WEBDAV Working Group Summary

The WEBDAV working group met two times at the Washington IETF meeting, on Monday and Tuesday, December 8-9, 1997, and 78 people attended one or both of the sessions. The first session began with a mini-BOF on the topic of WEBDAV searching and locating (DASL), which was led by Saveen Reddy. During this mini-BOF, the goals of the working group were presented, and some discussion on the group took place. Attendees notes that there was overlap between the issues being considered by LESSOR and DASL, however there was some agreement that DASL would be able to build upon the work of the LESSOR group. At the end of the mini-BOF, a poll of the attendees found substantial, but not unanimous, support for having a DASL working group in the IETF.

After the DASl mini-BOF, the WEBDAV session begain with a status report on the current documents being developed by the working group, including the creation of a new versioning protocol specification, now that the main protocol document is focused on distributed authoring capability. During this status report, the chair announced that there will be a working group last call on the distributed authoring protocol document in January.

A discussion of open issues in the distributed authoring protocol specification took place during the remainder of the session. Functionality for ordered collections was discussed, with debate centering on what kind of ordered collection support should be provided, and whether the support should be mandatory given the processing burden on servers. No resolution was reached, discussion will continue on the list. Security considerations were discussed next, and the group reached agreement that a) the security considerations from HTTP/1.1 need to be reviewed to ensure they are unchanged for the domain of distributed authoring, b) WEBDAV will mandate use of digest authentication, c) for cases where greater security that an unencoded session is needed, use TLS will be recommended. Finally, the working group agreed with the decisions of the Design Team that the INDEX method be removed in conjunction with adding recursive capability to PROPFIND, and the PATCH method be moved to the versioning specification.

Access Control was the topic of the second WEBDAV session. Howard Palmer led discussion on WEBDAV access control by presenting a series of slides highlighting design issues. One thread discussed the problem of underlying repositories having access control schemes which vary (e.g., by operating system), the difficulty of mapping different schemes into each other, and the challenge this poses for WEBDAV access control. No consensus was reached (none was expected) and discussion on access control will continue on the mailing list.