Much of the excitement about advancing the Web has been around HTML5 (the fifth version of the HyperText Markup Language) and its associated specifications; these describe appearance and interactive behavior of the Web.
The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the network protocol used to manage the transfer of HTML and other content, as well as applications that use HTTP. There has been significant progress in updating the HTTP standard.
The third edition of HTTP/1.1 is nearing completion by the HTTPbis working group of the IETF. This edition is a major rewrite of the specification to fix errors, clarify ambiguities, document compatibility requirements, and prepare for future standards. It represents years of editing and consensus building by Adobe Senior Principal Scientist Roy T. Fielding, along with fellow editors Julian Reschke, Yves Lafon, and Mark Nottingham. The six proposed RFCs define the protocol’s major orthogonal features in separate documents, thereby improving its readability and focus for specific implementations and forming the basis for the next step in HTTP evolution.
Now with HTTP/1.1 almost behind us, the Web community has started work on HTTP/2.0 in earnest, with a focus on improved performance, interactivity, and use of network resources.
Progress on HTTP/2.0 has been rapid; a recent HTTPbis meeting at Adobe offices in Hamburg made significant advancements on the compression method and interoperability testing of early implementations. For more details, I’ve written on why HTTP/2.0 is needed, as well as sounding some HTTP/2.0 concerns.