I mentioned it briefly the other day. I also commented in a bug regarding the topic. Darin Fisher now is inquiring about WebDAV in the workplace.
I thought I’d take a moment and expand on my thoughts regarding WebDAV:
First a little background on WebDAV. As stated on the website:
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.
It is also the subject of RFC 3744. So now everyone knows what it is.
Why do we need this protocol? Well, simply put, it has some advantages. Since it’s an extension of HTTP, it runs on port 80, which is universally open. As a result, it’s the preferred protocol in the workplace, since no new ports need to be opened to allow it to work. It works with most firewalls. Not every office allows FTP, or SMB. But most allow HTTP. Hence it’s got a sweet spot in every admin’s heart. It also means software developers targeting this market are looking at WebDAV seriously. Since WebDAV means it will most likely work in the office. There’s a reason Apple took WebDAV over FTP as the protocol of choice.
Take for example Stellent. I had the privilege of seeing this during a training last week. They use WebDAV to integrate content management with the desktop.
Now why should Mozilla do what Mac OS and Windows already do? To make Mozilla more diverse of a platform
Look at the strategy: Mozilla is flexible and extendable. Many companies have created products based on WebDAV, adding their own touches to WebDAV for added functionality. They could do so on the Mozilla platform, and run on all operating systems.
Mozilla could publish to WebDAV from products like Composer/NVU, and Calendar.
Mozilla could use WebDAV for remote profiles over HTTP. Allowing you perhaps to use your home profile while on the road.
Composer, Firefox, and Sunbird can all use a WebDAV component to their advantage. GoLive, Internet Explorer, and iCal, their respective competitors already support WebDAV.
So ultimately, we would have a cross platform product that could leverage WebDAV, allowing software developers to use extensions on Firefox to provide the functionality they do right now with Applications for Windows. This potentially has implications for Linux, since the workplace has been PC-zone for some time. This could open things up for platform independence.
Just my $0.02