[Docs] [txt|pdf] [draft-reschke-web...] [Diff1] [Diff2]

EXPERIMENTAL

Network Working Group                                         J. Reschke
Request for Comments: 4316                                    greenbytes
Category: Experimental                                     December 2005


    Datatypes for Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV)
                               Properties

Status of This Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
   Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).

Abstract

   This specification extends the Web Distributed Authoring and
   Versioning Protocol (WebDAV) to support datatyping.  Protocol
   elements are defined to let clients and servers specify the datatype,
   and to instruct the WebDAV method PROPFIND to return datatype
   information.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
   2. Notational Conventions ..........................................2
   3. Overview ........................................................3
   4. Changes for PROPPATCH Method ....................................4
      4.1. Example of Successful PROPPATCH ............................4
      4.2. Example of Failed PROPPATCH ................................5
      4.3. Example of Successful PROPPATCH Where Type
           Information Was Not Preserved ..............................6
   5. Changes for PROPFIND Method .....................................7
      5.1. Example of PROPFIND/prop ...................................7
   6. Changes for Other Methods .......................................8
   7. Compatibility Considerations ....................................8
   8. Internationalization Considerations .............................9
   9. Security Considerations .........................................9
   10. Acknowledgements ...............................................9
   11. References .....................................................9
      11.1. Normative References ......................................9
      11.2. Informative References ....................................9




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1.  Introduction

   This specification builds on the infrastructure provided by the Web
   Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) Protocol, adding
   support for data-typed properties.

   Although servers must support XML content in property values, it may
   be desirable to persist values as scalar values when possible and to
   expose the data's type when the property value is returned to the
   client.  The client is free to ignore this information, but it may be
   able to take advantage of it when modifying a property.

   On the other hand, when setting new properties, it can be desirable
   to pass datatype information along with the value.  A server can take
   advantage of this information to optimize storage and to perform
   additional parsing (for instance, of dates).  Servers that support
   searching can also take advantage of known datatypes when doing
   comparisons and sorting.

   The following potential datatyping-related features were deliberately
   considered out of scope:

   o  getting "schema" information for classes of resources (set of
      "required" properties, their types, display information),

   o  definition of a set of mandatory property types,

   o  discovery of supported property types,

   o  extensions to PROPPATCH that would allow updates to parts of a
      (structured) property.

2.  Notational Conventions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

   The term "property element" refers to the XML element that identifies
   a particular property, for instance,

        <getcontentlength xmlns="DAV:" />

   The term "prop element" is used for the WebDAV "prop" element as
   defined in Section 12.11 of [RFC2518].

   The XML representation of schema components uses a vocabulary
   identified by the namespace name "http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema".



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   For brevity, the text and examples in this specification use the
   prefix "xs:" to stand for this namespace; in practice, any prefix can
   be used.  "XML Schema Part 1: Structures" ([XS1]) also defines
   several attributes for direct use in any XML documents.  These
   attributes are in a different namespace named
   "http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance".  For brevity, the text
   and examples in this specification use the prefix "xsi:" to stand for
   this latter namespace; in practice, any prefix can be used.

3.  Overview

   Although WebDAV property types can be anything that can be marshaled
   as content of an XML element, in many cases they actually are simple
   types like integers, booleans, or dates.  "XML Schema Part 2:
   Datatypes" [XS2] defines a set of simple types that can be used as a
   basis for supplying type information to attributes.

   Datatype information is represented using the attribute "type" from
   the XML Schema namespace "http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance".
   In XML Schema, datatypes are qualified names, and the XML Schema
   recommendation defines a set of built-in datatypes (Section 3 of
   [XS2]), defined in the namespace "http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema".

   To avoid unnecessary verbosity, datatype information should only be
   supplied if it adds usable information to the protocol.  In
   particular, type information is not required for live properties
   defined in WebDAV [RFC2518] and for properties of type "xs:string".

   A server may implement any combination of datatypes, both from the
   XML Schema recommendation and possibly from other namespaces.

