Why I don't like WebDAV, part 2
After posting Why I don't like WebDAV, part 1 I got involved in a bit of email discussion with some people who are much more expert than I regarding the protocol (Kevin, Mike, Julian, Tim). I appreciate they included me, and I now know a lot more about WebDAV than I did before.
The protocol itself doesn't really suck. Rather, it's the implementations and the purposes for which it has been used, it seems. It's a bit odd in that it's a lower-level protocol for a high-level purpose. Use it for the wrong purpose, and it's like using the wrong tool.
Unfortunately, that is what has happened. WebDAV gets used as a file transfer service, for which it's really too complex, and as a file system, with which it clashes, because people want remote files to look like and be manipulated like local files.
Moreover, there are a lot of bugs and flaws in the various WebDAV client and server implementations out there -- although I'm now convinced that Apple's WebDAV client is not so bad as I thought. It's just that Apple has implemented a general-purpose WebDAV file system. Having written file systems before, I well understand what kind of insane task that is. :-)
That must mean the server end of my WebDAV connections is not very well implemented. In one case, it's Apache and mod_dav. In the other, I don't know what it is.
I don't want to go back to FTP. Scp works fine for me, but most hosts don't want to provide shell accounts, for good reason, and mapping ACLs is harder.
Can we please have a clean, efficient, reliable way to view, update, replace, delete, add, permission files on a remotely hosted web server? And universally accepted and used would be great, too, while we're asking for the moon.