WebDAV's Day

by Sid Steward

WebDAV seems so web 2.0, but somehow the buzz has passed it by.

Wikipedia says:

"The WebDAV protocol's aim is to make the World Wide Web a readable and writable medium"

Isn't that part of the Web 2.0 anthem? Well, depending on who you talk to.

Maybe it's too mature? Too ubiquitous? Lacks a catchy acronym?

I thought it was cool that Office supports WebDAV, but then learned:

"In Windows XP, everything in the OS can publish to a WebDAV enabled web server. ... In XP, you can map a drive to a web server so that when you save a file to drive X:, for example, it is published directly to a web server.

You can also select file, open and type http://servername/folder as a pathname just as you can a drive letter or UNC pathname."

I mean, geez. It's like ajax before people knew it was ajax.

Or maybe I'm the only one so excited about internet-enabled client software? Break me outta this browser, baby!


Big Ray
2006-03-30 09:23:38
Hear hear! Or maybe it is here here.

2006-03-30 09:49:04
I'm no webdav expert but in my limited exposure the wildly varying implementations of the spec are what made it frustrating to work with and develop against. Perhaps that explains its slow adoption rate.
Tim Strehle
2006-03-30 12:21:25
It sounds great, until you try actually using it.

The WebDAV implementation in Windows is unstable, unfinished; you run into the first problems after having used it for just half an hour (I tried Windows XP "web folders" against a password-protected Apache WebDAV) - and that's not just me, but everyone I know who played with it. (Even the IE FTP client implementation is not working well. OS/2 Warp did that a lot better...)

The Mac OS X WebDAV implementation might be good, though I don't have much experience with it.

Sid Steward
2006-03-30 12:34:46
Wow -- thanks for these testimonials.
2006-03-31 01:20:16
WebDAV is indeed a nice feature and when it works it's great. But not only the server implementations vary widely in quality (basically because it's so simple to implement a server the wrong way) but also the clients vary wildly. For example it's quite hard to write a server that the Microsoft clients (yes, there are at least two completely seperate ones in Windows XP) both can connect to because of several bugs (some of which effectively prevent the server from implementing some of the nicer aspect of WebDAV).

2006-04-01 19:47:49
Last time I tried it, webdav/web folders only worked for non-SSL, basic auth sites. I've used it before for various things with other clients, but this limitation killed it for me as a folder 100%. Fortunately, Unix/Linux lets you use sftp:// URLs and SSH keys. :)

2006-04-02 09:55:39
Wow, they’ve reinvented NFS.