Introduction to WebDAV

I didn’t get back to the room til about 4am today, so I was a bit scared to discover myself actually present and awake at this talk!

Show of hands – not many people using WebDAV

Distributed Authoring & Versioning

Authoring means lots of things, Versioning is a little misleading

Built on top of http – like network filesystem, can be used anywhere

Manage files on website/network filesystem for LAN

From the beginning, Tim Berners-Lee envisioned a read-write/collaborative web
Initially, marketing etc made it read-only, until the 90s, when wikis appeared

Web documents, calendars

mod_dav was 3rd party module for Apache 1.3, has been standard module since 2.0

Amazingly easy to configure mod_dav to create a DAV repository – one setup
directive, one directive to enable it (DavLockDB, Dav On)
DavLockDB maintains lock status of files accessed via DAV – Windows DAV
implementation doesn’t implement locking, limits what you can do when connecting
via Windows
Dav On must be in directory scope

DAV implements methods on top of GET, HEAD etc
‘Limit’ can be used to require authn before using DAV methods – anyone can use
http methods, permission required to use DAV ones

Remember that DAV is running on your webserver! PHP & friends will be
interpreted as normal when you ‘GET’ them
Don’t permit upload of PHP files

Files need to be writeable by webserver user – goes against usual best practice
Possible solution: run a secondary webserver on a different port, which can
write as necessary, and is as well locked-down as possible (minimum modules/no
PHP/low MaxClients/SSL/Authn etc)

All OSX applications are DAV-aware – can r/w to a DAV repository
(Insert sneaky FeatherCast plug)
Network Places/Web Folders on Windows
Novell – NetDrive (no longer available from Novell’s website, Google for it!)
DAVFS is in most modern linux kernels

DAV on Windows is just full of awkward ‘fun’. NetDrive++

iCal – sneaky plug for the ACEU2006 iCal files :) lets you manually publish an
Outlook/Exchange calendar as an iCal file


Subversion uses DAV as the transfer protocol

DAV can replace NFS and SMB to get away from OS incompatabilities/hassle with
More secure replacement for FTP, can be used over https too

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