The state of HTTP/2.0

With a few days of delay I’m here reporting and commenting the last revolutions about the protocol of the web, its upcoming groundbreaking new version and its state.

A few days back Mark Nottingham announced that the group is officially working on the new draft of HTTP/2.0: even though rumors about the shape of this new version were going on since a couple years, this official news brings some fresh hope on the topic.

As the HTTP protocol was always directly influenced by great minds (Tim Berners-Lee and Roy Fielding, just to mention a couple names) when I first heard about Mark taking the responsability to publish HTTP/2.0 I was pretty sure something great would have come out of his mind.

I wasn’t wrong.

It’s been 13 years since HTTP doesnt see a major change in its specification (recent changes are the addition of the PATCH method, for example, but we’re talking about minor stuff) and SPDY – a new protocol created by Google – came out in the recent history of the web with a disruptive force.

HTTP needed something.

SPDY

But before having a look at what HTTP/2.0 will look like, let’s mention the good things that SPDY brings on the table:

But there is one things that SPDY doesn’t change at all: the interface between the machines.

As recognized worldwide, the HTTP protocol was an almost perfect example of M2M interface which allows servers and clients to follow DAPs (domain-application protocols) according to a loosely coupled interface – the protocol itself, with its verbs, semantics and workflows1.

So SPDY, recognizing the perfection of the contract that HTTP puts among clients and servers, isn’t a real new protocol, it’s a better implementation of the same interface.

HTTP/2.0 is an evolution of an evolution

No wonder, then, in reading the words of Nottingham, as, after all, he “just” announced that HTTP/2.0 will be based on SPDY: a great news that is basically telling you the “don’t reinvent the wheel” principle is even applied at the foundation of the web2.

The layers will definitely be different, but, again, I think that having a newer version of our beloved protocol, based on a specification which already improves it and adds tons of new and interesting features, is going to be a game-changer for web applications.

Will we see HTTP/2.0 being deployed with multiplexing, server push, prioritization and extended compression next year?

Notes
  1. No wonder why Roy Fielding, after having heavily influenced the HTTP protocol and the Apache ecosystem, came out with REST, an architectural style meant for long-living and scalable architectures
  2. So, think about it, why do you need to re-write huge portions of code when better FOSS is out there?
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