WebDAV in 2023?

Has anyone had any luck with WebDAV services in the last little while?

My current workflow is to bring PDFs into Zotero, where Zotfile immediately renames and moves the files. Then, one by one, I bring PDFs back into Zotero storage until I am roughly around 250mb of storage. These sync to my iPad where I annotate them; when finished, I 'offload' them by running them through Zotfile again.

Since Zotfile's move functionality (only renaming) isn't making it to Zotero 7, I've been considering WebDAV as a possible replacement for the above workflow. However, valid WebDAV options seem to be dwindling rapidly. I've included below the WebDAV services I've tried and my experiences with them.

- 4shared - WebDAV no longer offered to free accounts
- CloudMe - WebDAV no longer appears to function
- Google Drive - DAV-pocket doesn't seem to work anymore; WebDAV bridge is self-hosted and runs into the same issues as self-hosted (see below)
- IDriveSync - WebDAV no longer offered to free accounts
- Koofr - Multiple reports of issues in recent weeks
- pCloud - No longer offered to free accounts
- Yandex Disk - WebDAV responds with '402 - Payment Required'. Yandex site then asks for personal information before unlocking the disk (Phone number, passport, etc) which is not something I want to provide

It seems a bunch of these are related to the recent wave of malware that is being distributed via WebDAV, and so WebDAV providers are rightly closing up access to free/anonymous accounts to prevent abuse.

Bonus Attempts:

- Self-Hosted - Zotero requires a valid certificate from a CA. Self-hosted thus appears to require a domain, a valid certificate, and a complex WebDAV setup. While a self-signed certificate can be 'sideloaded' using Firefox on the PC, the iPad environment isn't so forgiving.
- NextCloud (hosted) - Worked for a day before the service provider deactivated the account. Multiple reports of users having free accounts deactivated if not paid within X amount of time. Self-hosted would have same issue as above.
- Azure - As a cloud dev, I've got a bit of wiggle room in Azure but none of the storage containers there provide WebDAV support. It's possible to spin up a VM server running a WebDAV service connecting to a storage account, but it gets expensive and complicated fast.
- OneDrive - OneDrive seems to provide a valid WebDAV service in all ways *except* a failure to respond to an OPTIONS request with DAV: 1. This is because there's a redirect during the WebDAV request. Several other WebDAV clients support this but Zotero is sticking with the spec (no judgement here, just pointing it out).

While the obvious answer is to give up and pay/support Zotero, I'm not an academic but a public servant / data engineer and my work doesn't involve Zotero at all. My usage of Zotero is purely for hobby and I'm not sure I can even justify the strain that the 300mb 'swapping' is putting on Zotero (there must be ingress/egress costs involved here).

Anyone have any luck with WebDAV in recent days, and what is their current setup?
  • edited November 27, 2023
    Zotfile's move functionality is almost certainly making it to Zotero v7, in at least one existing new plugin. It's only Zotfile's Send-to-Tablet that is not in either of the two new plugin candidates. Of those two, one has gone private for now, and the other one currently does auto and manual rename/move (as a linked file moved to an equivalent of Zotfile's Custom Location).

    BTW your workflow of storing only a subset of file-synced PDFs (< 300 mb) in local Zotero storage, when you intend to annotate them in the mobile app (while keeping the rest as linked files in Zotfile's Custom Location), is neat. That would seem to still be possible in v7 while using the new plugin to manage linked files.

  • Thanks for the links! Didn't know about ZotMoov - that plus the native renaming method in v7 accommodates my workflow well. I think I can fully move to v7 in that case. I didn't use the 'send to tablet' functionality of ZotFile as it relies on a third-party PDF annotator but I enjoy using Zotero's as it doesn't store the annotations in the PDF itself. I like that the PDF remains clean but all the annotations are in Zotero.

    As for storing a subset in Zotero storage; I've noticed that sometimes the downloaded PDF files on the iPad remain even after being converted to linked files on the PC. Annotating these 'phantom' files works identically to the real thing and they're synced back to PC just fine. Eventually Zotero realizes they were moved out of Zotero storage, though, and removes the file. If I could recreate this reliably, it means I could load the iPad up with a lot more files, 300mb at a time, while keeping the Zotero storage clean and only using it as a temporary landing point. This doesn't seem to be intended, however.
  • I've been using Koofr for the last few months, with none of the reported glitches. I'm still on Zotero v5, and I only test v6 (and the 7 beta) occasionally - but no glitches there, either. Koofr make a big deal of their WebDAV support, including for Zotero (as their blog post on Oct 27 2023 attests), so if there are glitches I'm hoping they would be addressed pretty quickly.
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