Web Versioning and Configuration Management

Document Charter Web Versioning and Configuration Management WG (deltav)
Title Web Versioning and Configuration Management
Last updated 2002-03-10
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD (None)
Charter Edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


This working group will define extensions to HTTP and the WebDAV 
Distributed Authoring Protocol necessary to enable distributed Web 
authoring tools to perform, in an interoperable manner, versioning and 
configuration management of Web resources.

Versioning, parallel development, and configuration management are 
important features for remote authoring of Web content. Version 
management is concerned with tracking and accessing the history of 
important states of a single Web resource, such as a stand alone Web 
page. Parallel development provides additional resource availability in 
multi-user, distributed environments, allowing authors the choice of 
making independent changes on the same resource at the same time, later 
merging together those changes. Configuration management addresses the 
problems of tracking and accessing multiple interrelated resources over 
time as sets of resources, not simply individual resources. 
Traditionally, artifacts of software development, including code, 
design, test cases, requirements, help files, and more have been a
focus of configuration management. Web sites, comprised of multiple 
inter-linked resources (HTML, graphics, sound, CGI, and others), are 
another important class of complex information artifacts that benefit 
from the application of configuration management.

The WebDAV working group originally focused on defining version 
management capabilities for remote authoring applications. However, it 
has become clear that while versioning functionality alone is useful
for a range of content authoring scenarios involving one, or a small
set of resources, versioning alone is insufficient for managing larger 
sets of content. Support for parallel development and simple remote 
configuration management of Web resources provides needed functionality 
for managing larger sets of interrelated content developed by multiple 
users at different locations. A standard protocol for accesing such 
services will ensure interoperability between many clients and many 

A sub-group of the WebDAV working group has developed functional 
requirements for versioning and configuration management of Web
content. These requirements encompass the following capabilities, which 
shall be considered by this working group:


- Naming and accessing resource versions and configurations

- Creating new revisions of a resource

- Placing a resource under version and configuration control
- Parallel development

- History retrieval

- Differencing

- Merging of revisions and configurations

- Operations on configurations

- Mapping resource versions and configurations to the URL namespace
- Versioning support for downlevel HTTP and WebDAV clients

Further information on these objectives can be found in the document, 
"Goals for Web Versioning".


HTTP server to server communication protocols

Development process management, workflow, or change request management

Versioning and configuration management via non-HTTP and WebDAV

Implementation of functionality by non-origin proxies


The following documents are expected to form the final output of this 
working group.

1. A goals document, which describes the high-level functional
   requirements for remote versioning and configuration management, 
   including rationale.

2. A protocol specification, which describes new HTTP methods, headers,
   request bodies, response bodies, and WebDAV properties to
   implement the remote versioning and configuration management goals.