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The WebDAV Project

Posted by mkarg on February 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM PST

If you ever wanted to edit "documents" (whatever that means in a technical sense) in a globally distributed team, you might have noticed that using the LAN (and block) based CIFS or NFS protocols are not well suited for the rather slow and unpredictable behaviour of the web. The WebDAV protocol (which is an IETF standard for a decade) is much better suited for this purpose, but so far was rather unknown in the Java world, which is mostly dominated by the more or less RPC-style protocols RMI/IIOP and SOAP.

WebDAV Logo

The WebDAV protocal gains global momentum, not at least due to its potential to replace a lot of proprietary intra-application protocols built ontop of TCP or RMI by an open and accepted standard for document based communication. By extending HTTP it provides a lot of great features, like listing virtual directories or adding arbitrary properties ("meta data") to entities. If you ever dreamt of browsing your enterprise application data with just your file explorer at hand (instead of using the corresponding client software), WebDAV definitively is your vehicle to accomplish this more or less easily. BTW, WebDAV is also a great means of integration of Java and... you know. That other framework made in Redmon.

Unfortunately there is not much unofficial or official support for WebDAV in The Java Universe. To overcome this deficiency, together with Daniel MANZKE, I have started The WebDAV Project on java.net, which can be found here since a few days (sorry for the rotten web site design, but we haven't had a chance to provide a better one so far). The project serves as an umbrella for sub projects dealing directly with the combination of WebDAV and Java. In this function, among others, the project for example provides sub projects for "WebDAV Support for JAX-RS", which one can use to build WebDAV-based RESTful WebServices running ontop of any JAX-RS implementation, or "Microsoft-Interop", which one can use to add Microsoft Windows Interoperability ontop of a vanilla WebDAV application. And there is (and will come) much more in the next months.

So if you are seeking for WebDAV support for Java, visit http://webdav.dev.java.net from time to time. We try to update the web site regularly with the latest news, and you can already register to one of our mailing lists to stay informed about the further progress of all of the sub projects. Also, you are cordially invited to join our team if you like to contribute.

See you later next time on this channel.

Regards
Markus

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Comments

OK, shameless spamming here since the ITHit guys are doing ...

OK, shameless spamming here since the ITHit guys are doing it. Check out Milton, the world's best open source java webdav servlet library API thingo with a pluggable backend. Its an active project with solid community support and lots of open source implementations floating around.

If you need a hand getting started just ask on the mailing list - we're friendly :)

The WebDAV Project

WebDAV server framework for Java: http://www.webdavsystem.com/javaserver. It has a comprehensive documentation and class reference.

There is a difference: "Milton" is a free product, a standalone WebDAV server with replaceable backends, in the form of a Servlet bundled with Jetty. It is not a community gathering arout WebDAV but around this specific product itself. "The WebDAV Project" on java.net is a community around WebDAV, a host for a lot of different WebDAV related projects, for example, "WebDAV Support for JAX-RS", "Microsoft Interoperability" etc., but it is not a product (while it WILL provide DIFFERENT products). This means, in theory "Milton" could use components from "The WebDAV Project", or reversed: "Milton" could become a sub project of "The WebDAV Project" (if the authors are interested in this). So these two projects are no rivals, they just both deal with WebDAV and Java.

Certainly agree that webdav is a good approach to file management on the interweb. I remember seeing http://milton.ettrema.com/index.html, I've not looked at it, but its the only java webdav api I've come across. cheers Parwy