Deprecation: WebDAV Support

Box Employee

We constantly work to improve the user experience on Box, and sometimes that means removing functionality to make room for an even better product.  Please review the features below that will retire in the coming months and find additional support information in these notices.

 

WebDAV Support

  • On Jan 31, 2019, we will deprecate support for WebDAV. If you are connecting to Box using a WebDAV client, you will see connection errors and will no longer be able to view or access your content on Box through your WebDAV client.
  • We recommend that customers currently using WebDAV migrate to an alternative Box tool at their earliest convenience. Box Drive or the Box WebApp may be suitable alternatives based on the use case.
Comments
First-time Contributor

What is the alternative for mounting a box folder on a linux host?

New Contributor

@rcrum003 Linux is an important part of our Enterprise environment, too.  This page from Indiana University has a couple suggestions for alternate ways to connect to Box from Linux:

https://uisapp2.iu.edu/confluence-prd/display/SOICKB/Using+Box+under+Linux

First-time Contributor

Webdav is the only way we have to scan documents from our copiers directly to Box.  This is going to be a HUGE problem for us.

jkk
First-time Contributor

Currently, we share and access coworers' and external partners' outlook calendars on iOS devices by storing .ics files in Box and accessing them through webdav. What would be an alternative way to ascertain that we can share calendars on iOS?

Box Certified Professional

We have same issues as what @Mtroy explained above.

We use WebDAV to scan documents from Canon MFPs (about 100 machines in multiple offices and warehouses) to Box. It will be a huge problem since the machines only support WebDAV. Please work with MFP manufacturer to solve the problem or provide alternative solution.

New Contributor

Also check if your canon MFP supports SMB/Windows Shares. You could mount them with a UNC path and create a sftp batch script to upload them.

New Contributor

Can someone at Box (maybe @sklein?) comment on the rationale for deprecating WebDAV support?  Are there security concerns similar to those driving the decision to deprecate TLS 1.0?

Occasional Contributor

The page at IU mainly lists methods that employ WebDAV one way or another. Basically, they're killing the tiny Linux support they already have. (The FTPS app no longer works for me properly either.)

It's really distressing how little Box cares about Linux users. I'm going to be doing everything in my power to convince our IT department to look for a different cloud storage provider.

New Contributor

@frabjous I agree that any form of native Linux support from Box would be an improvement. However, the lftp method still works for me, and would probably be scriptable. Check with your Box Admin to see whether they have made the "Box FTP Server" app unavailable.

Have you looked into rclone? I just installed it today. At first glance, it looks like it uses the Box API rather than WebDAV to talk to Box. I may be wrong about that.

Occasional Contributor
I tried rclone, but apparently my administrator has made it unavailable
because I was unable to get the oath2 key -- it may have been them who
disabled the ftp app as well since that had been working until a couple
days ago. I've already written to complain.
First-time Contributor

Like others, we have a number of MFPs that use WebDAV for Box. We have a heterogeneous environment of MFPs and the Canon solutions may work for Canon but not for our Minolta BizHUBs or HP devices and many others. We also have several people who use iOS apps that don’t have “native” Box integrations. Those that do have native Box integrations are great but, again, we have a heterogeneous environment where people have created workflows around WebDAV. If it’s going to be deprecated, beef up external, direct file transfer (eg, not Box Sync or Box drive) so we can get content in and out with our custom tools and scripts. Like others have mentioned, FTP and FTPS can seem flaky too. 

First-time Contributor

We just signed a contract with Box and are in the initial stages of the deployment right now.  Our linux users tested the various method of access (ftp, etc) and the only one that worked acceptably with reasonable speed was WebDAV. Now, right after signing the contract we're told that the minimal support for Linux users is being further diminished. This isn't acceptable when there is nothing that reasonably replaces this functionality.

Occasional Contributor

There's this as well:

 

https://github.com/drotiro/boxfs2

 

But looks pretty stale.

 

There are also FUSE implementations for FTP.

New Contributor

Anyone interested should navigate over to https://rclone.org/

I have been testing this on RHEL and believe it is the only up-to-date supported solution to mounting Box on Linux.

Occasional Contributor

Thanks for the suggestion laparton. Unfortunately, tools like that only work if your site administrator allows them, which mine doesn't.

FTPS has started working again, not perfectly, but at least minimally, so I'll be using that for the nonce. Still, I wish Box would provide a standard tool for Linux.

New Contributor

@frabjousWhat exactly is not allowed about it? I've been researching various solutions and testing them on IU's infrastructure, so I'm interested in documenting these issues. Rclone was interesting because after downloading it on their infrastructure, it just worked. I did run into a fuse permission error, but that could be resolved relatively easy.

