Activity Statement

W3C's work on HTTP Next Generation (HTTP-NG) has been managed as part of W3C's Architecture Domain.

Activity statements provide a managerial overview of W3C's work in this area. They provide information about what W3C is actively doing in a particular area and how we believe this will benefit the Web community. You will also be able to find a list of accomplishments to date and a summary of where we are headed. The area overview is often a good source of more generic information about the area and the background reading pages can help set the scene and explain any technical concepts in preparation.
  1. Introduction
  2. Role of W3C
  3. Current Situation
  4. Contacts


Between July '97 and Dec '98, the HTTP-NG Activity explored the future development of the HTTP protocol. The motivation was the impression that HTTP/1.1 is becoming strained modularity wise as well as performance wise. The HTTP-NG Activity produced a number of proposals that successfully addressed these issues, which were presented to W3C members and at an IETF meeting in Dec. 98. At the moment, W3C does not plan any follow-up work on HTTP-NG.

Role of W3C

The work on HTTP-NG has been done at W3C by Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, Jim Gettys and Daniel Veillard who worked with other researchers from a number of companies and organizations. All the documents produced by the Protocol Design Group are already available as either W3C Technical Reports or IETF Internet Drafts.

Current Situation

At the IETF in Orlando, December 1998, we presented the initial work described in the Internet Draft " HTTP-NG Overview: Problem Statement, Requirements, and Solution Outline" along with the following IETF Internet Drafts:

While there was interest in the Project, the general feeling was that it was too early to bring it to IETF and that we needed to provide a plan for how to get where are today to where we would like to be. One of the arguments that we got was that people were just getting used to HTTP/1.1 and saw HTTP-NG as a 'warm-hole' into a very different Web infrastructure than what we have today.

Two results came out of this:

  1. Instead of attempting to promote the complete architecture depicted above in one step, it was proposed to target the WebMUX work in particular in order to make that an IETF Working Group. The expected goal of this Working Group was to develop a multiplexing protocol able to deliver multiplexed bidirectional reliable ordered message streams over a bidirectional reliable ordered byte stream protocol (such as TCP). However, as of the time of writing, the IESG did not find enough interested parties to actually establish a WebMUX Working Group.
  2. An important piece of HTTP-NG was to investigate whether more formalized types can be made flexible enough to support the evolution seen on the Web. Especially Mike Spreitzer, Xerox Parc, has been working on this topic and has been in contact with the XML Schema Working Group in order to see whether it is possible to achieve a next generation unified datamodel for the Web. This work is still in progress.

What the Future Holds

The HTTP-NG Activity has achieved its goals in outlining potential solutions for the future development of HTTP. At this point, W3C does not plan any follow-up activities.


Yves Lafon, W3C
Jim Gettys, Visiting Engineer - Compaq Computer Corporation

Last modified $Date: 2001/06/13 10:09:07 $

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