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OPLIN 4cast #426: The next version of HTTP

Posted in 4cast

Hypertext Transfer ProtocolLast week, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) posted a message stating that they had “…approved the following document: ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol version 2’…as Proposed Standard.” While this sounds pretty innocuous and/or cryptic to many of us, this announcement actually marked the official beginning of HTTP/2, the long-awaited successor to HTTP/1.1, the information transfer protocol currently used by the World Wide Web (allowing the hypertext linking between web pages mentioned in last week’s 4cast). While that still may not mean much to most of us, we should all notice that the Web will respond a bit faster in the future than it does now, once HTTP/2 becomes the common standard.

  • The internet is about to get faster — here’s why (Business Insider | Peter Maynard)  “When a web page is requested, the server sends back the page, but must wait for the web browser to parse the page’s HTML and issue further requests for things it finds in the code, such as images. Server push allows the server to send all the resources associated with a page when the page is requested, without waiting. This will cut a lot of the latency associated with web connections. Once web servers and web browsers start implementing HTTP/2 – which could be as soon as a few weeks from now – the web-browsing experience will feel quicker and more responsive.”
  • Everything you need to know about HTTP2 (ReadWrite | Lauren Orsini)  “For the past 16 years, HTTP has basically done the heavy lifting of bringing Web pages to your browser. When you type a URL into your browser bar—, for instance—you’re actually creating an HTTP request to the Web server that instructs it to find and deliver a particular Web page. But HTTP has its limits. Modern Web pages pack in more features than just about anyone imagined back in 1999, making it more resource-intensive than ever just to load them in a browser.”
  • HTTP/2 finished, coming to browsers within weeks (Ars Technica | Peter Bright)  “In HTTP/2, multiple bidirectional streams are multiplexed over a single TCP connection. Each stream can carry a request/response pair, and multiple requests to a server can be made by using multiple streams. However, the streams are all independent; if one stream is slow, the HTTP/2 connection can still be used to transfer data belonging to other streams. Similarly, a client can request a large object and then a small object, and the response to the small object can be given before, or even during, the response to the large object.”
  • Don’t blame yourself for ignoring HTTP/2, the biggest HTTP update in years (VentureBeat | Cullen Macdonald)  “HTTP/2 is for sure going to add to the increase in rate of change for things on the Internet, but it’ll do it without being noticed. It will continue to be incorporated into more websites you visit, and browsers will more fully support the official spec. There won’t ever be an explosion of speed from your phone’s browser where you’ll ask yourself ‘oh! is today HTTP/2 day?!’”

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