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Re: HTTP URI scheme

From: Jay Daley <jay@nominet.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 11:44:11 +0000
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org, werner.donne@re.be
Message-ID: <OF03CCD836.EACD6EB4-ON80257266.00400E13-80257266.0040783A@nominet.org.uk>

> I think the important point is that having different protocol handlers 
> may be the wrong way to approach that problem.

Here are some concrete examples of why having a separate protocol handler 
would help:

1.  Suppose a new browser comes out that is super-fast and I decide to use 
it as my standard browser and so my OS is set to use this as the default 
browser.  However this browser does not support WebDAV.

I then receive an email with a link to a collection on a WebDAV enabled 
server, that has the form http://....  So I click on the link and my 
browser does what it can but that is no use to me since I need the WebDAV 

I then have to cut and paste the URL into a WebDAV compliant application 
and access it that way.

The alternative is that the link arrives in the form webdav://.... So my 
OS now has two defaults set up, one for the default browser and one for 
the default WebDAV application.  I have only changed the former when I 
installed my new browser so clicking on the link still invokes my WebDAV 
application and it all works.

2.  Suppose I am a fairly technical IT person, who has never heard of 
WebDAV.  I receive an email with a link to a WebDAV compliant resource 
that is of the form http://....  Well I am none the wiser.  I don't know 
this is a WebDAV server, I don't know that I could do so much more than 
just retrieve the document.  In fact if I receive a "Forbidden to access" 
error then I might believe the whole thing is broken.

However, suppose I receive an email with a link of the form webdav://.... 
Well I realise I don't know what this is so I go and learn about it.  I 
download a WebDAV compliant app, or I discover that some of my apps are 
already WebDAV compliant.  I even start to think about how I might use 
WebDAV inside my company. 

The insistence on the http:// scheme means that WebDAV is *invisible*. 
After a decade it is probably less well know than something like ENUM.  I 
would suggest that the use of the http:// scheme is one of the biggest 
factors in contributing to this invisibility.

Jay Daley
Nominet UK
Received on Wednesday, 17 January 2007 11:44:26 UTC

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