An Overview of WebDAV and the Benefits of Using a WebDAV Client
Overview of WebDAV Protocol
Many cloud-based collaboration services use WebDAV protocol, or their own adaptations to enable their collaborative features. WebDAV is short for Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning and was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in the 2007 RFC 4918.
The key advantage of WebDAV vs. FTP and other file transfer protocols is the inclusion of properties such as author and modification time of a document in its metadata. This facilitates the WebDAV locking feature, sometimes referred to as DAV locking.
The locking feature blocks the write permission for everyone but the person currently editing a file. This feature prevents overwrite conflicts, and it allows a resource to be occupied by one user only at a time. One user cannot overwrite another user’s edits; the person who opened the document first has the edit rights. Furthermore, WebDAV can display who last edited a file, which is very useful for administrators and support teams.
Benefits of using WebDAV Clients
So what is a WebDAV Client? Much like FTP clients, WebDAV clients connect users to a web server so they can upload and download files. WebDAV clients also enable users to edit and collaborate on files on a WebDAV server.
WebDAV is extremely beneficial in a corporate setting, particularly with corporate Sharepoint servers or other WebDAV-based corporate servers. This is because it allows for a frictionless transition from individual to collaborative work- multiple users can edit the same file remotely without worry of overwriting one another.
Some cloud services have proprietary protocols that are extensions to WebDAV, so products like WebDrive support standard WebDAV, as well as the specific cloud services that use proprietary protocols. This lets the user access corporate and cloud servers through a single interface. And since WebDrive maps a network drive letter, users can access all of these services through the convenience of Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Files are also accessible through the applications that users rely on every day.
Popular Services that use WebDAV
Services such as SharePoint, SharePoint Online, MyDocsOnline, and Synology all use WebDAV. A WebDAV client, like WebDrive, lets you access your remote storage as though it were right on your desktop. With WebDrive, you can easily map a network drive to your remote storage service and connect via WebDAV. Then, assign a drive letter (W, for example) to your storage, so you can simply click and access all of your files from the familiar interface of your Mac Finder or Windows Explorer.
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