Internet World Online on Endeavors/Magi/WebDAV

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From: Sally Khudairi (
Date: Fri Apr 14 2000 - 17:16:38 PDT

Congratulations Greg and Jim -- the world is finally waking up!

- S

Friday, April 14, 2000
Vol. 2, Issue 73

Magi Bears Document Management Gifts

By Nate Zelnick

There's the rhetoric about the Web -- that it eliminates
distance and creates a platform for collaborative work from
anywhere -- and then there's the reality. The Web just lets
you point to a file and have a remote server return it to the
client that requested it. In other words, the potential to do
lots of stuff is implied; all you have to do is build the
systems that let it happen.

Luckily a system based on Web Document Authoring and
Versioning (WebDAV), Java Server Pages, and a list of
acronyms that could only be contained in an
institutional-sized can of alphabet soup is emerging as an
open-source platform for a peer-to-peer collaborative
document managing system.

Called Magi_DAV, the approach begins with the Apache Web
server and a WebDAV module designed to run on anything with
an IP address -- clients, servers and Web-enabled devices --
and adds some nifty filtering, security, and notification
capabilities and a management system that acts like the buddy
lists used in instant messaging systems. When a Magi device
connects to the network, it signals the other machines in its
list that its resources are available.

The whole idea behind DAV was that the Web should be a
two-way medium that allowed anyone with the right access to
add new files to a site from anywhere without destroying
other people's work. Early DAV implementations were built by
document management vendors like Documentum, but have
recently become part of Microsoft Office (in Office 2000),
particularly as a way to join the portability of e-mail and a
Web site's universal accessability.

The distributed approach that Magi_DAV takes adds an
important twist. Resource can be edited and submitted from
anywhere, edited in parallel, and reconciled on submission
like you'd expect, but the fun starts when a set of related
Magi_DAV client machines start working together. Instead of
trying to e-mail a document between your home and work
machines, you can publish it from either and reconcile it by
using your Web-cell phone as remote control. Or a document
requiring approval by someone who is one the road can be
cleared from any computer, phone, or PDA.

But the real fun is that Magi is an open-source project that
provides a far richer and more manageable form of the
real-time sharing systems pioneered by the Napsters and
Gnutellas of the world. And because it's built on Apache,
developers can slap new features onto it the same way they'd
write an Apache module.

Cool, huh?

Magi, currently in beta, was built by Endeavors Technology,
which Cambridge, England-based Tadpole Technologies
( ) acquired earlier this
year. Endeavor started the project as part of its mobile
device networking project, funded under a Defense Advanced
Research Projects Administration.


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