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Grievances - Wide

From: Daniel DuBois <ddubois@rafiki.spyglass.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 13:18:18 -0600
Message-Id: <9512071918.AA08028@rafiki.spyglass.com>
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
I have a few concerns I'd like to address about the current state of the
HTTP working group.  I tried posting these Tuesday, but by mailing software
is malfunctioning.

First I'd like to plead for someone to give an overview of what happened at
the night meeting of the HTTP WG.  Unfortunately, I had to leave early, and
the idea of waiting two months for minutes is unpleasant.  As such, I have
some feelings on the last minute agenda change at the Dallas IETF meeting.
1) I think the addition was ill-timed.  The entire Spyglass group had plane
reservations and hotel arrangements that required we leave in the late
afternoon.  This is a small gripe, but we at Spyglass, myself in
particular, really, really wanted to participate, mainly because of the
issues I'm going to address later. 2) The structure of the Agenda that
pushed the bulk of the HTTP 1.1 to the 2nd session was horrible!  No way
should we have spent the 1st session discussing the
tunneling/session-ext/payment/etc drafts.  The HTTP 1.1 spec is THE issue
of this group.

The next thing basically is a process issue.  Some of the informal hallway
conversations I had confirmed my suspicions that the current progress of
the group is insufficient.  As I see it there are three things working
together to impede our progress.  If only one of these things existed, it
would be perfectly acceptable, but together they spell doom:  1) the
addition by the editor of large surprises to the HTTP 1.1 draft without any
discussion in the working group, 2) the very infrequent revisions of the
spec, 3) the monolithic-kitchen sink nature of the document.

Now before you say: "Putting things in the I-D is the way to
submit an idea for consideration by the group!", I must reiterate: that
works fine if you have frequent revisions on a small doc and no one is
actually using the draft spec.

People are trying to code to these documents.  The HTTP WG is not
responding to the needs of the marketplace.  The addition of Logic Bags,
PATCH methods, two-stage responses and the like without both the input of
the group, and constant revisions of our "main product" is just not
workable.

I am calling for a rough consensus from this working group that the
best way to progress on HTTP 1.1 is to a) require any large additions
to the spec be discussed in this group - as a separate Internet Draft
if convenient - before any introduction, and b) we commit ourselves
to a somewhat only-what's-necessary Draft of 1.1 to get some kind of
consensus in a reasonable amount of time.  There was also a sentiment in
Dallas that not only should big chunks not be added, but that the HTTP spec
should be broken up, and the more I think about it, the more I have to
concur.

I think I'll separate individual gripes about particular aspects of the
spec to a separate message, and I'll propose some potential break-outs
there.
-----
Dan DuBois, Software Animal             http://www.spyglass.com/~ddubois/
		I absolutely do not speak for Spyglass.
Received on Thursday, 7 December 1995 11:28:45 EST

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