WebDav Basics

Posted on 2006-06-01
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I am brand new to WebDav and have some basic questions that hopefully someone can answer:
 - What is the primary purpose of WebDav
 - Can I use WebDav to open documents on an FTP site and then save back to the FTP site
 - What do I need to install in order to begin using WebDav

Our IIS server is Windows 2000.  Thanks.
Question by:TheChos
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    Not real familar with this, but some.

    From the source:

    What is WebDAV?
        Briefly: WebDAV stands for "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol which allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers.

    Q.          What are the major features and benefits?

    WebDAV provides a network protocol for creating interoperable, collaborative applications. Major features of the protocol include:

        * Locking (concurrency control): long-duration exclusive and shared write locks prevent the overwrite problem, where two or more collaborators write to the same resource without first merging changes. To achieve robust Internet-scale collaboration, where network connections may be disconnected arbitrarily, and for scalability, since each open connection consumes server resources, the duration of DAV locks is independent of any individual network connection.
        * Properties: XML properties provide storage for arbitrary metadata, such as a list of authors on Web resources. These properties can be efficiently set, deleted, and retrieved using the DAV protocol. DASL, the DAV Searching and Locating protocol, provides searches based on property values to locate Web resources.
        * Namespace manipulation: Since resources may need to be copied or moved as a Web site evolves, DAV supports copy and move operations. Collections, similar to file system directories, may be created and listed.

    I don't believe the WebDAV works over FTP:

    Q.          Why should I use DAV instead of FTP?

    Since DAV works over HTTP, you get all the benefits of HTTP that FTP cannot provide. For example: strong authentication, encryption, proxy support, and caching. It is true that you can get some of this through SSH, but the HTTP infrastructure is much more widely deployed than SSH. Further, SSH does not have the wide complement of tools, development libraries, and applications that HTTP does.

    DAV transfers (well, HTTP transfers) are also more efficient than FTP. You can pipeline multiple transfers through a single TCP connection, whereas FTP requires a new connection for each file transferred (plus the control connection).

    There is, however, a command line  tool similar to FTP that allows you to interact with WebDAV:


    There are other clients for DAV as well.  I think there is one called Goliath for Mac OS, and there is a a Java Based browser,

    With IE,  you can connect to a WebDAV server by going to File > Open and open as a web folder.

    To use just a client you need to find a client app to use or use IE.

    To use and configure a server is a little more difficult.  You need to have the dav module installed for your server (i.e. Apache) and you need to configure the conf file to allow DAV connections and to configure the permissions for directories.


    have some more information.

    Author Comment

    Excellent!  Thank you very much.

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