   Note that a particular property can be typed for a number of reasons:

   o  The property is a live property with server-defined semantics and
      value space.

   o  The property may have been set using a non-WebDAV protocol that
      the server understands in addition to WebDAV.

   o  The type may have been specified in an extended PROPPATCH method
      as defined in Section 4.










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4.  Changes for PROPPATCH Method

   If the property element has an XML attribute named "xsi:type", the
   server may use this information to select an optimized representation
   for storing the property value.  For instance, by specifying a type
   as "xs:boolean", the client declares the property value to be of type
   boolean (as defined in [XS2]).  The server may choose any suitable
   internal format for persisting this property, and in particular is
   allowed to fail the request if the format given does not fit the
   format defined for this type.

   The server should indicate successful detection and parsing of the
   typed value by setting the xsi:type attribute on the property element
   in the response body (this implies that it should return a
   MULTISTATUS status code and a <multistatus> response body).

4.1.  Example of Successful PROPPATCH

   >>Request

   PROPPATCH /bar.html HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:propertyupdate xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:set>
       <D:prop>
         <Z:released xsi:type="xs:boolean">false</Z:released>
       </D:prop>
     </D:set>
   </D:propertyupdate>

   >>Response

   HTTP/1.1 207 Multi-Status
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:multistatus xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">



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     <D:response>
       <D:href>http://example.org/bar.html</D:href>
       <D:propstat>
         <D:prop><Z:released xsi:type="xs:boolean" /></D:prop>
         <D:status>HTTP/1.1 200 OK</D:status>
       </D:propstat>
     </D:response>
   </D:multistatus>

   In this case, the xsi:type attribute on the element "Z:released"
   indicates that the server indeed has understood the submitted data
   type information.

4.2.  Example of Failed PROPPATCH

   >>Request

   PROPPATCH /bar.html HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:propertyupdate xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:set>
       <D:prop>
         <Z:released xsi:type="xs:boolean">t</Z:released>
       </D:prop>
     </D:set>
   </D:propertyupdate>

   >>Response

   HTTP/1.1 207 Multi-Status
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:multistatus xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:response>
       <D:href>http://example.org/bar.html</D:href>
       <D:propstat>
         <D:prop><Z:released/></D:prop>
         <D:status>HTTP/1.1 422 Unprocessable Entity</D:status>



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         <D:responsedescription>
           Does not parse as xs:boolean
         </D:responsedescription>
       </D:propstat>
     </D:response>
   </D:multistatus>

   In this case, the request failed because the supplied value "t" is
   not a valid representation for a boolean value.

   Note that similar error conditions can occur in the standard WebDAV
   protocol even though no datatype was specified: for instance, when a
   client tries to set a live property for which only a certain value
   space is allowed.

4.3.  Example of Successful PROPPATCH Where Type Information Was Not
      Preserved

   >>Request

   PROPPATCH /bar.html HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:propertyupdate xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:set>
       <D:prop>
         <Z:released xsi:type="Z:custom">t</Z:released>
       </D:prop>
     </D:set>
   </D:propertyupdate>

   >>Response

   HTTP/1.1 207 Multi-Status
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:multistatus xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:response>
       <D:href>http://example.org/bar.html</D:href>



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       <D:propstat>
         <D:prop><Z:released/></D:prop>
         <D:status>HTTP/1.1 200 OK</D:status>
       </D:propstat>
     </D:response>
   </D:multistatus>

   In this case, the request succeeded, but the server did not know how
   to handle the datatype "Z:custom".  Therefore, no datatype
   information was returned in the response body.

5.  Changes for PROPFIND Method

   PROPFIND is extended to return the datatype information for
   properties by adding "xsi:type" attributes to the property elements
   unless one of the following conditions is met:

   o  The datatype MUST be different from "xs:string" (because this can
      be considered the default datatype).

   o  The property's datatype MUST NOT be defined in [RFC2518] (because
      these types are already well-defined).

