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RE: DASL and DMA

From: Fay, Chuck <CFay@filenet.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 18:18:55 -0800
Message-ID: <72B1992276A9D111A20E00805FEAC96D1C4317@CM-EXPO1>
To: Raj Sarasa <rajs@cybes.com>, www-webdav-dasl@w3.org
Raj,

On Friday, February 27, 1998, you wrote:
> While WebDAV and DMA could be complementary,
> I think the same can't be said of DASL and DMA. By
> reading the charter and messages in this mailing list, it
> seems to me that DASL and DMA are trying to address
> same issues in more-or-less same space.
> 
> Can anyone enlighten me how DASL is better (or different)
> than DMA from functional point of view.

Thanks for your question.  As Chair of the DMA Technical Committee, and
a participant in the DASL BOF meeting earlier this month, let me take a
cut at your question.  The short answer is that many of us involved with
both initiatives expect that WebDAV, DASL, and DMA will work together
very well to solve related but different problems.

This is not an accident, as there is a history of collaboration between
DMA and WebDAV (and now DASL), with the intent to make these standards
efforts compatible and complementary.  There is an overlap in the
organizations involved in DMA and WebDAV/DASL.  Some organizations send
the same representatives to the meetings of both groups.  The WebDAV and
DMA meetings last July were even arranged to be held on consecutive days
at the same location, to facilitate face-to-face interactions among all
the participants in these two efforts.

WebDAV is focused on defining extensions to the HTTP protocol to allow
Web authoring tools -- like Microsoft FrontPage and Netscape Navigator
Gold -- to use standard mechanisms when storing or updating Web server
content.  These extensions will eventually cover versioning Web server
documents, locking and unlocking them, associating properties with them,
organizing them into collections, moving or copying them within a Web
server name space, controlling access to them, and (with DASL) searching
for them based on their properties and content.

The Document Management Alliance (DMA) is an AIIM Task Force.  Its
charter is to develop a uniform programming model enabling
enterprise-wide interoperability among document-oriented application
programs and document management systems (DMSs) from different vendors.
The primary product of DMA is a specification for an integration model
and an API by which applications and services from a rich variety of
sources can integrate uniformly into a seamless document-management
solution.  DMA covers a full set of document management capabilities,
including all of WebDAV in more depth plus cross-repository searching,
renditions (i.e., alternate formats for the same document), and branched
and threaded versioning.  DMA also provides a complete facility at the
API level for dynamic discovery of document repositories and their
capabilities, such as document classes, document properties, and search
operators.

So how do WebDAV and DMA compare with each other?  The first thing to
note is that WebDAV will solve an Internet interoperability problem at
the network protocol level between Web clients and Web servers, while
DMA is solving an application programming interface interoperability
problem between document-oriented applications and document management
systems.  The second distinction is that the WebDAV protocol enables a
limited set of document-management-like functions over the Internet,
while the DMA API covers the broader set of capabilities typically found
in leading document management systems.

How will WebDAV and DMA work together?  WebDAV will provide a standard
path from Web authoring tools to documents on Web servers supporting the
WebDAV HTTP extensions.  WebDAV has positioned itself architecturally so
that it is independent of the architecture of any underlying document
management system or repository, and can work with any of them.  Hence
WebDAV is designed so that its operations can be mapped on the Web
server to a broad spectrum of repositories, ranging from simple file
systems, to document management systems, to configuration management
systems.  If a WebDAV-enabled Web server is also "DMA-enabled", that is,
if it can access documents stored on local or remote DMA-enabled
document repositories, WebDAV can provide a standard path and set of
authoring and versioning features that are mapped by the Web server to
any DMA-enabled repository.  DMA extends this to cross-repository
searching, effectively erasing the artificial boundaries between
document repositories in an enterprise.  This is a very powerful
combination, as it will provide uniform Internet access to a rich and
uniform set of versioning, foldering, renditioning, browsing, and (with
DASL) searching capabilities across document management systems and
other repositories from multiple vendors.  Together, the two standards
should solve the problem of "islands of information" that previously
could be accessed only via an awkward array of dissimilar and isolated
proprietary clients and proprietary Web server extensions.

In order for WebDAV to be combined with DMA in this way, it's important
that the mapping from the WebDAV protocol extensions to the DMA API be
straightforward and clean.  That's why the two groups have been
collaborating, with success so far, in my opinion.

--Chuck Fay
FileNET Corporation, 3565 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
phone:  (714) 966-3513, fax:  (714) 966-3288, email:  cfay@filenet.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Raj Sarasa [SMTP:rajs@cybes.com]
> Sent:	Friday, February 27, 1998 2:43 AM
> To:	www-webdav-dasl@w3.org
> Subject:	DASL and DMA
> 
> I following paragraph is an excerpt from DMA
> homepage.
> 
> -------------------------------------------------------
> In reality, WebDAV and DMA are extremely
> complementary. DMA creates interoperability of web
> servers with a variety of document repositories. WebDAV
> creates interoperability of the tools used to author and
> revise web pages. Both have the effect of increasing
> openness and interoperability for web-based applications.
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> 
> While WebDAV and DMA could be complementary,
> I think the same can't be said of DASL and DMA. By
> reading the charter and messages in this mailing list, it
> seems to me that DASL and DMA are trying to address
> same issues in more-or-less same space.
> 
> Can anyone enlighten me how DASL is better (or different)
> than DMA from functional point of view.
> 
> Raj
Received on Friday, 27 February 1998 21:20:33 GMT

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