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Creating a WebDAV support organization

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 12:01:30 -0700
To: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
Cc: Sally Khudairi <sk@zotgroup.com>
One of the items I'd like to discuss is creating a "WebDAV support
organization".  What do I mean by this?

From Yaron's comments...

> > 1. Discuss creating a WebDAV support organization ("webdav.org")
> But, it already exists. http://webdav.org

...it's clear the name itself is insufficient to convey what I have in mind.

The early life of a standard has two main phases, development and adoption.
In the IETF, working groups are where development occurs, and the IETF
culture typically results in high-quality standards being produced.
However, the IETF is typically not involved in the myriad activities that
help a standard become adopted.  The IETF doesn't do press releases, talk
with analysts, rarely does end-user education, doesn't arrange for demos at
trade shows, etc., yet these are all extremely important for the adoption of
a standard.  In fact, just doing one, without doing the other can cripple a
standard.  To paraphrase the old philosophical question, what sound does an
interoperability standard make if noone is around to hear it?

The purpose of the WebDAV support organization is to build on what Greg
Stein has already done with the webdav.org site, and in fact my choice for a
name for this organization would be "webdav.org".  But, while webdav.org is
a passive web site, waiting for people to come to it, I envision the
webdav.org organization being more active, performing activities such as
(and I list them to give you a sense of what I have in mind, not to be
particularly normative about what is/isn't involved -- there's lots more
that could be done here):

 - developing a WebDAV brand, with all this entails
   - developing a logo/icon/badge organizations/products could use
   - what the brand means, what it projects to people
 - develop a more constant press presence
   - quarterly (or more frequent) releases on DAV status
   - announcements of major specifications being completed
   - organize appearances at trade shows
 - end user education
   - what is WebDAV, how do I use it?
 - developer education
   - what is WebDAV, why should I include it in my next product?
   - what webdav.org does today -- act as a repository for specs.,
information, projects
 - develop T-shirts, other giveaways

It's important to note that webdav.org would not be a standards development
organization -- this is work the IETF does.  The support organization would,
instead, work to bridge the gap between the working group, and the various
developer communities that could use WebDAV and put it in their software,
and the broad user community where people have a need for collaborative
authoring, but don't know that DAV tools are available to do this.

I tihnk creating a WebDAV support organization would be a big plus for the
various organizations which have adopted WebDAV so far.  By pooling efforts
to inform and educate people about WebDAV, they increase the value of their
DAV investment, and increase the value of their individual product-specific
efforts.  Marketing the standard and marketing an individual DAV-supporting
product are complementary activities.

The way I see it, there is a clear need for a WebDAV support organization.
But, it's not clear to me how it will happen, and get funded.
Unfortunately, I personally don't have the time to push this forward; I need
to focus on my studies and graduate (after 7+ years it's time :-)  So, what
this effort needs is someone to pick it up as their own, and champion it.

So, I'm interested in your thoughts.  Do you feel there is a need for a
support organization?  If there was one, would you support it?  Most
importantly, is there anyone out there who feels they could help organize
such a thing?  You wouldn't have to do everything -- the press activities
should be performed by a PR firm, and I know of one that is very interested
in this activity.  But, someone needs to focus the goals, and sell it to
companies to get initial funding to support the press and educational

All right, enough from me.  Your turn.

- Jim
Received on Friday, 24 September 1999 15:05:20 UTC

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