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HTTP extension that supports editing of documents

  1. http://www.webdav.org/
  2. RFC 2291 - Requirements for a Distributed Authoring and Versioning Protocol for the World Wide Web
  3. RFC 2518 - HTTP Extensions for Distributed Authoring -- WEBDAV
  4. RFC 3253 - Versioning Extensions to WebDAV? (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning)
  5. RFC 3744 - Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV?) Access Control Protocol

See WikiGateway.

Would WebDav be a useful interface to a Wiki? Using the forms-based editor limits the user to whatever's built in to their browser. DAV looks like a reasonably simple extension to HTTP, and presumably a Wiki could be made to present all of its pages as files in a WebDav filespace that could be mounted and edited using any editor. On the down side, I don't see a way to implement the "summary of change" field, etc.

Aye. See ZwikiClone that gives you the full power of ZOPE and its WebDav (and FTP) backend.

I was thinking about wiring together a bunch of things including WebDav in order to implement a tool for KnowledgeManagement?. I have implemented UseModWiki for a number of databases and have been thinking about applications of Wiki to KM. --KirkKitchen

I'm planning on doing a Web DAV extension for Oddmuse [1] -- AlexSchroeder

Not the Wiki Way

WebDav could make a nice interface to Wiki, if it wasn't that the RFC made so many silly assumptions. It requires authentication up front, which makes it a bit Anti-Wiki.

Where does it say so? -- AlexSchroeder

FTP requires authentication up front too, yet that never stopped anonymous FTP. It hardly requires a workout of the imagination to automatically accept any credentials for anonymous access. I see webdav as a backend access issue. It would make a lousy user interface. --ChuckAdams

I don't understand your answer. I'm reading the RFC and plan to implement a WebDAV? interface to my WikiEngine. "It requires authentication up front" is something I must have missed in the RFC. I'd like to know where it says so in order to read up on it. I don't see the connection to FTP or user interfaces (yet). Your text sounds as if you're offended by my question. I don't understand why. -- Alex

WebDav does not require authentication up-front. Read RFC 2616, RFC 2617, and RFC 3744. You can grant write permission to DAV:all. Or you could grant read to DAV:all and only write to the appropriate principals. In either case, your WebDav client will be able to GET the page without having to authenticate. --TimOlsen?

I'm excited about your WebDav experiment. It seems to me that WebDav is the most comprehensive and accepted standard for doing wiki type things (editing collections of documents), especially with DeltaV?. However, I have never implemented it myself (the WebDav serving part of WikiGateway uses Python code from another project; although I had to hack at that code, I didn't have to rewrite it from scratch). Based on my experience with that, as well as on comments from others (for example, Sam Ruby, who was on the WebDav working group before Atom, when asked why Atom, why not just WebDav?), it seems like it might be too complicated/heavyweight. I'm eager to know if that it actually the case, in your opinion.

So, if you think WebDav's good, then I'm excited because it's one more wiki engine supporting a standard interface. If you think it isn't, I'm eager to know that so that I can stop being so hopeful about WebDav.

I certainly think that all wikis should implement some sort of standard interface for editing; if not WebDav, then Atom or [WikiRPCInterface].

-- BayleShanks

Here's why I'm excited, copied from my project page on my own site [1]:

Oddmuse has the raw=1 parameter to facilitate the implementation of user agents that are not generic web browsers. Other wikis offer XmlRpc, and some wikis offer nothing so that you have to resort to screen-scraping (parsing the HTML).

While writing wiki-remote.el for Emacs, I ran into this problem. Every wiki engine required a different interface. On top of that, I could not use simple file access to create, read, and edit pages. Instead, I had to write a little user-agent in Emacs Lisp – http-get.el and http-post.el. That user-agent had to deal with redirection, transfer-encoding, server hanging up, etc. It was tiresome.

WebDav promises a way out: Accessing wikis should require no special user-agents. Various operating systems or tools allow access to WebDav hosts as filesystems. Once the PageDatabase is accessable via the filesystem, any editor can be used to modify pages.

This does not solve the problem of differing text formatting rules for different wikis, but it does solve two other problems:

  1. The same interface to all wikis.
  2. Using your favorite editor and other tools that act on files to search and edit wiki pages.

-- AlexSchroeder



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