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RE: [long] Re: I-D ACTION:draft-ietf-webdav-versioning-01.txt

From: Chris Kaler <ckaler@microsoft.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 22:39:34 -0800
Message-ID: <4FD6422BE942D111908D00805F3158DF0A757D18@RED-MSG-52>
To: "'Max Rible'" <max@glyphica.com>, WEBDAV WG <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
At 12:10 2/2/99 -0800, Chris Kaler wrote:
	>[CK] The point of using "giberish" in the draft is to reinforce
	>     that the server determines the value.  A server could make it
	>     giberish or something else.  One limitation we have is the
	>     strong reluctance in IETF to "munge" URLs.

Is there a document describing what the IETF folks mean when they describe
"mungeing" URLs?  The image that comes to mind is tacking on decorations
like # and ? with information after them, or creating extra namespaces like
the ones for configurations and checked-out files.
I see a URI as a three-dimensional phenomenon-taking us through a space
dimensioned by machine/protocol/port combinations (each unique one defining
a plane), directories (the vertical aspect of the plane, if you consider the
directory hierarchy unfolded completely) and files in directories (the
horizontal aspect of the plane, with files as chains following folders).  
Versioning adds a new dimension.  I see the headers as allowing us to add
that new dimension (version number, etc.) to the URI, rather than trying to
map the fourth dimension into other parts of the plane (which is what a
temporary file created for checkin/checkout purposes is).  Since headers
such as Revision-Id are already in use to provide that fourth dimension for
accessing concrete versions, using them to access temporaries seems to me
the least work to implement and the most consistent.  Of course, having
eight different things happen depending on three different headers you might
or might not send could be precisely what the IETF considers URL mungeing.
[CK] The term "URL" munging generally refers to taking stuff onto the URL to
        additional information about the URL.  In the case of versioning,
you can use
        either # or ? as they have meaning.  For example, # is typically
filtered at the client.
        The ? might be a legitimate part of the URL.  There is already a
precedent for headers.
        Consider, for example, content-type.
	>[CK] I think it is important to remember that these are
	>     resources.  I would assume that the UI on top of the protocol
	>     all this.  For example, you "checkout" and "checkin" based on
	>     resource name you desire.

For sufficiently general values of "based on", yes. :-)  The current
document gives the example of CHECKIN /tmp/VRJHJWE3493409 HTTP/1.1, which
makes no reference to the resource name involved.
[CK] You can really argue this one either way.  The CHECKOUT operation
created a
        new resource.  Either you CHECKIN the working resource, or you must
pass the
        working resource as a required header if you specify the checked out
        In this draft we chose to use the working resource since the server
created it, it
        can map it back to the original resource.  Personally, I don't see
the issue if the
        resource referenced is not user friendly.  This is a wire protocol.
The alternative
        is another header.  However, this is clear open to discussion and
debate.  :-)
As long as the user thinks they're checking in to the usual location, it
doesn't really matter, but things in the underlying implementation have a
way of percolating up to the user's view of the world.  It also makes life
easier for watching the requests as a programmer or administrator.
	>                                The working copy resource is part
of the
	>     implementation and isn't visible to the user.  As well, there
	>     always the DAV:displayname property.

Perhaps checked-out temporaries should have a property that points at their
original document and version?  Or should the lineage report suffice for
that purpose?
[CK] I think this is a good idea.
	>[CK] I don't think so.  The idea is that a CHECKOUT creates a
working copy.
	>     Technically this is not part of the revision graph for the
	>     It must be mutable because clients need to be able to make
	>     changes.  You can't version it because it isn't part of the
	>     graph.  It is just a scratch space where PUTs and PROPPATCHs
can be
	>     performed until the resource is ready.  CHECKIN then assigns a
	>     id and makes it part of the graph.  Working copies don't have
	>     ids.  Also, UNCHECKOUT cancels a CHECKOUT.  You can't issue
	>     once you've issued a CHECKIN.  The draft should be clearer on
	>     point.

Sorry; I should've been clearer.  (It does seem pretty obvious that you
can't UNCHECKOUT once you've done a CHECKIN; I probably just flubbed the
language.)  I meant to suggest:
	1.  "CHECKOUT uri" returns 200 OK and gives you a token instead of
201 Created and an URL.
	2.  "PUT uri" and "PROPPATCH uri" with the token provided in the
request header allow you to meddle with the working copy at uri to your
heart's content.  If uri isn't locked, there could conceivably be multiple
such working copies, each accessed with different tokens.
3a. "CHECKIN uri" with the token would check in the working copy with
		a proper revision ID, release any locks you have on the
original uri
		(unless you explicitly request to keep the locks), and lose
		record of the token; alternatively,
3b. "UNCHECKOUT uri" with the token would remove the working copy, all
		record of its token, and any locks you had on it.
The token could be passed as a Revision-Id of some particular sort, if you
treat working copies as mutable revisions, or in some other fashion.
[CK] In the -00 draft it was proposed that CHECKOUT/IN use the LOCK method
        since the behavior is very similar to locks.  The working group
decided against
        this.  Note that this style approach would resolve your issue above
as well.  Maybe
        we should model this as LOCK and return a checkout token as you
suggest.  This
        token would then be passed in on CHECKIN.  I guess the question I
have then is,
        how is this different from LOCK?
	>The same thing applies to configurations:  do they need to exist
	>in special areas?  [...]

