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Working Group Takes Aim at HTTP/2.0

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Mark Nottingham, author of the Atom Syndication Format and former chair of both IETF and W3C Working Groups, has now set his sights on creating the next HTTP spec with the HTTP Working Group.  When the group was first formed, the idea was to improve the existing standard of HTTP/1.1 due to limited implementer support and a desire to improve interoperability and security.  However, as Nottingham points out:

That's clearly changed in the intervening time; two major browsers have implemented SPDY, a non-textual serialisation of HTTP's semantics, and there are now several other implementations as well (full disclosure: including an experimental one in Python by yours truly).

-- Mark Nottingham

While there seems to be genuine excitement surrounding the possibility of an improved HTTP format, there is also concern that the opportunity to improve will create the desire to completely redesign.

James Snell's response appears to be a common one:

Would love to see that work move forward within this group. I do have concerns about keeping the scope focused, however. Even though the door would be opened to the possibility of new features being introduced, there is obvious danger in opening those doors too wide. I strongly feel that things such as the introduction of new request methods and new header fields, unless there is clear and irrefutable evidence of their general utility within the core of the spec, should continue to be pursued as they are today -- within separate I-D's as extensions to the core protocol. The charter should make it absolutely clear that the goal is an incremental evolution of HTTP/1.1 rather than an opportunity for radical changes.

-- James Snell

Nottingham has set a list of Goals and Milestones for the group to achieve before Submitting HTTP/2.0 to IESG:

Goals and Milestones:

  • Done        First HTTP/1.1 Revision Internet Draft
  • Done        First HTTP Security Properties Internet Draft
  • Feb 2012    Working Group Last Call for HTTP/1.1 Revision
  • Feb 2012    Working Group Last Call for HTTP Security Properties
  • Apr 2012    Submit HTTP/1.1 Revision to IESG for consideration as a
    Proposed Standard
  • Apr 2012    Submit HTTP Security Properties to IESG for consideration as
    Informational RFC
  • May 2012    First HTTP/2.0 Internet Draft
  • May 2013    Request Last Call for HTTP/2.0
  • Jul 2013    Submit HTTP/2.0 to IESG for consideration as a Proposed
-- Mark Nottingham

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the group's progress over the next year and half.  For more information, be sure to visit here.