@rvandolsonI believe the FUSE implementations for FTP will be useless when Box begins requiring FTPS clients to use TLS 1.1+ coming in a little over a week.

Occasional Contributor

@laparton When I run `rclone config` I need to use a web interface to log in to get an authentication code. When I do that, it tells me that the application is not allowed by my administrator, so I don't get a code.

Yes, I've complained to my administrator, to deaf ears, apparently.

First-time Contributor

Ditto to all the comments made about the use of box with native tooling on macOS, iOS, Windows and Linux (Raspbian even).

 

Fortunately standard ubiquitous WebDAV is still working so far. When WebDAV is gone, so are many customers.

New Contributor

@frabjousHave you read this page? https://rclone.org/remote_setup/

It should solve your problem!

Occasional Contributor

@laparton Thanks, but no, that has nothing to do with my problem. My set up is not headless. I can use a web browser -- I just get the message that it is not allowed by my administrator.

New Contributor

@frabjousI don't understand. The web browser pops up with a message that it is not allowed? Or its outputted in the terminal? If you follow the link I posted, why wouldn't you be able to make a config file thus getting around the restriction?

Occasional Contributor

@lapartonYes, after I log in, the web browser pops up with a message that it is not allowed. Screenshot:

 

disabled.png


Yes, I've complained to my administrator. No response.

Box Certified Professional
@frabjous - Sounds as if your Box instance is configured to disallow unpublished apps by default.
See the section named Admins: Choosing Apps for Your Enterprise here:
https://community.box.com/t5/How-to-Guides-for-Admins/Best-Practice-Choosing-Apps/ta-p/224
 
There's a possible workaround here:
https://forum.rclone.org/t/enabling-rclone-for-sso-box-com-accounts/4691
but I think you'll still need your enterprise admin to specifically "whitelist" your instance of rclone.
First-time Contributor

I currently use WebDav to back up my files on Zotero. Is there a way to use Box to do this that doesn't rely on WebDav?

 

New Contributor
Yes, I can use sftp and rsync for file management going forward. But what seems to be glossed over here is the number of cross-platform apps and software programs that use WebDAV as a syncing mechanism. One user mentioned Zotero, the reference manager, that syncs across devices using WebDAV. Other examples include the notetaking application Joplin and the calendaring application Beorg. So I'll be losing access to my notes, my calendar, and my reference manager. These are just examples from my own usage, but many apps that want to enable cloud functionality without locking users into a single platform use WebDAV and users of all of them will be impacted by this decision.
First-time Contributor

Off course... Why support an open protocol implemented by thousands of applications, if instead you can create your own APIs to lock users in, and your apps to and spy on people? :-/

 

I migrated to Box from dropbox exactly because of webdav, guess I'm gonna have to spin my own owncloud/nextcloud instance...

Box Certified Professional
In the Box 3rd party integration ecosystem WebDAV use has always been very
limited. The majority of Box's customers demand SSO. Speaking on behalf of
my enterprise (120K Box users) we work hard to limit any access to our Box
content that isn't limited to SSO and SSL. We are not fond of vendor
credentials at all. Having said that, I'm not thrilled by the EOL of WebDAV
support without some commensurate increase in support for our Linux users.


New Contributor

I hve to chime in with my disappointment. The main reason I chose Box for storage was that it had good WebDav support. I'm another linux user and it Box, while a good cloud storage provider is further alienating linux users.

New Contributor

I hve to chime in with my disappointment. The main reason I chose Box for storage was that it had good WebDav support. I'm another linux user and Box, while a good cloud storage provider is further alienating linux users. It seems almost anti-linux at this point.

Occasional Contributor

I would be ok with WebDAV if it supported some form of 2FA or more secure authentication method other than just a password.  In this day and age, that's just not secure enough.  Otherwise we need to move on to protocols that support a better security model like OAUTH.    I have mixed feelings, but basically support the phase out of WebDAV.

Box Employee

Hi everyone, 

 

Wanted to give you some more insight into the decision to deprecate WebDAV support. WebDAV has traditionally been fraught with security holes and functional issues and can represent a serious vulnerability to customers if configured improperly. It is an older protocol with many complications and in general we see low utilization of WebDAV across our customer base. We plan to deprecate support for WebDAV in order to better support our customers and ensure that we focus our attention on more modern and secure protocols for content management.

 

Thanks for sharing your feedback!

Box Certified Professional

@annamin,

 

I completely get the security arguments and I agree with that basis for EOLing WebDAV. I do take some exception to the statement that by doing so you will "better support [y]our customers" since the broadest WebDAV use case, at least for higher education, is for our Linux users. If Box really wanted to better support the customers who will be most impacted by the loss of WebDAV you would step up and create a Linux desktop client.

