Gregory Alan Bolcer gbolcer@endeavors.com
Tue, 18 Dec 2001 11:58:09 -0800

David Orchard wrote:

> Why hate webDav? Hmm, new HTTP methods=bad.
> Dave

Obviously I agree method explosion is bad.  Methods
without strict semantics are bad.  I think there's a balance
though.  Everyone knows the Web "in practice" is incomplete
as compared to the Web "in vision".   Surely there's
a simple, elegant, small set of semantically precise
methods that should have been there in the first
place to allow more "writable" features?  Sure you can
do everything DAV does with SOAP and POST, but then you've
put a much larger burden on the endpoints and opened
a set of simple operations up to interpretation based on
language binding or resource implementation issues.

Are there or arent' there too many steps
to publish something up on the Web?  Napster
says there are.  What was the killer part of Napster?
Sure the content was part of it, but it was also the
ease of which you could share the content versus
renting a domain, registering an IP with DNS, setting
up a Web server, registering content with a series
of search services, and praying for content.

Are there or aren't there too many technical barriers for most users to
password protect a folder or document or limited share
a resource?  One of the most memorable snippets from long
ago is this:

> Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 when he was 

> a researcher at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in 

> Geneva, Switzerland, thinks the Web is still too complicated and inefficient: 

> "Users desperately need it to be simple. You need to walk up to any screen 

> and treat it the same way as any other screen. It's also not private enough, 

> and not yet able to give people sufficient privacy guarantees that give them 

> confidence in collaborating with others: "I initially thought the Web would be 

> used for collaborative purposes. It isn't."
> AP Wire, September 3, 1998

My answer to the question, "Is the Web simple, private, and collaborative enough?"
is no.  I don't think that it will become so by adding complexity and
features to the software at either side of a network connection.  I think
the real trick is finding out what is the minimum "on the wire" changes you
need to add this into the Web.  To me, the WebDAV stuff is that simple, yet
elegant, "good enough" minimalist extension to do a whole new class
of really useful things without overcomplicating the user experience
or the developer's experience.

So, I'd expand on your post to say most new HTTP methods=bad.  Some
very small key extensions have proven to be extremely good.


Gregory Alan Bolcer, CTO   | work: +1.949.833.2800 | gbolcer at endeavors.com
Endeavors Technology, Inc. | cell: +1.714.928.5476 | http://endeavors.com