webdav minutes as text
Del's message seemed to have attached the minutes as uuencoded data,
and the hypermail software archive doesn't cope with that, so here's
my translation of what was sent:
WEBDAV Meeting Notes
January 27, 28 1997
U.C. Irvine, Irvine CA
An open meeting was held for those interested in the WEBDAV
initiative. The meeting was held on the campus of the University
of California, Irvine. The primary focus of the meeting was to
review and discuss a proposed draft specification.
Chair: Introductions and general remarks.
Web Collections .................. Yaron Goland
WC presented as a mechanism for giving structured response
to an HTTP request that is machine readable, without
breaking older clients. WC is encoded as a set of HTML tags
with some simple semantics.
Question: Why HTML? Why not straight up HTTP?
Answer: Single message type for both "pure" HTTP and HTML
WC data can be
1. referenced - <WCAT rel=foo HREF="anchor">
2. hidden - using HDATA
3. explicit - between <WCDATA> ... </WCDATA> tags
Comment: So you will have to encode binary data? This is
A General Discussion of the Issues Ensues:
Question: Why not use "webmaps" or "sitemaps"?
Answer: WC is the same initiative as "web/site maps". Just the
name has changed.
Question: (Clarification of above question:) So why tinker with
the original "webmap" spec?
Answer: Spec was inadequate.
Comment: This is bad design:
1. WC is a flawed mechanism
2. not good overlap between machine
readable/human readable response
Response: Focus on the object-model. Is it complete? Consistent?
Web Collections are just a convenient vehicle for
expressing the object model; if there is a better way
of expressing the model, we'll use it.
1Hubub: A protracted discussion on the merits/folly of using
HTML to encode an object model for structured HTTP
Chair: Moves to discuss the Structured Response Object Model
independently of encoding.
Response: Motion fails. More discussion as above.
Yaron: Do we all agree that:
1. we need a well defined Structured Response
Object Model and,
2. we should have no dependencies on
incomplete/ongoing work in other working
[A short discussion period on the above points. Editor
senses group general agreement on 1., 2. above,
although no official poll is taken.]
Hierarchical Collections are presented as a special case of
Web Collections, used to support FCS or "directory" like
Light Links (Meta Data) .............. Jim Whitehead
Explanation of link structure (source, dest, type) as an
expression of a binary relation on the cross product
RESOURCE X RESOURCE.
Question: Who manages the link "types" (e.g., registration)?
Answer: Core link types ("core" to implementing WEBDAV) are
defined in the specification. Other "types" owned and
managed various groups (e.g., Dublin Core). Namespace
convention for link types is schema.(schema.type).
Response: Take care! Define namespace requirements for links so
that WEBDAV complies with the "Schema" work group
(Chris Weider, Chair).
Comment: Why be non-extensible w.r.t. the link definition? Allow
other fields to be added to the core fields (source,
Comment: PICS is doing meta-data. The authors would be well
advised to look at the PICS effort.
1 - Shorthand for "unstructured discussion". No disrespect
for the group or the Chair is intended.
The LINK method is presented.
Comment: Method name conflicts with the LINK in HTTP/1.1
Comment: Links as presented are inadequate for annotation.
Question: Are links discoverable/extensible in a robust way? How
does the Schema/Method stuff tie in?
Comment: Look at PICS namespace registration stuff; it may have
good ideas for schema registration.
UNLINK method presented.
Question: Should first rev WEBDAV be dodging
Comment: This link model may not be efficient on the wire (Keith
will write down his concerns on this issue and submit
to the list).
The convenience methods GETLINKS, GETLINKVAL and SETLINKVAL
Question: What identifies a link?
Answer: The triple (source, dest, type) is the unique ID.
Question: Must either source or dest equal the URI of the
resource which contains the link?
Answer: Yes, the authors (somewhat arbitrarily) decreed that
source or dest should equal the URI of the resource
where the link resides.
Response: (Roy) This restriction should be lifted.
The LINKSEARCH Method ............... Yaron Goland
The LINKSEARCH method is briefly presented.
Comment: Scoping rules for search are inadequate.
Comment: Use "agent" rather than "arbiter".
Comment: BNF errors need to be cleaned up.
Comment: Interaction between the resource namespace and links
(which are defined on resources) can be problematical
in a distributes setting.
