42 communicationS of the acm | deCeMBer 2013 | vOL. 56 | nO. 12
hyPerteXt traNsFer ProtoCol (HTTP) is one of
the most widely used application protocols on the
Internet. Since its publication, RFC 2616 (HTTP 1. 1)
has served as a foundation for the unprecedented
growth of the Internet: billions of devices of all shapes
and sizes, from desktop computers to the tiny Web
devices in our pockets, speak HTTP every day to deliver
news, video, and millions of other Web applications
we have all come to depend on in our everyday lives.
What began as a simple one-line protocol for
retrieving hypertext (that is, "GET/document")
quickly evolved into a generic hypermedia transport.
Now a decade later it is used to power just about any
use case imaginable.
Under the weight of its own success, however, and
as more and more everyday interactions continue to
migrate to the Web—social, email, news and video,
and, increasingly, our personal and job workspaces—
HT TP has begun to show signs of stress.
Users and developers alike are now demanding near-real-time responsiveness and protocol performance from
HTTP 1. 1, which it simply cannot meet
without some modifications.
To meet these new challenges,
HTTP must continue to evolve, which
is where HTTP 2.0 enters the picture.
HTTP 2.0 will make applications
faster, simpler, and more robust by
enabling efficient multiplexing and
low-latency delivery over a single connection and allowing Web developers to undo many of the application
“hacks” used today to work around the
limitations of HTTP 1. 1.
Performance challenges of
modern Web applications
A lot has changed in the decade since
the HTTP 1. 1 RFC was published:
browsers have continued to evolve at
an accelerating rate, user connectiv-
ity profiles have changed with the mo-
with httP 2.0
Article development led by
HTTP continues to evolve.
BY iLYa GRiGoRiK