Start Prototyping With the First Implementable Draft of HTTP/2.0 from the IETF Standards Community

I am excited to share that the long awaited first HTTP/2.0 implementable draft has been published by the IETF HTTP Working Group at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This is the first in a series of experimental implementations of HTTP/2.0 that will enhance the performance of the web.

This draft is a direct outcome from the First Interim Meeting in Tokyo in January - “The most important outcome of the interim meeting in Tokyo was the recommendation to create a HTTP/2.0 ’Implementation Draft Specification’ based on the set of features that have achieved rough consensus in the HTTPBIS working group at this time. The intent is to converge on the details using the IETF HTTPBIS mailing list and then implement and validate the subsequent implementation draft. And then repeat the process based on our experience and new understanding – as Mark Nottingham (IETF HTTPBIS chair) has clarified:

“Note that we are NOT yet firmly choosing any particular path; rather, we're working on proposals in code as well as text, based upon discussion to date. As such, we're likely to have several such implementation drafts that progressively refine the approach we're taking. I.e., we don't have to agree that the above is what we want HTTP/2.0 to look like -- only that it's interesting to make these changes now, so that we can test them.”

I am also pleased to announce that Microsoft has made its necessary patents that cover the current draft available under royalty-free terms.

Participants in the HTTP working group have committed to a wide range of implementations. Microsoft Open Tech is actively engaged and prototyping a HTTP/2 server based on the Katana project. Early interoperability testing is planned for the third interim face-to-face meeting in August.

I encourage the community to openly and actively review the implementable draft and start implementing today.

HTTP/2 Second Interim Meeting

To converge on the remaining issues blocking the first implementable HTTP/2.0 draft, the IETF HTTPBIS working group held its second interim face-to-face meeting on 6/13-6/14 at the Twitter offices in San Francisco. I attended with representatives from Microsoft, Gabriel Montenegro and Rob Trace.

As captured in the minutes, there was an open and lively discussion of the issues and rough consensus to adopt an updated header compression proposal. Mark Nottingham, the HTTPBIS chair, summarized the meeting outcomes on the mailing list for wider review.

To accelerate the development of HTTP/2.0 prototypes, I shared the news that Microsoft Open Technologies proposed to contribute our implementation of Application Layer Protocol Negotiation (ALPN) to the OpenSSL community. ALPN is required to support HTTP/2 secure negotiation. More details are available here.

Looking Ahead for the HTTP/2.0 Standardization Work

The working group is meeting on a frequent schedule to make progress on HTTP/2.0

  • IETF 87, July 28 – August 2 in Berlin, Germany
  • Third interim HTTP/2.0 meeting, August 5 – August 7 hosted by Adobe in Hamburg, Germany
  • Proposed Fourth interim HTTP/2.0 meeting, October 30 – November 1 hosted by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (with participation from Microsoft product groups) in Bellevue, WA
  • IETF 88, November 3 – November 8 in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Representatives from Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. plan on participating in these meetings and encourage the community to also attend and become more involved in defining the next generation of HTTP at the IETF. And remember, you can start prototyping the first implementable draft of HTTP/2.0 from the IETF standards community today.

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