Comment: BNF should be modified to reflect extensible link
Comment: Design team is shortsighted due to focus on schedule
constraints. Is the team doing its homework? Do the
team members understand the issues? Are the team
members capable of understanding the logical
consequences of their design decisions?
Locking ...................... Steve Carter
The difference between "checkout" (for version control)
versus "lock" (for document repository) is explained. Lock
is intended to control resource "collision"; lock is not an
access control mechanism.
Question: Why can't lock tokens cross "client space" boundaries?
This seems to be an arbitrary decree.
Comment: Range locking as described abuses the HTTP/1.1 notion
of range. Why not address ranges with teir own URI?
Comment: Agrees with comment above. Design team broke its own
rule (WEBDAV acts only URI addressable objects). URI
addressable ranges more compatible with HTTP
philosophy. Also, how do entity tags differ from lock
tokens, functionally speaking?
Comment: What is WEBDAV locking in the context of highly
Hubub: Much discussion over replicated, distributed resources.
Chair: Requests that range locking be taken to the discussion
list, noting the following outstanding issues:
1. locking highly replicated resources,
2. advisory lock vs. exclusive lock,
3. support for "graceful degradation" of
Comment: With respect to above recommendation by chair; the
proper forum for resolving design issues in general is
on the list. IETF is an open forum.
Question: What about "orphaned" lock tokens? Spec should say
something about the conditions that can lead to lost
Email Access to WEBDAV Functionality
Email & WEBDAV ................. Einar Stefferud
Do not ignore mail transport level! Push vs pull models;
mail has some pluses:
1. Latency can work for you
2. Administrative functions - mail more autonomous,
3. Mail is mature, tested technology.
Industry has evolving, Jungian mindset:
1. Computing - no connectivity,
2. Networking - Autonomous homogeneous nodes,
3. Interneteorking - Autonomous heterogeneous nodes,
4. Interworking - Autonomous heterogenous distributed
Version Control .................. Jim Whitehead
Review of "champion" models. Presents the "version tree" as
conceived by the design team, with "default published
version" (dpv), "history" links and "version tree handle".
Comment: Tree handle and the dpv: if we access the dpv through
tree handle for some methods, how do we get to the
Response: Can't use redirect; we get pushback from the Server
Question: Which methods act on dpv via tree handle? Which do not?
Is there consistency here?
Hubub: Extended discussion on what version "control" means in
a distributed environment.
Chair: Directs that a discussion of Version Control in a
distributed, replicated environment be established on
Question: Does the design accommodate "derivitaive" work?
Question: Where is the definition of "history" in the spec? Also,
"history" may itself be a distributed object; does spec
recognize this possibility?
Comment: Spec assumes that server enforces a version control
model. Shouldn't the client be asserting the model? At
least some provision should be made for client setting
policy rather than assume server always does so.
Comment: Design should support derivative work in widely
distributed context (i.e. design should support
derivative work with client asserting policy).
Comment: The concept of "history", dpv, indeed much of the spec
assumes central point of control. Monolithic thinking
defeats the long-term vision of "Interworking". Don't
be seduced into taking the easy way of server-centric,
single point of control - the way of the Dark Side.
Comment: Think in terms of "authoritative" vs "non-
authoritative" sources with respect to where things
reside (e.g., "Clear Case").
Comment: Interoperability is the IETF gold standard by which to
measure the elements of any protocol. In this case,
provision should be made for the client to set version
policy, and it should be recognized that the "tree" may
well be a highly distributed object with many locally
idiosyncratic representations. The tree might not
reside in a single, absolute reference frame; but the
client should be able to assert any logically
consistent framework from which to view the tree (in
whole or part)that can be expressed as a "well formed"
Comment: WEBDAV should not exclude server/server transactions.
Fine if WEBDAV doesn't define such transactions.
Comment: Design team should focus on the needs of the Internet
when writing spec; may help shift emphasis to
client/interoperability. Why not split the spec? A
monolithic spec leads to monolithic design!
The CHECKOUT method is presented. Discovery of method
capability is deferred to a later presentation.
Question: Checkout function is too complicated. Must one do
discovery? Seems to require three-step procedure.
Answer: One need only ask once for server support of method
Question: "Derived-From", wasn't this supposed to be addressable?
