HTTP is one of the most fundamental standards on the Internet and now, after 16 years, it's finally getting a facelift. Make way for HTTP/2.


The new standard was finally finished earlier today, according to a blog by Mark Nottingham, the chair of the IETF HTTP Working Group. It will now simply pass on through some editorial stages before being published as a new standard to be used in browsers and web services everywhere.

When published, HTTP/2 will be the first update to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol since 1999, when HTTP 1.1 was adopted. It will, as you'd hope, bring some hefty benefits to the web. It should make for faster page loads, ensure connections last longer and facilitate servers to push data to your cache, so your computer doesn't have to pull it at a later date.


It should also overcome one headache that developers have long bemoaned. Currently, multiple HTTP requests bog servers down, actually preventing pages loads in the process; the new standard will allow multiplexing, so that multiple requests can be delivered on simultaneously. It will also play nicely with APIs, offer more scope for better encryption, and plenty more to boot.

Update: For those of you asking in the comments, HTTP/2 won't supersede HTTPS as a security protocol. The 'S' in HTTPS simply means that it's HTTP run through another secure protocol—usually Transport Layer Security (TLS). The updated version, HTTP/2, will also run through TLS to provide a secure connection. In fact, Firefox and Chrome will likely only support HTTP/2 using TLS—there probably won't be an unsecured alternative.

Google recently announced that it will switch to HTTP/2 as soon as possible to speed up browsing in Chrome and others will follow swiftly. Developers interested in playing around with HTTP/2 can do so now; the rest of us will have to wait, though hopefully not too long, until it becomes baked into services that we use. [Mark Nottingham via The Next Web]


Image by ntr23