	>[CK] The idea here was to put them in a unified place so that
	>     DAV discovery mechanisms can be used.  Otherwise we need to
	>     new methods to discover the configurations.

They could always exist as normal residents of the namespace who happen to
have a DAV:resourcetype of DAV:configuration-they could sit there next to
collections and ordinary files.  (Once references are implemented, I don't
see it as that much more trouble to do other special entities.)
[CK] If they live anywhere in the namespace, getting a list of the defined
        is quite hard.  That was the idea for putting them in a "well known"
[An aside:  we've been doing a lot of hammering on a very similar notion
over here at Glyphica for our next product, which is intended to be
WebDAV-compliant, and the "configurations" from the versioning draft sound a
lot like the "projects" we've been debating over here.  After much
hammer-and-tongs haranguing about the natures of projects, we settled on the
notion that a project would have a lot of links but could own entities in
its own right, in order to simplify matters of hierarchy.  I'm trying to
figure out if a project is likely to *be* a configuration or *use* a
configuration.  The example in the versioning goals isn't much different
from labeling a source tree, which you can do with a BRANCH operation in
this specification.  Were there any other examples that you folks used in
coming up with what a configuration should be able to do?]
[CK] We have introduced two notions: branching of a single resource, and
branching of a set
        of related resources.  The first uses the BRANCH method, the second
uses configurations.
        I would suggest that a configuration represents a point in the
project lifetime, not a 
        project.  I believe this to be a more powerful management tool.
From an object-oriented point of view, I'm thinking of configurations as a
subclass of collections with some added functionality.  Both accept PROPFIND
with a Depth header, both need to manage a bunch of other entities when you
use COPY and DELETE and MOVE.  A Configuration-Id URI would tell the system
where the configuration is, so there doesn't need to be any central lookup
location; putting a collection that is not a configuration in the
Configuration-Id header should generate an error.
[CK] That is one aspect that is there for discovery.  However,
configurations also represent
        a way to view the namespace orthogonal to the URL.  I think this is
important.  For example,
        you can have Beta1 and Beta2 of your web site and edit them using
the exact same URLs
        if your editor is versioning-aware and knows to pass the
	>[CK] Configurations are very similar, but also very different.  A
	>     configuration collection can be referenced in the
	>     header.  That is not true of all MKREF collections.  As well,
	>     to the resources in the context of a configuration are
	>     represented inside the configuration collection.  That is, if
	>     rename foo.htm to bar.htm using MOVE in the /c/1
configuration, then
	>     inside /c/1 there will be a reference to bar.htm.

I'm not sure I got that.  Do you mean that 
MKREF /c/1/foo.htm
Ref-Target:  /potzrebie/foo.htm

MOVE /c/1/foo.htm
Destination: /c/1/bar.htm

works as expected, (/c/1/bar.htm is a reference to /potzrebie/foo.htm,
just like in a collection), or
MKREF /c/1/foo.htm
Ref-Target:  /potzrebie/foo.htm

MOVE /potzrebie/foo.htm
Destination:  /potzrebie/bar.htm

will update /c/1/foo.htm to point to /potzrebie/bar.htm?
[CK] What I meant was that you MKCONFIG /c/beta1 and /c/beta2 you can then
        /foo/bar.htm in the following ways:
        GET /foo/bar.htm
        Configuration-Id: Beta1
         GET /foo/bar.htm
         Configuration-Id: Beta2
        This let's you switch between the two without having to change the
links.  This is
        Different from other MKREF references.
	>Should configurations be able to contain other configurations, or
	>simply references to them?  I can easily see that a configuration's
	>user might wish to partition it when it gets large and cluttered.

	>[CK] This is a really interesting question.  Conceptually, why not?
	>     However, that is really hard to represent in the resources.

More than a collection is?  I may be missing something here...
[CK] Our idea was that a the /c/Beta1 would contain references to the
resources in the 
        configuration.  If a configuration contains another configuration,
how would you
        represent that?
	>     well, some of the semantics start to get really messy.  What
	>     it mean to have nested configurations?  What does it mean for
	>     resource to be "in" nested configurations.  We opted to say
that a
	>     configuration can be derived from another, but there isn't a
	>     of containment.

