Re: MailDAV

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From: Mark Baker (
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 16:55:32 PST

At 04:33 PM 3/15/00 -0600, Jeff Bone wrote:
>Hell, yes. :-) I'd go one further: not only is it not necessary for
every mime
>type / application set to have its own protocol, I firmly have come to
>--- in part because of what I saw going on in the IETF --- that a
>HTTP, perhaps with just "GET," would be sufficient for anything.

How would you ever change anything? I could see GET/POST or GET/PUT, but
just GET?

>I used to
>argue the "protocol per application domain point-of-view. Argued for
>that were *like* HTTP but *weren't* HTTP. I've come to believe I was

Amen brother!

>With HTTP, you've got a generic request-response system --- i.e., message
>passing. Message passing is provably sufficient for anything computable.

So are smoke signals. 8-)

>wait, there's more! With "servers" on both ends, you can have callbacks,
so you
>can do asynchronous stuff. With XML and something like XML-RPC, you've got a
>typed RPC mechanism and on-the-wire object format. You want objects? Fine,
>build an interface repository and reflection on top of that.

Except that then you're using HTTP as a transport protocol, not a transfer
protocol. Kinda defeats the point. If you can do everything with HTTP what
does RPC buy you and why does it need to be anywhere, let alone on top?

>The punchline to all of this is, I actually think DAV is rather an abortion.
>Ick. The more crap like that we cram into our star protocol, the less
>it becomes.

For the most part, I'd agree with you; most HTTP extensions I've seen are
so much crapola because the extension methods make no sense in the
of the Web; document transfer representing computational state (REST[1],
ala Roy).
But WebDA does. Its methods are completely architecturally aligned with REST
(unlike arbitrary interface-level API RPC cruft, like an application method).
Having said that, I don't see a great need for WebDA because, IMHO, the cost
of deployment is much greater than the benefit; you can do most of the good
stuff with just HTTP 1.1.

>This kind of stuff should live above the wire, indeed, above HTTP. If all
>distributed systems can be implemented in terms of RPC, and HTTP provides a
>*standard* and rather friendly RPC just with GET, and XML provides the
>marshalling format, then why re-invent the wheel?

Whoa, "RPC" has no place in that paragraph. Hopefully you meant
"message passing".

BTW, I've finally sparked some discussion on[2].
You might want to sign up. I've managed to convince one of the core
developers on Casbah ( that he doesn't need RPC
and can do what he wants to do with just HTTP.


It's funny how these discussions happen at the same time, but independantly.
WebBroker was submitted to the W3C as a note at almost the same time this
stuff clicked for me in May 98. Weird.


Friends don't let friends do RPC

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