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WebDAV, http://www.webdav.org/, stands for "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol which allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers. It can be neatly thought of as a mechanism to allow "save to the web". On Microsoft platforms these are seen as WebFolders. (Greg Stein, the editor for webdav.org is also project owner for SubVersion http://subversion.tigris.org/)

An interesting overview: http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/webdav/intro/webdav_intro.pdf

The goal are quite common with Wiki but WebDAV is more ambitious and requires extensions to the HTTP protocol. Most web servers these days provide modules with WebDAV functionality. Of particular note mod_dav for Apache http://www.webdav.org/mod_dav/

The goals of WebDAV including WorkInProgress (which are also mostly present in TWiki) are:

  • Overwrite prevention
    Similar to but more extensive than TWiki locks. Has exclusive locks, shared locks and cooperative locks and automatic lock release notification etc.
  • Properties
    Creation, removal and querying of information about Web pages including live and static properties.
  • Namespace management
    Similiar to but more extensive than TWiki webs. Includes ability to copy, move
  • Version management
    Similar to TWiki's versioning
  • Advanced Collections
    Similar to a symbolic link in a file system, the ability to add a referential member to a collection which can point to any resource on the Web. Additionally, ordered collections allow a client to specify a persistent ordering of resources in a collection.
  • Access Control
    Flexible access control based on ACL (Access control lists). Access control is being worked upon in TWiki.

-- ManpreetSingh - 23 Sep 2000

WebDAV (or simply DAV) is an interesting technology that reached proposed-standard status as RFC 2518 in Feb 1999. I was on the WebDAV workgroup mailing list in 1999, but have not been following the technology recently. There is already an impressive list of DAV server and client software, compiled at http://www.webdav.org/projects/, both open source and commercial. Microsoft Office 2000 is a WebDAV client, and there is also an extension to the Windows filebrowser that allows you to see WebDAV folders. There are companies who replaced FTP and SCP by DAV, simply because it is easier and more secure.

The "V" in WebDAV stands for versioning, but this is still in in work as Manpreet pointed out. WebDAV will be a powerful standard for collaborative work on the web once access control and versioning is in place.

You never know, one day we might have a TWikiWebDavServer :-)

-- PeterThoeny - 23 Sep 2000

I think it may be time to consider this again - see http://www.internetworld.com/020101/02.01.01internettech1.jsp

-- MartinCleaver - 07 May 2001

"One initiative is the Delta-V working group, which is developing ways to manage multiple versions of documents on a WebDAV server. "

I had a look at WebDAV, that quote above was the main reason I decided to ignore it for the mean while. Possible it might be a good IPC mechanism, but some its not something I'm looking into at present.

-- NicholasLee - 07 May 2001

I don't understand what about the above quote makes you disregard WebDAV. Can you explain?

I think that if we implemented TWikiWebDavServer then users could save directly from Wiki:MicrosoftWord to the TWikiAttachmentTable. That would be Nice.

-- MartinCleaver - 11 Jun 2001

Basically because it lacks a stable version control mechanism yet. So as the person working on the modularisation it that regard it doesn't really interest me. At the momemt I'm trying to keep my target simply, but I supose it shouldn't be too hard to add a TWiki::Store::WebDav module once I start getting a stronger code base.

-- NicholasLee - 11 Jun 2001

Cool. Fair reason!

-- MartinCleaver - 11 Jun 2001

How about then:

  1. Allowing users to map a drive to the attachment file area using normal file mount technologies
  2. Providing an "archive current version" button into the RCS repository

This would let them use the attachment table as a filespace, do TWiki versioning on the files, and allow bulk uploads of attachments.

One thing that would need handling would be putting in the detail into the attachment table. But, I guess we could always have a special "TWikiAttachments.txt" file that could be picked up on button press.

-- MartinCleaver - 25 Jun 2001

See Also TWikiWebDavServer, RCS, http://chiki.emaho.org/ (Chiki WebDAV wiki for Tomcat and Struts)

-- DennisDaniels - 22 Mar 2002

Sharemation has free evaluation accounts (5MB / 3h) available.

-- WillNorris - 24 Mar 2004

Crawford is currently working on a WebDAVPlugin.

-- PeterThoeny - 15 Apr 2004

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Topic revision: r16 - 2004-04-20 - PeterThoeny
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