Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) adds an extra dimension to web publishing—collaboration. Currently, the most common practice of collaboration is decidedly low-tech: predominantly email, sometimes combined with distributed fileshares. This practice has proven to be very inconvenient and error-prone, with little or no control over the process. Consider an example of launching a multinational, multilingual web site for an automobile manufacturer. It’s easy to see the need for a robust system with secure, reliable publishing primitives, along with collaboration primitives such as locking and versioning.
WebDAV (published as RFC 2518) is focused on extending HTTP to provide a suitable platform for collaborative authoring. It currently is an IETF effort with support from various vendors, including Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, Novell, Oracle, and Xerox.
WebDAV defines a set of new HTTP methods and modifies the operational scope of a few other HTTP methods. The new methods added by WebDAV are:
Retrieves the properties of a resource.
Sets one or more properties on one or many resources.
Copies a resource or a collection of resources from a given source to a given destination. The destination need not be on the same machine.
Moves a resource or a collection of resources from a given source to a given destination. The destination need not be on the same machine.