WebNFS is a product and proposed standard protocol from Sun Microsystems that extends its Network File System (NFS) to the Internet. Sun believes WebNFS offers considerable performance advantages over the current Internet protocols, the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Netscape, Oracle, IBM, Apple, and Novell have announced support for WebNFS.
To use WebNFS, your Web browser needs a client and the Web or FTP server needs to have a WebNFS server. When requesting a file with WebNFS, your Internet address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) would look something like this:
WebNFS has several advantages over HTTP and FTP. The WebNFS protocol does not require the opening and closing of a connection for each requested file. Very large file downloads are supported and, because they are downloaded in sections, they can be resent more quickly in case the download is interrupted. A WebSoft client is included with Sun's thin-client Network Computer (NC). Sun Microsystems suggests that WebNFS may be a technology proposal to replace or be part of the next generation of HTTP, currently being worked on by members of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
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- What WebNFS Means to You , written in 1996 by Rahn Shah, a Sun consultant, is still a good introduction.