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The MOVE operation on a non-collection resource is the logical equivalent of a copy (COPY), followed by consistency maintenance processing, followed by a delete of the source, where all three actions are performed in a single operation. The consistency maintenance step allows the server to perform updates caused by the move, such as updating all URLs, other than the Request-URI that identifies the source resource, to point to the new destination resource.

The Destination header MUST be present on all MOVE methods and MUST follow all COPY requirements for the COPY part of the MOVE method. All WebDAV-compliant resources MUST support the MOVE method.

Support for the MOVE method does not guarantee the ability to move a resource to a particular destination. For example, separate programs may actually control different sets of resources on the same server. Therefore, it may not be possible to move a resource within a namespace that appears to belong to the same server.

If a resource exists at the destination, the destination resource will be deleted as a side-effect of the MOVE operation, subject to the restrictions of the Overwrite header.

This method is idempotent, but not safe (see Section 9.1 of [RFC2616]). Responses to this method MUST NOT be cached.

MOVE for Properties

Live properties described in this document SHOULD be moved along with the resource, such that the resource has identically behaving live properties at the destination resource, but not necessarily with the same values. Note that some live properties are defined such that the absence of the property has a specific meaning (e.g., a flag with one meaning if present, and the opposite if absent), and in these cases, a successful MOVE might result in the property being reported as "Not Found" in subsequent requests. If the live properties will not work the same way at the destination, the server MAY fail the request.

MOVE is frequently used by clients to rename a file without changing its parent collection, so it's not appropriate to reset all live properties that are set at resource creation. For example, the DAV:creationdate property value SHOULD remain the same after a MOVE.

Dead properties MUST be moved along with the resource.

MOVE for Collections

A MOVE with "Depth: infinity" instructs that the collection identified by the Request-URI be moved to the address specified in the Destination header, and all resources identified by its internal member URLs are to be moved to locations relative to it, recursively through all levels of the collection hierarchy.

The MOVE method on a collection MUST act as if a "Depth: infinity" header was used on it. A client MUST NOT submit a Depth header on a MOVE on a collection with any value but "infinity".

Any headers included with MOVE MUST be applied in processing every resource to be moved with the exception of the Destination header. The behavior of the Destination header is the same as given for COPY on collections.

When the MOVE method has completed processing, it MUST have created a consistent URL namespace at both the source and destination (see Section 5.1 for the definition of namespace consistency). However, if an error occurs while moving an internal collection, the server MUST NOT move any resources identified by members of the failed collection (i.e., the server must skip the error-causing subtree), as this would create an inconsistent namespace. In this case, after detecting the error, the move operation SHOULD try to finish as much of the original move as possible (i.e., the server should still attempt to move other subtrees and the resources identified by their members that are not descendants of an error-causing collection). So, for example, if an infinite-depth move is performed on collection /a/, which contains collections /a/b/ and /a/c/, and an error occurs moving /a/b/, an attempt should still be made to try moving /a/c/. Similarly, after encountering an error moving a non-collection resource as part of an infinite-depth move, the server SHOULD try to finish as much of the original move operation as possible.

If an error occurs with a resource other than the resource identified in the Request-URI, then the response MUST be a 207 (Multi-Status), and the errored resource's URL MUST appear with the specific error.

The 424 (Failed Dependency) status code SHOULD NOT be returned in the 207 (Multi-Status) response from a MOVE method. These errors can be safely omitted because the client will know that the progeny of a resource could not be moved when the client receives an error for the parent. Additionally, 201 (Created)/204 (No Content) responses SHOULD NOT be returned as values in 207 (Multi-Status) responses from a MOVE. These responses can be safely omitted because they are the default success codes.

MOVE and the Overwrite Header

If a resource exists at the destination and the Overwrite header is "T", then prior to performing the move, the server MUST perform a DELETE with "Depth: infinity" on the destination resource. If the Overwrite header is set to "F", then the operation will fail.

Status Codes

In addition to the general status codes possible, the following status codes have specific applicability to MOVE:

201 (Created) - The source resource was successfully moved, and a new URL mapping was created at the destination.

204 (No Content) - The source resource was successfully moved to a URL that was already mapped.

207 (Multi-Status) - Multiple resources were to be affected by the MOVE, but errors on some of them prevented the operation from taking place. Specific error messages, together with the most appropriate of the source and destination URLs, appear in the body of the multi-status response. For example, if a source resource was locked and could not be moved, then the source resource URL appears with the 423 (Locked) status.

403 (Forbidden) - Among many possible reasons for forbidding a MOVE operation, this status code is recommended for use when the source and destination resources are the same.

409 (Conflict) - A resource cannot be created at the destination until one or more intermediate collections have been created. The server MUST NOT create those intermediate collections automatically. Or, the server was unable to preserve the behavior of the live properties and still move the resource to the destination (see 'preserved-live-properties' postcondition).

412 (Precondition Failed) - A condition header failed. Specific to MOVE, this could mean that the Overwrite header is "F" and the destination URL is already mapped to a resource.

423 (Locked) - The source or the destination resource, the source or destination resource parent, or some resource within the source or destination collection, was locked. This response SHOULD contain the 'lock-token-submitted' precondition element.

502 (Bad Gateway) - This may occur when the destination is on another server and the destination server refuses to accept the resource. This could also occur when the destination is on another sub-section of the same server namespace.

Example - MOVE of a Non-Collection

This example shows resource being moved to the location The contents of the destination resource would have been overwritten if the destination URL was already mapped to a resource. In this case, since there was nothing at the destination resource, the response code is 201 (Created).


  MOVE /~fielding/index.html HTTP/1.1 
  Destination: http://www.example/users/f/fielding/index.html 


  HTTP/1.1 201 Created 

Example - MOVE of a Collection


  MOVE /container/ HTTP/1.1 
  Overwrite: F 
  If: (<urn:uuid:fe184f2e-6eec-41d0-c765-01adc56e6bb4>) 


  HTTP/1.1 207 Multi-Status 
  Content-Type: application/xml; charset="utf-8" 
  Content-Length: xxxx 
  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 
  <d:multistatus xmlns:d='DAV:'> 
      <d:status>HTTP/1.1 423 Locked</d:status> 

In this example, the client has submitted a number of lock tokens with the request. A lock token will need to be submitted for every resource, both source and destination, anywhere in the scope of the method, that is locked. In this case, the proper lock token was not submitted for the destination This means that the resource /container/C2/ could not be moved. Because there was an error moving /container/C2/, none of /container/C2's members were moved. However, no errors were listed for those members due to the error minimization rules. User agent authentication has previously occurred via a mechanism outside the scope of the HTTP protocol, in an underlying transport layer.

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