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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.

Why I don't like WebDAV, part 1

Yesterday and today I spent a lot of time using WebDAV updating one web site, and creating another, both at hosts which use that protocol for accessing file directories on hosted sites. It has taken longer than it should have, possibly caused my Mac OS X 10.4.10 desktop to crash, and ultimately forced me to use both the shell and FTP to get permissions set right and the right files in the right places. It shouldn't be this hard. Part of the blame may lay with Mac OS's native implementation of WebDAV, but I've not seen any implementation that is better on the whole.

I Wish I Had Said That

James Bennett nailed it on the head late last year with his post about I can’t believe it’s not XML! Not that XML is terrible in my view, but it is overly wordy for most of the simple cases where it is used. And the big XML-as-a-protocol-stack, like the SOAP and WS* web services people -- and probably even the SOA hawkers -- are to web services as XML is to JSON.

As James put it:

Platform convergence?

A Drupal colleague of mine, Steven Wittens just whipped together a new web application using the <canvas> tag, called ComicJuice. The ability to draw on a web page canvas is just one step closer to web applications that can do everything previous generation desktop applications could do.

Linux wins over Windows in Sweden

I came across this news release today, which describes how the Swedish Armed Forces have chosen Red Hat Linux and open source over Windows. In fact, they are replacing their existing Microsoft installations with Linux.

This is a good sign. With any luck, other NATO or EU nations will make similar choices, which will take them in the direction of being able to more easily collaborate with each other on multi-national issues, like security and anti-terrorism.

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