If a configuration is a collection with special attributes for how it
interacts with the configurations it derives from and that derive from it,
and containment is handled like any collection, does that open any cans of
[CK] Possibly.  Do any come to mind?
	>I'm thinking of software development solutions:  a configuration
	>represent a project, with subconfigurations containing subprojects.
	>You'd want automatic inheritance from the core project so any time
	>someone else added a file to the configuration, you got a reference
	>to it. [...]

	>[CK] Another way to think of this is that the collections in the
	>     namespace represent the project and sub-project relationships
	>     and that configurations represent various "releases" of those
	>     projects.  In this way the "V2" configuration can be derived
	>     from the "V1" configuration.

So you have:
1.  A bunch of actual files in a namespace, representing the source tree.
	2.  A number of configurations, each representing a separate release
of the code, with links into multiple levels of the source tree.
	3.  Many more configurations, each depending on the release
configurations, representing developer workspaces.

The developer would then use the actual URIs from (1) for dealing with the
files and personal (3) workspace as a header to to select the appropriate
versions from (1), and seldom (if ever) actually see the contents of (3)?
(Logging in to a workspace becomes interesting: how to choose from among a
bunch of configurations?  
Thus, most WebDAV operations would not occur on configurations directly.
All the PUTs and GETs and PROPPATCHes and LOCKs and UNLOCKs would happen
using the URIs from (1) and the configuration ID from (3).  The
configuration would occasionally be added to through MKREF and removed from
via DELETE, but all of this would happen behind the scenes.
This makes a big difference in my visualization of configurations.  The
impression I got from the document was that a user might want to create a
configuration in their home directory on a server and use that as their
local copy of the data in the source tree, that configurations would be
something that you navigated into just like a normal directory tree.
What I'm seeing now is something more like a lock token with a lot more
state packed into it.  A user would "log in" to a configuration and begin
sending the configuration-id header along with almost all requests to the
server.  This would provide a context for their particular view of the
source tree.
Could a user ever wind up being "logged in" to multiple configurations?
[CK] Its clear that we need much more verbage in the document.  I'm not sure
I followed the
        "logging in" part.  However, much of what you stated is the
thinking.  The configuration
        represents an orthogonal view of the namespace.  That is, you can
reference a specific
        URL in the context of a configuration.  The configuration defines
which revision you get
        or which "project version" (we called them threads) to use.
[re: BRANCH]
	>[CK] This is something I should have made clearer.  Both are valid.
	>     The VER:... notion is used to refer to a specific revision via
	>     a URI.  You can also specify the URL and the Revision-Id
	>     Chalk this up to a bad example.

Hopefully, the VER:... URI functionality will be optional?  Should there be
a way to discover this functionality through OPTIONS?
[CK] I have to change this in the protocol spec, it is more confusing.  I
should say something
        like:   http://www.foobar.com/internal/FJH3490345
<http://www.foobar.com/internal/FJH3490345>    I think that would be less
		>>Regarding SETDEFAULT:  why is it specified as sending an
XML body?

	>[CK] The idea was to allow the user to specify additional
	>     as well as allow the DAV:none to cancel.  We could do this all

	>     through headers, but XML seemed appropriate.

What other information would go in with SETDEFAULT?  For that matter, is
SETDEFAULT really doing anything you couldn't with PROPPATCH?  If I'd read
that SETDEFAULT functionality was to be implemented with a live property
named DAV:defualtversion, I wouldn't have blinked...
[CK] We debated this one for a while.  The issue really comes up with
references.  Let's say
        I create a direct reference to /a/b.htm in /x/y.  I should be able
to set the default version
        of /x/y/b.htm to be a different revision from the default revision
of /a/b.htm.  Using 
        PROPPATCH is reasonable, but a little confusing.  This would
introduce the notion
        of namespace properties (which is already happening).  The other
reason is that this 
        is really a state change on the resource and it is reasonable
(desirable) to effect change
        via a method rather than as a side-effect of a property change.


Another question that comes to mind:  why are there properties using
comma-separated lists (such as DAV:revisionlabel, DAV:mergedfrom, ...) 
instead of an XML representation of such a list?  I would think
	  <D:label>Beta test</D:label>
would be more in keeping with the standard.

[CK] For simplicity.  Technically a comma-separated list is valid XML, but
         your point is taken.
%% Max Rible %% max@glyphica.com <mailto:max@glyphica.com>  %%
http://www.amurgsval.org/~slothman/ <http://www.amurgsval.org/~slothman/>
%% "Before enlightenment:  sharpen claws, catch mice.                   %%
%%  After enlightenment:  sharpen claws, catch mice."            - me   %%
Received on Tuesday, 9 February 1999 01:39:38 UTC

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