HTTP Standards Group Looking at Google SPDY for HTTP 2.0

IETF HTTPbis Working Group met last week for discussions over at Vancouver, Canada on the proposed changes and from the discussions it seems that the working group might adopt the SPDY protocol as the basis of its own protocol.

HTTP 1.1, the current standard in use for communications across the web, was formulated and rolled out back in 1999. This standard was definitely a sort of renaissance back in those days but, over the years the web has changed a lot. Revisions are inevitable part of a standard and to suit current times internet heavy weights have given their proposals.

Nothing has been finalized as of now in terms of the core focus areas of the new standard but, some of the points that the working group will be looking into include compression, multiplexing, mandatory TLS, client pull/server push, flow control and WebSockets.

Let us dig a little deep into how HTTP 1.1 works. This particular standard is based on one-request-at-a-time model and because of this if you start capturing HTTP session, you will find out that each and every object of a web page is fetched one by one that more or less introduces latency. Even if you have higher bandwidth, this inherent mechanism of one-thing-at-a-time brings in some level of delay while browsing.

Members over at the Working Group definitely do not want to reinvent the wheel and they are not willing to start anything from scratch. For this reason SPDY is going to be the starting point for the formulation of the new standard.

SPDY will not be adopted by the working group ‘As Is’ stressed Mark Nottingham, the Working Group’s chair. “it’s important to understand that SPDY isn’t being adopted as HTTP/2.0; rather, that it’s the starting point of our discussion, to avoid a laborious start from scratch.” he said. Microsoft has also put in a proposal of its own. It has argued that despite statistics that Google may have put forward, there are instances where SPDY actually slows the website down.

The year 2014 is probably going to be the year when the standard is actually made public but, till then we will have to see how the different proposals put forward by different companies shape up the HTTP 2.0 standard.