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Charter revision

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:21:23 +1100
Message-Id: <D0E5F9D3-9827-4228-B101-39705918132F@mnot.net>
To: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Based on the feedback I've seen on-list and discussions with folks about it, I've revised the proposal for our new charter; see below. Please provide timely feedback; I'd like to get this to the IESG soon.

One we get it in place, I'll put out a call for proposals. I'll also publish a review form for people to fill out; it isn't required that people use it, but doing so will help me judge consensus and move forward.

As mentioned before, I've requested two sessions in Paris; one to discuss BIS, and one to discuss this new work. Suitable topics for the latter will be discussing the scope of the work, and any proposals that may have been made by then.

Finally - although it's great to see such interest in the work, we need to focus on the charter now, not specific technology decisions. That will come in time, and we still need to focus on the BIS work. So, please limit this discussion to the charter for the time being.



Hypertext Transfer Protocol Bis (httpbis)

 Last Modified: 2012-01-28

 Current Status: Active Working Group

     Mark Nottingham  <mnot@mnot.net>

 Applications Area Director(s):
     Pete Resnick  <presnick@qualcomm.com>
     Peter Saint-Andre  <stpeter@stpeter.im>

 Applications Area Advisor:
     Peter Saint-Andre  <stpeter@stpeter.im>

 Mailing Lists: 
     General Discussion:ietf-http-wg@w3.org
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Description of Working Group

This Working Group is charged with maintaining and developing
the "core" specifications for HTTP. 

The Working Group's specification deliverables are:
* A document (or set of documents) that is suitable to supersede RFC 
  2616 (HTTP/1.1) and move RFC 2817 to Historic status
* A document cataloguing the security properties of HTTP/1.1
* A document that specifies HTTP/2.0 an improved binding of HTTP's semantics
  to the underlying transport.

### HTTP/1.1

HTTP is one of the most successful and widely-used protocols on the 
Internet today. However, its specification has several editorial issues. 
Additionally, after years of implementation and extension, several 
ambiguities have become evident, impairing interoperability and the 
ability to easily implement and use HTTP.

The working group will refine RFC2616 to:
* Incorporate errata and updates (e.g., references, IANA registries, 
* Fix editorial problems which have led to misunderstandings of the 
* Clarify conformance requirements
* Remove known ambiguities where they affect interoperability
* Clarify existing methods of extensibility
* Remove or deprecate those features that are not widely implemented and 
  also unduly affect interoperability
* Where necessary, add implementation advice
* Document the security properties of HTTP and its associated mechanisms 
  (e.g., Basic and Digest authentication, cookies, TLS) for common 

It will also incorporate the generic authentication framework from RFC 
2617, without obsoleting or updating that specification's definition of 
the Basic and Digest schemes.

Finally, it will incorporate relevant portions of RFC 2817 (in 
particular, the CONNECT method and advice on the use of Upgrade), so 
that that specification can be moved to Historic status.

In doing so, it should consider:
* Implementer experience
* Demonstrated use of HTTP
* Impact on existing implementations and deployments

### HTTP/2.0

There is emerging implementation experience and interest in a protocol that
retains the semantics of HTTP, without the legacy of HTTP/1.x message framing
and syntax, which have been identified as hampering performance and
encouraging misuse of the underlying transport.

As such, there is an opportunity to create a new major (non-wire-compatible)
version of HTTP. 

To do this, the Working Group will solicit candidates for this work from
the community, to be submitted as Internet-Drafts. Expected focus areas for
candidates include:

* Significantly improved perceived performance in 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

Although proposals are not required to meet all of these goals, it is
expected that the resulting work (if undertaken) will be chartered to meet
them (and therefore, selecting one that meets the majority of them as a 
starting point is in everyone's interest).

The Working Group will then select a starting point for the new work based
upon the following criteria:

* Compatibility with HTTP/1.1 semantics; i.e., it must be possible to 
  pass through a HTTP/1.1 message with reasonable fidelity
* Broad implementer interest (e.g., from Web browsers, "back-end" 
  or "web api" uses of HTTP, servers, intermediaries, CDNs, etc.)

Changes to the existing semantics of HTTP are out of scope in order to
preserve the meaning of messages that might cross a 1.1 --> 2.0 --> 1.1
request chain. However, the resulting effort may define new semantics to
further the goals above, along with suitable extensibility mechanisms for
defining additional semantics.

If the Working Group forms consensus around a proposal, it is expected it will
re-charter to begin work on that document (or set of documents). The resulting
work will be known as "HTTP/2.0", unless the Working Group determines that
this isn't suitable (e.g., for interoperability).

Although work on this new version will begin in parallel with completion of
work on HTTP/1.1, the Working Group will prioritize HTTP/1.1 work until it is

Goals and Milestones

   Done        First HTTP/1.1 Revision Internet Draft 

   Done        First HTTP Security Properties Internet Draft 

   Feb 2012    Working Group Last Call for HTTP/1.1 Revision 

   Feb 2012    Working Group Last Call for HTTP Security Properties 
   Feb 2012    Call for Proposals for HTTP/2.0 

   Apr 2012    Submit HTTP/1.1 Revision to IESG for consideration as a 
               Proposed Standard 

   Apr 2012    Submit HTTP Security Properties to IESG for consideration as 
               Informational RFC

   June 2012   Re-charter to work on HTTP/2.0

Mark Nottingham   http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Friday, 10 February 2012 02:21:50 UTC

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