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A namespace is a set of paths with a common prefix. Depending on the endpoint you are talking to you will encounter a different kind of namespace: In ownCloud 10 all paths are considered relative to the users home. The CS3 API uses a global namespace and the storage providers use a local namespace with paths relative to the storage providers root.

storage home
storage home
oc10 namespace
(all paths aere relative to the users home)
oc10 names...
CS3 global namespace
CS3 global...
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The different paths in the namespaces need to be translated while passing references from service to service. While the oc10 endpoints all work on paths we internally reference shared resources by id, so the shares don’t break when a file is renamed or moved inside a storage space. The following table lists the various namespaces, paths and id based references:

oc10 namespace CS3 global namespace storage provider reference content
/webdav/path/to/file.ext /dav/files/<username>/path/to/file.ext /home/path/to/file.ext home /<user_layout>/path/to/file.ext currently logged in users home
/webdav/Shares/foo /dav/files/<username>/Shares/foo /home/Shares/foo users id based access all users, used to access collaborative shares
/dav/public-files/<token>/rel/path/to/file.ext /public/<token>/rel/path/to/file.ext public id based access publicly shared files, used to access public links
oCIS currently is configured to jail users into the CS3 /home namespace in the oc10 endpoints to mimic ownCloud 10. CernBox has been exposing a global namespace on /webdav for years already. The ocs service returns urls that are relative to the CS3 global namespace which makes both scenarios work, but only one of them at a time. Which is why the testsuite hiccups when trying to Allow full paths targets in reva#1605.
In the global CS3 namespaces we plan to move /home/Shares, which currently lists all mounted shares of the currently logged in user to a dedicated /shares namespace. See below and Move shares folder out from home directory to a separate mount reva#1584.

ownCloud namespaces

In contrast to the global namespace of CS3, ownCloud always presented a user specific namespace on all endpoints. It will always list the users private files under /. Shares can be mounted at an arbitrary location in the users private spaces. See the webdav and ocs sections for more details end examples.

With the spaces concept we are planning to introduce a global namespace to the ownCloud webdav endpoints. This will push the users private space down in the hierarchy: it will move from /webdav to /webdav/home or /webdav/users/<username>. The related migration stages are subject to change.

CS3 global namespaces

The CS3 global namespace in oCIS is configured in the storage spaces registry. oCIS uses these defaults:

global namespace description
/home an alias for the currently logged in uses private space
/users/<user_layout> user private spaces
/shares a virtual listing of share spaces a user has access to
/public/<token> a virtual folder listing public shares
/spaces/<spacename> TODO: project or group spaces

Technically, the /home namespace is not necessary: the storage spaces registry knows the path to a users private space in the /users namespace and the gateway can forward the requests to the responsible storage provider.

*@jfd: Why don’t we use /home/<user_layout> instead of /users/<user_layout>. Then the paths would be consistent with most unix systems.

The /shares namespace is used to solve two problems:

  • To query all shares the current user has access to the share manager can be used to list the resource ids. While the shares can then be navigated by resource id, they will return the relative path in the actual storage provider, leaking parent folders of the shared resource.
  • When accepting a remote share e.g., for OCM the resource does not exist on the local instance. They are made accessible in the global namespace under the /shares namespace.
@jfd: Should we split /shares into /collaborations, /ocm and /links? We also have /public which uses token based authentication. They may have different latencies or polling strategies? Well, I guess we can cache them differently regardless of the mount point.

Browser URLs vs API URLs

In ownCloud 10 you can not only create public links but also private links. Both can be copy pasted into an email or chat to grant others access to a file. Most often though, end users will copy and paste the URL from their browsers location bar.

URL description
https://demo.owncloud.com/apps/files/?dir=/Photos/Vacation&fileid=24 The normal browser URL
https://demo.owncloud.com/apps/files/?fileid=24 the dir is actually not used to find the directory and will be filled when pasting this URL
https://demo.owncloud.com/f/24 private links are the shortened version of this and workh in the same way
https://demo.owncloud.com/s/piLdAAt1m3Bg0Fk public link

The dir parameter alone cannot be used to look up the directory, because the path for a file may be different depending on the currently logged in user:

  • User A shares his /path/to/Photos with User X.
  • User B shares his /other/path/to/Photos with User X and Y.
  • User A shares his /path/to/Photos with User Y.

(Depending on the order in which they accept the shares) X and Y now have two folders /shares/Photos and /shares/Photos (1). But if they were to copy paste a link with that path in the URL and if the directory were only looked up by path X and Y would end up in different folders.

You could argue that the path should always use a global path in the CS3 namespace:

  • User A shares his /users/a/path/to/Photos with User X.
  • User B shares his /users/b/other/path/to/Photos with User X and Y.
  • User A shares his /users/a/path/to/Photos with User Y.

By using a global path like this X and Y would always end up in the correct folder. However, there are two caveats:

  • This only works for resources that reside on the instance (because only they have unique and global path). Shares from other instances need to be identified by id, or they cannot be uniquely addressed
  • User A may not want to leak path path/to segments leading to Photos. They might contain things like low-priority or personal data.

That is the reason why URLs always have to contain some kind of stable identifier. By introducing the concept of storage spaces and treating user homes, project drives and shares we can create a URL that contains an identifier for the storage space and a path relative to the root of it.

In ocis we will unify the way links sharing works, however there will always be at least two types of URLs:

  1. the URL you see in the browsers location bar, and
  2. the URL that a client uses to actually access a file.