An IETF working group for HTTP?

Dave Raggett (
Mon, 19 Sep 1994 12:47:04 +0200

I believe that the time has now come to develop HTTP as an IETF backed
protocol with the standard defined as a sequence of RFCs. The first step
is to draw up a charter for this activity. We can then approach the IETF
to set up an HTTP working group. Are there any volunteers to help with
writing a draft charter?

We need to get to grips with:

a) improved performance

Essential if we want to continue with open standards
for the Web in the face of intense commercial activity.

- MGET and multipart messages
- keep-alive and segmented transfers
- encouraging deployment of transaction TCP
- ways to avoid long lists of Accept headers
and to better specify client capabilities
- consideration of an ASN.1 based format

b) security and electronic payments

Here too, intense commercial activity threatens a mess
of rival proprietary standards. We can aim to provide
an open framework for incorporating different techniques,
and to perhaps resolve export and patent licensing issues
for unrestricted use of appropriate cryptographic modules.

- authentication, non-repudiation and encryption
- certificates and key exchange
- bringing together S-HTTP and Shen etc.
- mechanisms for electronic payments and receipts
- standard APIs for cryptographic library modules
- Commodity licenses for public domain
cryptographic library modules

c) support for distributed updates

- transaction based mechanisms for remote
updates, e.g. 2 phase distributed commits

- improved mechanisms for timely updates
to information held in caches

- mechanisms for information providers
to log access to cached documents

Best wishes,

Dave Raggett

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