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Re: Clarification

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 16:22:31 -0700
Message-Id: <af8ed147120210045d4d@[]>
To: Jon Radoff <jradoff@novalink.com>, w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
At 6:28 PM 5/1/97, Jon Radoff wrote:
>One area I'd like some clarification on (unfortunately I got into
>WEBDAV a little late) is where the protocol is "positioned."  The
>IETF description of the WG talks about developing new HTTP methods,

Development of new HTTP methods and headers has been the technical approach
favored by this group since the Palo Alto meeting (see
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~ejw/paloalto/), where it became clear that server
implementors overwhelmingly favored a method-based approach over an
RPC-like system using POST with parameters in the body.

>A concern I would have would be relying on Web server vendors to
>provide the necessary capabilities "soon";  it should be possible to
>implement the necessary protocols through (at a minimum) CGI programs
>that could become extensions of the Web server.  That way we
>effectively support the entire legacy infrastructure.

One of the environment variables passed to a CGI script is
"REQUEST_METHOD", hence it is possible to implement new WebDAV methods
using CGI scripts.

>The existing
>infrastructure of e-mail, Web browser and Web server products
>should be capable of supporting the aims of WEBDAV by encapsulating
>requests within multipart/form-data requests on the "input" side
>and the current Web server infrastructure on the output side.

The current position on this is that email access to WebDAV functionality
is extremely desirable, but due to lack of interest on anyone's part to
become a document editor for a document that defines both requirements for
email access, and a mechanism for email access, at present the WG is simply
ensuring that any design they develop does not preclude future development
of a standard for email access to WebDAV functionality.

However, since there are many new members on the list, let me repeat my
call for volunteers to be a document editor of a document which gives
requirements and a proposal for implementing access to WebDAV functionality
via email.  I suspect that this task would require a commitment of anywhere
from 10-40 person hours per month for several months.

Please contact me personally if you are interested.

>  I'd
>be concerned that extensions to the HTTP header would backfire and
>would grant license to the big players in the server arena (Microsoft
>and Netscape) to dominate the WEBDAV applications market.

It's premature to predict market dominance of servers for a protocol which
hasn't been completely defined yet, no?  There are several communities
which have expressed interest in WebDAV a non-complete list of which
includes Web server developers, document management system vendors, and
configuration management system vendors.  There is some overlap among these
communities.  This, to me, is an indicator there will be a wide range of
vendors offering servers with WebDAV capability.

- Jim
Received on Thursday, 1 May 1997 19:26:26 UTC

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