mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Saturday, 26 July 2003

Blogging with WebDAV

Filed under: Web

One of my personal background tasks in the last couple of months has been finding sample applications to excercise Tarawa with. Although my load is high and I’ve only got a single processor - me - I’m still trying to push this.

One of those that I’ve been considering has been a blog engine, where each post has a URI and therefore a corresponding Resource instance, and so forth. One of my other goals has been to WebDAV enable Tarawa, so that it’s easy to not only expose a Web browser UI for applications, but also to expose a filesystem view for manipulation.

This makes sense in a number of ways; properly resource modeled Web applications are quite amenable to being manipuated with WebDAV, and people are used to working with files; they seem more tangible, and therefore people tend to trust them.

This doesn’t mean that the only UI for the blog engine will be WebDAV, just that it’ll be an option; you can submit a form or drag a new article into the WebDAV folder to publish a story. However, it’ll also allow you to do things that are difficult otherwise, like mass-recategorize entries with drag-and-drop, archive them offline, etc.

This is just one example; other obvious applications for WebDAVification might be address books (the app that originally started me thinking about Tarawa and HTTP server APIs in this light), online picture albums (obvious), Wikis, and I suspect a large number of other Web applications.

Why bring this up now? First of all, to get input and maybe even help. Secondly, I was surprised to hear someone else mention this last week (you know who you are!), so it seems that other people are thinking this way too. As I see it, the race is on, and I want to make sure that it’s done right; we can either have Web applications with facilities like WebDAV tacked on as an afterthought, or baked in deep and properly. No prizes for guessing which approach I prefer.

More to come: if I have some time and energy on the plane, I’ll put together a first stab at the structure of a Tarawa-based blog engine.

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