 

Bob

Box Certified Professional

@annamin - Bob is right.  As a protocol, WebDAV has many shortcomings, yet it's one of very few options for Linux users.  In our world, that means developers, scientists, and researchers.

 

Removing WebDAV without introducing a better Linux-supporting or platform-independent replacement makes Box less useful for them and makes it harder for us to convince our user base to depend on the service Box provides.  Box can do better.

First-time Contributor

@jerryfranklin You state that "On Jan 31, 2019, we will deprecate support for WebDAV. If you are connecting to Box using a WebDAV client, you will see connection errors and will no longer be able to view or access your content on Box through your WebDAV client." That's not what "deprecate" means. You are deprecating support for WebDAV on the day you post this message. If you were deprecating support on January 31, you would send warning messages when a user connected using WebDAV on February 1, 2019. In fact, you are ending support of WebDAV on January 31 and you are deprecating support for WebDAV now. 

Box Employee

Thank you for calling this out, Ray.  I always appreciate adjustments and suggestions that make my writing more clear and accurate.

 

And after doing a bit of fact-checking, I can say even your suggested use of the term "deprecate" is incorrect.  "Deprecate," very roughly translated, means to speak negatively about something.  So in fact we are announcing now that (as you say) we are ending support next February 1st.  

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

First-time Contributor

Dear Box Team!

So what um Himmels Willen do I do now as a Linux user ?
Please give me some information on how to use your product after February 1st.
What are the alternatives from your perspective?

Thanks for any help.

First-time Contributor

I've been using box.com for many years, one reason is box.com constantly support WebDav, but now ... which proves commercial services can not be trusted. They are only drove by profits but not the really needs of customers. What a disappointment!

Guys, build your own services with open source solutions for your own needs. Decentralization is the future of Internet, just let the commercial companies die.

New Contributor

Another Linux user checking in to see if there's been any change in support for Linux. I can't say I'm surprised, though I am disappointed, to see Box dropping support for one of the only ways Linux users have to mount a Box folder locally.

 

And @jerryfranklin@RayBaxter's use of deprecate was correct in the context of software. See the 4th definition on Merriam-Webster's entry. Although, their definition includes dropping support in favor of a better service or functionality. Is Box replacing WebDAV with support for anything else, or is this just lost functionality?

New Contributor

Another linux user checking in, and very disappointed.  I really don't see how you can deprecate a service that clearly many people use (not just for linux but MFPs and other devices that can't do two-factor authentication) without offering an "alternative Box tool" that offers at least the same functionality. 

 

Webdav support was one of the reasons that our company went with BOX in the first place along with recommending it to all our consulting clients. 

 

I guess we'll have to look into alternatives such as idrive and pcloud.

New Contributor

very sad...

One thing that made box.com better than Dropbox or Google Drive and the main reason why I switched to Box.com.


Support for a standard protocol is a big advantage, because it allows a lot of client software to connect without the need for a maintaining nightmare with all kinds of proprietary protocols.

It's ridiculous to say, you will improve something, while not offering an alternative way of access with similar properties (mainly being STANDARD and widely accepted).
I think, SFTP would be a secure alternative, but while it was requested a lot, you don't seem to have any interest in that.

I can only conclude, you are trying to bind users to your service by limiting them to your special protocol.

Which removes your advantage against Google or Dropbox.

New Contributor

@hg42While I agree in general with your reply, I would note that SFTP is currently supported. The reply from @neilehavens above gives a link to a set of example instructions for connecting to Box via SFTP.

New Contributor
@jabraun the link points to SFTP but it's really FTPS as you can see in the urls used in the example (ftps://...). I didn't find any way to use SFTP with Box.com other than using another service like Couchdrop.io
New Contributor
Ah. Thank you for the clarification.
First-time Contributor

Sadly WebDav will be deprecated...

Will Box support sshfs to mount in the future?

Maybe it is a good option to create an account at Gitlab or Bitbucket for end-users. You will be able to store your files over ssh or https.

 

Occasional Contributor

 I have tried git-annex to sync zoneminder events with a box.com account successfully on ubuntu 18.04.

 

Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Please see my blog post on "How to mount Box.com on Ubuntu PC"

New Contributor
@bkjaya the question is, can git-annex access Box.com without webdav? I know that git-annex originally used webdav for box access. Did they add another possibility? You wrote: "Note:- Box management has announced that they will deprecate support for WebDAV after Jan 31, 2019 . Therefore you may not be able to use this method after Jan 2019. But linux users still can use Box.com for auto sync data using git-annex." So which protocol do they use instead of webdav?
Occasional Contributor

Hi hg42

Yes . If you use git-annex access, you  can sync  Box.com without webdav.