Re: Reference set in HPACK


On Jul 2, 2014, at 1:39 AM, Roberto Peon <> wrote:
> You're basing conclusions on today's data, instead of looking forward as to what might happen when the set of headers sent adapts to the compression method, making it significantly more likely for items in the reference set to be emitted.

Isn't that basically confirming what Kazu found: the reference set doesn't help with today's headers?

Here is running code that demonstrates that the reference set does not contribute significantly to the performance of HPACK. Unless you can demonstrate a significant improvement from (simple) server/client changes, your assertion that things will improve doesn't have any evidence to support it.

My observation is that the headers emitted by most web sites are not controlled by the web site developer, they will rely on the underlying web server and scripting engine (PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc.) to do that.  The only header they generally do control is Set-Cookie, and then only for their own site (i.e. not for the advertising networks that are used).  What changes on the server side would be useful here to get the full benefit of the reference table?

(And IMHO if we do have this information then it should be in the HPACK spec...)

> You may want to look at how many of those entries would be regularized if HPACK was in use and servers/clients intended on sending headers that were similar.
> -=R
> On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 10:30 PM, Kazu Yamamoto <> wrote:
> Hi,
> As you may remember, I implemented several HPACK *encoding* algorithms
> and calculated compression ratio. I tried it again based on HPACK
> 08. I have 8 algorithms.
> - Naive    -- No compression
> - Naive-H  -- Using Huffman only
> - Static   -- Using static table only
> - Static-H -- Using static table and Huffman
> - Linear   -- Using header table
> - Linear-H -- Using header table and Huffman
> - Diff     -- Using header table and reference set
> - Diff-H   -- Using header table, reference set and Huffman
> The implementations above pass all test cases in
>  Using this test cases as
> input, I calculated compression ratio again. The ratio is calculated
> by dividing the number of bytes after compression by that before
> compression.
> Here is results:
> Naive     1.10
> Naive-H   0.86
> Static    0.84
> Static-H  0.66
> Linear    0.39
> Linear-H  0.31
> Diff      0.39
> Diff-H    0.31
> Linear-H and Diff-H results in almost the same. To my calculation,
> Diff-H is only 1.6 byte shorter than Linear-H in average. This means
> that reference set does NOT much contribute to compress headers
> although it is very difficult to implement.
> I have NOT seen any header examples for which reference set work
> effectively so far.
> So, if the authors of HPACK want to retain reference set, I would like
> to see evidence that there are some cases in which reference set
> contributes the compression ratio. HPACK 08 says "Updated Huffman
> table, using data set provided by Google". So, I guess that the
> authors can calculate the compression ratio based on this data.
> If there is not such an evidence, I would like to strongly recommend
> to remove reference set from HPACK. This makes HPACK much simpler, so
> implementations gets bug less and inter-operability is improved. Plus,
> the order of headers is reserved always.
> Regards,
> --Kazu

Michael Sweet, Senior Printing System Engineer, PWG Chair

Received on Wednesday, 2 July 2014 10:53:30 UTC