or more properties or the resource as a whole.  In all other error
>      responses, the XML element MUST be returned as the child of a top-
>      level 'error' element in the response body, unless otherwise
>      negotiated by the request, along with an appropriate response 
status.
>      The most common response status codes are 403 (Forbidden) if the
>      request should not be repeated because it will always fail, and 409
>      (Conflict) if it is expected that the user might be able to resolve
>      the conflict and resubmit the request.  The 'error' element MAY
>      contain child elements with specific error information and MAY be
>      extended with any custom child elements.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      Each precondition and postcondition has a unique XML element
>      associated with it.  In a 207 Multi-Status response, the XML 
element
>      MUST appear inside an 'error' element in the appropriate 'propstat 
or
>      'response' element depending on whether the condition applies to 
one
>      or more properties or to the resource as a whole.  In all other 
error
>      responses, the XML element MUST be returned as the child of a top-
>      level 'error' element in the response body, unless otherwise
>      negotiated by the request, along with an appropriate response 
status.
>      The most common response status codes are 403 (Forbidden) if the
>      request should not be repeated because it will always fail, and 409
>      (Conflict) if it is expected that the user might be able to resolve
>      the conflict and resubmit the request.  The 'error' element MAY
>      contain child elements with specific error information and MAY be
>      extended with any custom child elements.
> 
> 
> Section 16., para. 4:
> OLD:
> 
>      This mechanism does not take the place of using a correct numeric
>      error code as defined here or in HTTP, because the client MUST 
always
>      be able to take a reasonable course of action based only on the
>      numeric error.  However, it does remove the need to define new
>      numeric error codes.  The machine-readable codes used for this
>      purpose are XML elements classified as preconditions and
>      postconditions, so naturally any group defining a new error code 
can
>      use their own namespace.  As always, the "DAV:" namespace is 
reserved
>      for use by IETF-chartered WebDAV working groups.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      This mechanism does not take the place of using a correct numeric
>      status code as defined here or in HTTP, because the client MUST
>      always be able to take a reasonable course of action based only on
>      the numeric status code.  However, it does remove the need to 
define
>      new numeric status codes.  The machine-readable codes used for this
>      purpose are XML elements classified as preconditions and
>      postconditions, so naturally any group defining a new condition 
code
>      can use their own namespace.  As always, the "DAV:" namespace is
>      reserved for use by IETF-chartered WebDAV working groups.
> 
> 
> Section 16., para. 5:
> OLD:
> 
>      A server supporting this specification SHOULD use the XML error
>      whenever a precondition or postcondition defined in this document 
is
>      violated.  For error conditions not specified in this document, the
>      server MAY simply choose an appropriate numeric status and leave 
the
>      response body blank.  However, a server MAY instead use a custom
>      error code and other supporting text, because even when clients do
>      not automatically recognize error codes they can be quite useful in
>      interoperability testing and debugging.
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      A server supporting this specification SHOULD use the XML error
>      whenever a precondition or postcondition defined in this document 
is
>      violated.  For error conditions not specified in this document, the
>      server MAY simply choose an appropriate numeric status and leave 
the
>      response body blank.  However, a server MAY instead use a custom
>      condition code and other supporting text, because even when clients
>      do not automatically recognize status codes they can be quite 
useful
>      in interoperability testing and debugging.
> 
> 
> Section 16., para. 6:
> OLD:
> 
>      Example - Response with precondition code"
>      >>Response
> 
> NEW:
> 
>      Example - Response with precondition code
>      >>Response
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Best regards, Julian
> 
Received on Monday, 13 March 2006 00:33:52 GMT

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