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WebDAV
Frequently Asked Questions

Overview of WebDAV

  1. What is WebDAV and what does it do?
  2. Who needs to know about WebDAV?
  3. How will WebDAV change the way I manage my Web site?

Setting Up and Using WebDAV

  1. How do I use WebDAV?
  2. What do I do once I've installed the WebDAV-enabled software?
  3. Will my computer support WebDAV?
  4. Will WebDAV let me access the entire site?
  5. I received an error in DreamWeaver that said "The desired action could not be completedů" What does this mean?

Overview of WebDAV

1. What is WebDAV and what does it do?
WebDAV ("Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning") is a computer-to-computer communications protocol that allows site administrators and site content editors to access and edit files on a remote Web server without first needing to download them to their local computer. In other words, WebDAV allows your computer to access a remote Web server as though it were actually part of your local computer.

2. Who needs to know about WebDAV?
WebDAV is replacing both WebSpinner and FTP as the primary method of access for all OIT Web Hosting sites. If your site is on Web Hosting, you should know about WebDAV. Likewise, if you have a site on InforM and are moving to Web Hosting or to www.umd.edu, you should know about WebDAV.

3. How will WebDAV change the way I manage my Web site?
Using WebDAV means you won't need to use WebSpinner or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to manage your files.

There are two ways to use WebDAV:

  1. The first way works much like FTP. You can download files to your local drive for editing and post them back to the server when you are finished. This technique allows users to lock files on the server while they are editing them, which prevents other users from changing the files until the first user is finished. This is useful for sites where many people are editing simultaneously.

  2. The second technique works much like a network drive. You access files on the server just like any other files on your local area network (LAN). The server is mapped to a new drive letter on your computer, like N:/, M:/, or S:/. This technique allows you to edit files "in place", without downloading and uploading. This technique requires additional software, which can be acquired for no cost for either Mac or PC - see "How do I use WebDAV?" below.

Setting Up and Using WebDAV

4. How do I use WebDAV?
To start using WebDAV (and stop using WebSpinner or FTP), you'll need to install WebDAV-enabled software on your computer. There are two kinds of software available:

  1. Free "drive-mapping" software (including WebDrive, Goliath and DAVfs), which is available at https://www.helpdesk.umd.edu/software/webdav/. These applications will allow you to access and edit remote files as though they were on your own computer (i.e., local). To create or edit those files you can use the software tool of your choice, including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, FrontPage, etc.

  2. DreamWeaver 4 (with the patch available at https://www.helpdesk.umd.edu/software/webdav/) or DreamWeaver MX, either of which must be purchased from Software Licensing (http://www.oit.umd.edu/slic) or another authorized vendor. DreamWeaver's WebDAV support is similar to FTP and doesn't require the installation of additional software (i.e. WebDrive, etc.). However, without the addition of a drive-mapping application like WebDrive, your access to remote files will be limited to DreamWeaver. Other applications such as Photoshop and FrontPage won't be able to access the files.

Other DAV-enabled software may be used, but only the four tools mentioned above are supported by OIT.

5. What do I do once I've installed the WebDAV-enabled software?
Use the software to connect to the remote server. To do this, you'll need to provide the following information:

Site name Use a descriptive name for the site you want to manage, like English Department or english.umd.edu. Note: this is a local name only and does not have to reflect the actual domain name.
Site Address/URL You'll need to tell the software where to go on the Internet to find your site is. (It's not quite the same location as you'd type into your Web browser.) For example, if your site can be accessed with a Web browser at http://www.my_site.umd.edu, the software will need to go to https://dav.webhosting.umd.edu/my_site/htdocs.
Server Type: Select "WebDAV"
Username This will be your University Directory ID
Password This will be your Directory password

Once you've done this, the remote server should be listed on your computer as though it were a networked drive.

6. Will my computer support WebDAV?
To make use of the WebDAV system, your computer must be able to accommodate drive-mapping software, Dreamweaver 4.0 or Dreamweaver MX. The table below outlines the system requirements necessary to support either method.

Operating System Requirements for Drive-Mapping Software Requirements for Dreamweaver 4.0/MX
Windows
  • Operating System: Windows 98, ME, NT v4.0 (Workstation or Server), Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista
  • Processor: Pentium class processor or better
  • Memory: 32MB RAM
  • Disk Space: Minimum 40MB free disk space
  • Internet Connection: Either a direct Internet connection or a modem with a minimum baud rate of 28.8 (56K is recommended)
  • Network Components: Microsoft's 32-bit TCP/IP networking component
  • Intel Pentium II processor or equivalent 300+ MHz
  • Windows 98, 2000, NT, ME or XP
  • Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater
  • 96 MB of available RAM (128 MB recommended)
  • 275 MB available disk space
  • 256 color monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended)
Macintosh PowerPC based Macintosh running MacOS 8.1 or higher to run Goliath. The Carbon version of Goliath requires Mac OS X version 10.0.4 or greater.
  • Power Mac G3 or better
  • Mac OS 9.1 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.1 or higher
  • Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 4.0 or later
  • 96 MB of RAM (128 MB recommended)
  • 275 MB available disk space
  • 256 color monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended. Thousands of colors required for OS X.)
Linux Linux users can download (and learn more about) DAVfs from https://www.helpdesk.umd.edu/software/webdav/.

7. Will WebDAV let me access the entire site?
Yes, with proper permissions. By default, the site administrator has access to the entire site, including the htdocs and cgi-bin folders. Other users may have their access restricted to relevant portions of the site, depending on their needs. Restrictions like these are entirely at the discretion of the site administrator and are not controlled by OIT. Web Hosting can work with administrators to transfer their WebSpinner user access records to WebDAV automatically. If a content provider is given access to multiple dirctories, they may have to configure multiple profiles, one for each directory to which they have access.

8. I received an error in DreamWeaver that said "The desired action could not be completedů" What does this mean?
This message may appear if you're using DreamWeaver and trying to download an entire site. It happens because some folders on the remote server contain hidden files that you don't have permission to access. To override the error message, click "OK".

 

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Last modified November 19, 2007

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