"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

ATOM or WebDAV: The Rest of the Story?

I do not have a deep understanding of either ATOM or WebDAV but on the surface they seem to overlap in their publishing capabilities. ATOM's does not extend HTTP but WebDAV's does. On the other hand ATOM uses some less well-supported HTTP verbs anyway, so does this point matter?

The ATOM publishing protocol is generating a lot of enthusiasm, even saving us from the WS-xxx. So are these two protocols distinct? When would one be preferred over the other?

What about content-specific issues, like calendars. CalDAV extends WebDAV. Does ATOM have enough not to be extended like this? Should WebDAV be extended like this?


fk said...

I think one important aspect of ATOM is that it runs at the web application level rather than the web server level. This means you can easily install and use a program that uses ATOM on any random web host, pretty much irregardless of what they run or what your permissions are. One place where this rationale is explicitly mentioned is Mark's old article about Atom authentication.

Mark Baker said...

The Atom protocol is an HTTP extension. Perhaps not as clearly so as WebDAV, since it doesn't add new operations (though that's been discussed, e.g. ERR), but an HTTP extension it is.

CalDAV is a red herring. We need calendar-specific operations in HTTP like we need a podcast-specific URI scheme.

Steve Jenson said...

Mark is right, I feel. After all, POST can act as the web's Hilbert Hotel -- you can always find room for more semantics in good ol' POST.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.