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Updated charter

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@rome.ICS.UCI.EDU>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 15:09:39 -0800
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
Message-ID: <9611201509.aa04104@paris.ics.uci.edu>

Enclosed is v0.3 of the charter for the Working Group on Distributed
Authoring and Versioning on the World Wide Web (WEBDAV).  Following
the group's desire that we pursue both IETF and W3C sponsorship, I
have sent this charter off to the IETF Application Area Directors
for feedback.

Your feedback is also solicited, especially with respect to the
schedule, and the scoping of the group's activities.

An HTML version of this specification is available at:



- Jim Whitehead


WWW Distributed Authoring and Versioning (webdav) Charter

Draft, v0.3, November 20, 1996


   * Jim Whitehead, <ejw@ics.uci.edu>

Document Editors

   * Protocol Specification: Del Jensen, <dcjensen@novell.com>
   * Requirements: David Durand, <dgd@cs.bu.edu>
   * Scenarios: Ora Lassila, <lassila@w3.org>

Mailing List Information

   * General Discussion: <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
   * To Subscribe: <w3c-dist-auth-request@w3.org>
        o Send message with subject "subscribe"
   * Archived: http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/Archives/Public/w3c-dist-auth/

Description and Purpose of Working Group

The HTTP protocol contains functionality which enables the editing of web
content at a remote location, without direct access to the storage media via
an operating system. This capability is exploited by several existing HTML
distributed authoring tools, and by a growing number of mainstream
applications (e.g. word processors) which allow users to write (publish)
their work to an HTTP server. To date, experience from the HTML authoring
tools has shown they are unable to meet their user's needs using the
facilities of the HTTP protocol. The consequence of this is either postponed
introduction of distributed authoring capability, or the addition of
nonstandard extensions to the HTTP protocol. These extensions, developed in
isolation, are not interoperable.

The broad goal of the working group is to enable distributed web authoring
tools to be broadly interoperable, while supporting user needs.

After analyzing the functional needs of several organizations, this working
group has developed requirements for distributed authoring and versioning.
These requirements encompass the following capabilities, which shall be
considered by this working group:


   * Locking (write, read, no-modify, partial resource locking)
   * Copy
   * Move/Rename
   * Resource redirection (e.g. 3xx response codes)
   * Containers (creation, modification, container-specific semantics)
   * Attributes (creation, access, modification, query, naming)
   * Relationships
   * Notification of intent to edit
   * Destroy, Delete, Undelete
   * Access control
   * Use of existing authentication schemes
   * Unprocessed source retrieval
   * Informing proxies of an action's impact
   * Versioning:
        o Checkin/Checkout
        o History graph
        o Differencing
        o Automatic Merging
        o Naming and accessing resource versions

Further information on these requirements can be found in the documents,
"Requirements on HTTP for Distributed Content Editing" and "Function
Requirements and Framework for Versioning on the WWW." While the scope of
activity of this working group may seem rather broad, in fact much of the
functionality under consideration is well understood, and has been
previously considered. This working group will leverage off of previous work
when it is applicable. Discussion of the security issues concerning
distributed authoring and versioning are essential to the creation of a
protocol which implements this functionality.

Many decisions have been made to reduce the scope of effort of this working
group. It is the intent of this working group to avoid the inclusion of the
following functionality, unless it proves impossible to create a useful set
of distributed authoring capabilities without it:


   * Definition of core attribute sets, beyond those attributes necessary
     for the implementation of distributed authoring and versioning
   * Creation of new authentication schemes
   * HTTP server to server communication protocols
   * Disconnected operation
   * Distributed authoring via non-HTTP protocols
   * Implementation of functionality by non-origin proxies


The final output of this working group is expected to be three documents:

   * A scenarios document, which gives a series of short descriptions of how
     distributed authoring and versioning functionality can be used,
     typically from an end-user perspective. Ora Lassila, Nokia, currently
     visiting with the World Wide Web Consortium, is editor of this
   * A requirements document, which describes the high-level functional
     requirements for distributed authoring and versioning, including
     rationale. David Durand, Dynamic Diagrams, and a Ph.D. student at
     Boston University, is editor of this document.
   * A protocol specification, which describes new HTTP methods and headers,
     along with MIME media types to implement the distributed authoring and
     versioning requirements. Del Jensen, Novell, is editor of this


Due to schedule pressure by members from organizations who are expected to
provide influential and widely deployed implementations of the protocol
specification, the working group schedule is somewhat aggressive, but still
realistic. As this working group has been working towards its goal since
early 1996, this schedule begins in the middle of this working group's
activities. As of the writing of this schedule, there were currently two
proposals for how to perform distributed authoring and versioning, and one
proposal on how to perform distributed versioning on the Web. The schedule
below shows these three documents being merged into one protocol
specification. There are also currently two requirements documents, one
describing distributed authoring requirements, and one describing
distributed versioning requirements. The schedule also shows these two
documents being merged.

Nov 96
     (Scenarios) Submit distributed authoring and versioning scenarios
     document as Internet Draft.
Nov 96
     (Specification) Submit all initial distributed authoring and versioning
     specifications as Internet Drafts
Dec 96
     (Charter) Finalize working group charter. Receive official sponsorship
     by IETF.
Dec 96
     (Specification) Converge on a single draft distributed authoring and
     versioning specification. Submit an intermediate draft as an Internet
Jan 97
     (Requirements) Create merged distributed authoring and versioning
     requirements document. Submit as Internet Draft.
Jan 97
     (Meeting, Specification) Hold a working group meeting to review and
     refine the current protocol specification.
Feb 97
     (Scenarios) Perform final revisions to scenarios document. Submit as
     informational RFC.
Mar 97
     (Specification) Complete revisions to distributed authoring and
     versioning protocol specification. Submit as Internet Draft.
Mar 97
     (Meeting, Specification, Requirements) Hold a working group meeting to
     perform a review of the protocol specification and an requirements
May 97
     (Requirements) Create final version of distributed authoring and
     versioning requirements document. Submit as informational RFC.
Jun 97
     (Specification) Complete revisions to distributed authoring and
     versioning specification based on implementation experience. Submit as
     standards track RFC.
Received on Wednesday, 20 November 1996 18:16:24 UTC

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