What happend here?
Question: Where is "UNCHECKOUT"?
Chair: Leads a discussion on whether to seek official status
as a working group with the IETF, the W3C, or both.
Chair: Moves for a vote on the following: Shall WEBDAV proceed
to seek IETF working group status with all due speed?
Response: Motion seconded. The Ayes have it.
Chair: Moves that the group take ten minutes discussing the
following proposal: Should we split the draft spec?
Response: Motion seconded. Passed.
Much discussion of pros and cons. An emerging consensus
to re-evaluate the situation when IETF working group
status is attained.
Chair: When should we schedule WEBDAV work group meeting at
Response: General response indicates Monday morning would be
Chair: Directs editor to submit current draft to IETF asap.
Chair: Directs editor to post meeting notes asap, with above
directive taking precedence.
Namespace Manipulation ......... Asad Faizi, Del Jensen
Asad briefly presents COPY MOVE etc.
Comment: The statement "byte move or anything else" should be
"byte move and anything else".
Comment: Discoverability is fine, but how can a client enforce
Comment: Having different things happen at different servers is
a recipe for disaster.
Hubub: On the meaning of the phrase "byte for byte copy", much
discussion. What is COPY in Web context? The phrase
"byte for byte" not sufficiently abstract. Should be
phrased without reference to encoding or representation
of the resource data. People who cannot grasp this
abstraction have no business writing the specification.
Comment: Change the name of COPYHEAD.
Comment: WEBDAV header names should not mimic other header
names. Too confusing, even if context resolves outright
Comment: Should discuss on the list whether COPY/MOVEHEAD should
be in spec.
[Ed. Note: The Chair also took notes on Namespace:]
The methods copyhead and movehead also elicited some
discussion. The rationale for these methods was stated
as being a way for clients to discover, before the
method is performed, the consequences of a copy or a
move. Participants pushed back on this, stating that
all that was needed was a way for clients to determine
what happened after a method was performed. The need to
discover ahead of time which links would be
copied/moved was also raised, and there was some
discussion on why predefined links might change from
one part of the namespace to another.
[Ed. Note: End of Chair's Notes on Namespace]
UNDELETE, DESTROY .................. Del Jensen
Brief overview of semantics.
Comment: HTTP/1.1 DELETE semantics imply all access to an object
via HTTP is removed. Therefore UNDELETE-ing a DELETEd
URI does violence to the HTTP object model.
Hubub: Much discussion on UNDELETE and destroy, at the end of
which there appears to be an emerging consensus that
UNDELETE and DESTROY are not appropriate WEBDAV
Lauren: Informs the group that the XML draft spec is available
[Ed. Note: The Chair kindly took notes on the following
Method Capability Discovery ............ Yaron Goland
Yaron gave an overview on his proposal (which he stated had
not been previously agreed to by the design team) for method
capability (interface) discovery, which he termed "schema
Comments: Participants noted that the functionality described for
capability discovery in DAV was similar to the proposed
functionality for the Protocol Extension Protocol (PEP)
for HTTP, and there was a proposal to remove the
capability discovery mechanism from the WebDAV
specification and work it into a general-purpose HTTP
One participant also noted that there was a similar set
of functionality being proposed by the Internet
Printing group. Another observation made about the
capability discovery mechanism was that it shared some
similarities to an RPC-type system, and was half of an
interface definition language. Participants questioned
whether this level of generality was needed. This then
led into a high-level discussion on the need for a
capability discovery mechanism.
What came out during the discussion was that the design
team had assumed a model where clients would have to
discover the capabilities of a server, then adapt
themselves to the current capabilities of the server.
Several participants stressed that a better model to
adopt would be to have simple clients able to operate
with a variety of back ends (with a minimum of
adaptation). Several participants also noted that by
having so many different functionality options, it was
difficult to determine the core DAV functions that all
clients can depend on.
At the end of this session, there was a poll of opinion
across the participants, where each participant was
able to express their opinion on capability discovery.
The sentiment exposed by this was that the capability
discovery mechanism in the current specification is too
complex, and too powerful for WebDAV needs.
Furthermore, the sentiment was expressed that it would
be good if the WebDAV specification could bemodified so
that capability discovery isn't necessary at all.
End Of Meeting