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RE: The 7 Deadly Sins of Versioning

From: Fabio Vitali <fabio@CS.UniBO.IT>
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 00:39:37 +0200
Message-Id: <v03007802b19392973cc2@[]>
To: Marcus Jager <mjager@microsoft.com>
Cc: WEBDAV WG <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
At 20:30 +0200 28-05-1998, Marcus Jager wrote:

>Is it necessary to handle versioning differently from language alternates?
>To put it another way, can we unify the problem to how we handle alternate
>resources for particular resource. Thus leaving the problem of
>interpretation of what the alternates mean and operating on them to the
>clients outside of WebDAV.

Marcus, thanks for de-lurking: I believe this question would have come out
sooner or later, and it's better to have it right at the start letting us
discuss it before everything else.

So: can we label versions as just another kind of alternate resources, and
forget about it? IMHO: Sure we can. This would simplify the work of the
group a big deal.

On the other hand, it would constitute a major occasion lost to discuss and
provide for the interoperability of different implementations of versioning
systems. Furthermore, it would constitute a substantial betrayal of the V
part of the WEBDAV acronym.

Versions differ from language alternates at least for one major issue: they
are machine-processable. And usually machine-generated. This means that
with versions it is possible to provide more sophisticated services than
simply prompting the user: "I have 23 alternatives of this resources. Here
is the list. Which one do you want?" Thus I believe that providing a way
for these services to interact across implementations is extremely
important and well within the scope of the WEBDAV charter.

>So far WebDAV has avoided forcing any structure or format on the contents of
>the resources that it accesses and stores. I think it would be dangerous to
>give this up.

Indeed. Especially if the structures and formats eventually come out
limited in scope and flexibility by implementation haste, good-enough
attitude and lack of temporal perspective.

My personal dream is that WEBDAV identifies the overall and long-term
requirements for such structures or formats, and then fork a sub-group to
provide a first generation one that can be, if necessary, good enough and
done in haste, but also one that can be easily grown out of when the need
comes, without at the same time requiring the whole V part of the WEBDAV
standard to be re-discussed.

Received on Thursday, 28 May 1998 18:41:19 UTC

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