Microsoft’s proposal to accelerate mobile apps and the web: HTTP Speed+Mobility

Microsoft plans to submit a proposal to the IETF dubbed “HTTP Speed+Mobility," prior to the group’s meeting to discuss the forthcoming HTTP 2.0 specification.

On the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog, Jean Paoli, General Manager for Interoperability Strategy, and Sandeep Singhal, Group Program Manager for Windows Core Networking, recently published a post dealing with the company’s intent to submit a proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) with plans to speed up web browsing and mobile app performance. The timing of the proposal, titled “HTTP Speed+Mobility," comes just before the IETF is set to meet to begin talks on how to approach HTTP 2.0.

From the post, “Today’s HTTP has historical limitations based on what used to be good enough for the web. Because of this, the HTTPbis working group in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has approved a new charter to define HTTP “2.0” to address performance limitations with HTTP.”

The charter written by the HTTPbis working group, which is available on the IETF website, has goals for HTTP 2.0 that include:

  • Significantly improved perceived performance for common use cases (e.g., browsers, mobile)
  • More efficient use of network resources; in particular, reducing the need to use multiple TCP connections
  • Ability to be deployed on today's Internet, using IPv4 and IPv6, in the presence of NATs
  • Maintaining HTTP's ease of deployment
  • Reflecting modern security requirements and practices

Also from the post, “This document describes ‘HTTP Speed+Mobility,’ a proposal for HTTP 2.0 that emphasizes performance improvements and security while at the same time accounting for the important needs of mobile devices and applications.”

According to Paoli and Singhal, the HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal leverages both the Google SPDY protocol, which has already been submitted to the IETF for consideration, and the work the industry has already done around WebSockets. If you’re unfamiliar with SPDY, it’s Google’s alternative protocols designed to reduce the latency of web pages. And WebSockets are a means for providing bi-directional, full-duplex communications channels over a single TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) socket. Save for those tid-bits, however, the rest of the post is light on specific details of Microsoft’s proposal.“Improving HTTP starts with speed.  Apps--not just browsers—should get faster too.  More and more, apps are how people access web services, in addition to their browser.  Improving HTTP should also make mobile better, particularly to ensure great battery life and low network cost on constrained devices.” All of the goals that are reportedly in the HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal seem like steps in the right direction. Whether or not the IETF seriously considers Microsoft’s plans over others that have already been (or will be) submitted, however, remains to be seen.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.