[LON-CAPA-dev] lonc/lond, construction space, etc

Jerf lon-capa-dev@mail.lon-capa.org
Sun, 26 Jan 2003 19:35:57 -0500

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Gerd Kortemeyer wrote:
| BTW, what is all this WebDAV business (besides creating weird error
| messages on our servers)? ...
| Next thing is that in the lonc/lond rewrite...

WebDAV is Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning. See
http://www.webdav.org/other/faq.html for the various features.

I don't know when lonc/lond The Rewrite is scheduled to be out, but if
it's post-Fall 2003, one idea worth researching is having the authoring
space be manipulated solely through WebDAV, since it seems to match with
our ideas fairly well. (I say post-Fall 2003 because this definately
qualifies as a big change, falling out of the scope of bug fixing.)

The benefits of this approach is that a single interface meets both our
internal needs and external user's needs in a standards compliant
manner, and since this *is* a standard there are libraries we can lean
on both the server and client side, which could really simplify a huge
portion of the authoring space stuff. For instance, there is already a
well-tested Apache webDAV module: http://www.webdav.org/mod_dav/ .
Whether or not it is useful would take more research. Perl clients:
http://search.cpan.org/search?query=webdav&mode=all .

The downside is that WebDAV could be either too powerful (such that a
partial implementation gets us nothing because all real-world WebDAV
clients demand Fancy Feature #2, and we can't implement it for some
reason, so the standards compliance is no benefit), or possibly not
powerful enough (though in that case we could do some internal
extensions). Also, this would take some research, though if WebDAV is a
fit it may pay off in terms of bringing in well-tested existing WebDAV
libraries rather then re-inventing it ourselves again.

I can say with confidence that the WebDAV stuff is not going to go away.
It's RFC 2518: http://andrew2.andrew.cmu.edu/rfc/rfc2518.html . It's
reasonably widely deployed in certain communities, and it seems to me to
be on a growth pattern, not a niche-player-forever pattern.
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