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Re: Standard WebDAV Properties

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@kiwi.ics.uci.edu>
Date: Thu, 04 Mar 1999 01:59:50 -0800
To: jamsden@us.ibm.com
cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org, ietf-dav-versioning@w3.org
Message-ID: <9903040159.aa10036@paris.ics.uci.edu>
>One approach is to take a lesson from XML. XML is a standard language for
>tagged documents. ...

I don't want to burst any bubble here, but XML has yet to become a lesson
for anything but pre-release marketing hype.  What you say is true of any
codification of application domains, and metadata efforts in general.
If we understand and agree upon the key elements of an application
architecture, then standard identifiers of those elements can be used
to construct self-descriptive actions.  That is a good thing in any syntax,
but something that the IETF usually avoids doing within a WG.

The problem with using that style to define a protocol, however, is that
all pieces of the communication apparatus cannot be expected to understand
all application domains, and certainly cannot be expected to download
application domain descriptions.  There must be a standard set of general
semantics that is sufficient to identify what type of action is taking place,
not the details of how it will be implemented.  That is what HTTP provides
with the abstract resource interface, of which WebDAV is now a part.

As I said a while back, if a specific application is calling for a
large number of HTTP methods to be defined, then that application is
misusing HTTP.  Almost always, the solution is to rethink the role of
resources in the application.

Received on Thursday, 4 March 1999 05:01:15 UTC

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