5.1.  Example of PROPFIND/prop

   >>Request

   PROPFIND /bar.html HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   <D:propfind xmlns:D="DAV:"
     xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50">
     <D:prop>
       <D:getcontenttype/>
       <Z:released/>
     </D:prop>
   </D:propfind>

   >>Response

   HTTP/1.1 207 Multi-Status
   Content-Type: text/xml; charset="utf-8"
   Content-Length: xxxx

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>



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   <D:multistatus xmlns:D="DAV:"
      xmlns:Z="http://ns.example.org/standards/z39.50"
      xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
      xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
     <D:response>
       <D:href>http://example.org/bar.html</D:href>
       <D:propstat>
         <D:prop>
           <D:getcontenttype>text/html</D:getcontenttype>
           <Z:released xsi:type="xs:boolean">1</Z:released>
         </D:prop>
         <D:status>HTTP/1.1 200 OK</D:status>
       </D:propstat>
     </D:response>
   </D:multistatus>

   This example shows that the property value "true" is returned with
   the correct datatype information and that the server chose one of the
   two possible representations defined in XML Schema.  It also shows
   that datatype information is not returned for "D:getcontenttype", as
   this property's datatype is already defined in [RFC2518].

6.  Changes for Other Methods

   Servers that support other methods using the DAV:multistatus response
   format (such as the REPORT method defined in [RFC3253], Section 3.6)
   SHOULD apply the same extensions as defined in Section 5.

7.  Compatibility Considerations

   This part of this specification does not introduce any new protocol
   elements, nor does it change the informal WebDAV DTD.  It merely
   specifies additional server semantics for the case where clients
   submit additional datatype information in an attribute on the
   property element (previously undefined), and adds an additional
   attribute on property elements upon PROPFIND.

   Clients not aware of datatype handling should not supply the "xsi:
   type" attribute on property elements (after all, this attribute
   belongs to the XML Schema-Instance namespace, which has been defined
   for exactly this purpose; see [XS1], Section 2.6.1).  Old clients
   should also ignore additional attributes on property elements
   returned by PROPFIND (and similar methods), although the WebDAV
   specification only defines this behaviour for unknown elements and is
   silent about unknown attributes (see [RFC2518], Section 23.3.2.2).

   Servers not aware of datatype handling either drop the "xsi:type"
   attribute or have it persist along with the property value (see



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   [RFC2518], Section 4.4).  However, they will never indicate
   successful parsing of the datatype by returning back the type in the
   response to PROPPATCH.  Thus, clients can supply type information
   without having to poll for server support in advance.

8.  Internationalization Considerations

   This proposal builds on [RFC2518] and inherits its
   internationalizability.

9.  Security Considerations

   This protocol extension does not introduce any new security
   implications beyond those documented for the base protocol (see
   [RFC2518], Section 17).

10.  Acknowledgements

   This document has benefited from thoughtful discussion by Lisa
   Dusseault, Stefan Eissing, Eric Sedlar, and Kevin Wiggen.

11.  References

11.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2518]  Goland, Y., Whitehead, E., Faizi, A., Carter, S., and D.
              Jensen, "HTTP Extensions for Distributed Authoring --
              WEBDAV", RFC 2518, February 1999.

   [XS1]      Thompson, H., Beech, D., Maloney, M., Mendelsohn, N., and
              World Wide Web Consortium, "XML Schema Part 1: Structures
              Second Edition", W3C REC-xmlschema-1-20041028,
              October 2004,
              <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-1-20041028/>.

   [XS2]      Biron, P., Malhotra, A., and World Wide Web Consortium,
              "XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes Second Edition", W3C REC-
              xmlschema-2-20041028, October 2004,
              <http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-2-20041028/>.

11.2.  Informative References

   [RFC3253]  Clemm, G., Amsden, J., Ellison, T., Kaler, C., and J.
              Whitehead, "Versioning Extensions to WebDAV", RFC 3253,
              March 2002.



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Author's Address

   Julian F. Reschke
   greenbytes GmbH
   Hafenweg 16
   Muenster, NW  48155
   Germany

   Phone: +49 251 2807760
   Fax:   +49 251 2807761
   EMail: julian.reschke@greenbytes.de
   URI:   http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/







































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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
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Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.







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