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.
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.