Friday, October 22, 2004

Joe and St. Peter wrote a WebDAV-related IETF Internet-Draft recently. In fact, it combines two technologies I admire, WebDAV and XMPP, in a way that uses each technology precisely for what it's good for (WebDAV to store application data, XMPP to route application-specific messages).

I talked to a bunch of people at Educause about this yesterday, and they were excited about this and other new WebDAV features because many universities are betting on WebDAV. University of Memphis reports two services that people can't live without: email, and now WebDAV. Since WebDAV is such a flexible repository technology it's hard to tell a potential customer (like Memphis 2.5 years ago, when I worked at Xythos) what it will give them. But give it to users, and they will figure it out. Looks like the Atompub people are storing blog postings on a Web server, which students increasingly can do now via their WebDAV accounts [1]. And of course the universities are also keen on storing calendar data in WebDAV accounts. More application data in fewer server repositories means lower administration costs for these universities.

With all this increased excitement, you'd think I could get more people to show up at WebDAV Working Group meetings or contribute on the mailing list. The next meeting is in Washington DC, in the second week of November. Want to join in? It's easy -- all you have to do is... join in.

[1] I realize that although giving students WebDAV accounts is a little new, giving them Web accounts, or Web space in their Unix accounts, isn't new. However, in some colleges students had to request this service, or know enough Unix to be able to author the content. Plus raw HTTP doesn't support multi-user applications very well. WebDAV extends the usefulness and usability of personal Web space.

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