@dc2447 - of course the university allows HTTP, What I'm saying is I believe using Web Folders has been disabled. I mean, I don't believe that they allow regular users to map network drives. (Note - I've got to make this work for three universities as well as libraries and the office --> basically everywhere). Also, I don't want to have to users to have to setup the connection (as I can't even create webfolders on every computer they'd possibly use).
I guess there might be some way of locking down windows so it doesn't allow web folders but I think it would be unlikely. Don't forget this is all over http - there is no cifs or other nasty protocols that can be easily locked down by over zealous firewall admins. If you can get to a webpage then I'm pretty sure you can get to dav shares.
I want them to just simply type https://www.mydomain.tld
and be presented with a login mechanism and bingo they've got access to their (and theirs only) Linkstation Shares. The functionality I want I think you already understand. You said that you believe this is possible with Konquerer and IE -- correct? I hope firefox and Safari works too as one university network disabled MSIE on the Windows Computers.
There are many dav clients out there - I can't verify if firefox or safari - google will probably know.
My apologies here, but what exactly do you mean?
PHP scripts running as file managers have a chequered history as file managers wrt security. It is difficult (not impossible) to lock down what a malicious user can do when you are running exec commands on a live filesystem via PHP. With DAV you are effectively chrooted into your share.
Using DAV does seem to be a possible solution as long as users don't have to setup anything. Like I said above, the users can access their shares similar to how they would access ftp shares through a modern browser.
There are many DAV clients out there. Of course you are going to have to do some setup, at a bare minimum an apache config and some method of authentication.