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So I've been working on an application on Windows that hooks into the WebClient service and Office applications on one end, and SharePoint on the other end, to do some advanced compression and such. Everything works fine most of the time with WebDAV and with the normal Office downloads when the WebClient service is completely disabled.

But every once in a while in Word 2007 when WebDAV is enabled, it just seems to completely ignore WebDAV and use the old Vermeer RPC communication instead.

I have so far been completely unable to reliably replicate this, so it makes it extremely difficult to test the functionality of my application when this protocol is being used.

So I was wondering if anybody knew under what circumstances Word 2007 would use Vermeer RPC for the handling of checking out and downloading documents from SharePoint. Does Word decide, or does SharePoint decide how and when to use it?

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As it turns out, the answer was right in front of my face but my plugin was hiding it from me.

If the WebClient service is disabled (not just stopped, but disabled, because Office will restart it if it can), then the Office applications will fall back on Vermeer RPC.

My server plugin was mangling the headers of the Vermeer packets a bit so it was failing to read those correctly, and would fall back further to a straight HTTP GET operation to open the document as Read Only.

I guess the sporadic usage of Vermeer RPC that I saw was due to a similar issue; the server plugin hosed something with a WebDAV header and forced it to fallback on Vermeer. D'oh.

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