[uf-rest] Roy Fielding on WebDAV and PROPs

Mark Nottingham mnot at yahoo-inc.com
Tue Apr 11 16:35:07 PDT 2006

Yaron and I used to fight about (er, "discuss") this. Hi, Yaron :)

He and Jim Whitehead wrote a paper about the property design of  
WebDAV that explained their requriements and choices; see:
It might be helpful reading.

My preferred way to do this is to turn
   PROPFIND /foo
   GET /foo,properties
where ",properties" is a site-configurable string. It needs to be  
advertised by some sort of site metadata; e.g., in OPTIONS *, or in a  
response header (although that's arguably a waste of bytes).

There's also the case of getting the properties of multiple  
resources, or filtering the properties you get server-side; this  
should also be possible, e.g.,

I totally agree with Roy about WebDAV ACLs, but haven't yet seen any  
other model come forth.


On 2006/04/11, at 2:32 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:

> I've always felt there was something wrong with WebDAV, and Roy did  
> a nice summary of what over on rest-discuss:
> On Apr 11, 2006, at 12:40 PM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>> PROP* methods conflict with REST because they prevent
>> important resources from having URIs and effectively double the
>> number of methods for no good reason.  Both Henrik and I argued
>> against those methods at the time.  It really doesn't matter
>> how uniform they are because they break other aspects of the
>> overall model, leading to further complications in versioning
>> (WebDAV versioning is hopelessly complicated), access control
>> (WebDAV ACLs are completely wrong for HTTP), and just about every
>> other extension to WebDAV that has been proposed.
> The interesting question for me is what the "right" way to do  
> properties would be over HTTP.  I presume it would require some  
> sort of convention for a property namespace, which implies non- 
> opaque URLs.  Which in term (in order to be RESTful) would require  
> the *server* to have some way to tell clients about it, since  
> clients shouldn't *assume* URI structure.
> Any thoughts about the optimal way to do that?
> -- Ernie P.
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Mark Nottingham
mnot at yahoo-inc.com

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