Jim Whitehead (
Thu, 21 Aug 1997 10:32:18 -0700

Here is a brief summary of the HTTP-NG (Next Generation) BOF held at the
Munich IETF. This is a copy of the 1 pagagraph summary the chair of the
meeting is required to produce immediately after the meeting, and hence the
words are presumably those of Jim Gettys, the BOF Chair.

What I thought was notable during this BOF was the trend in the room toward
having HTTP-NG be a "GTP," a generic transfer protocol, rather than being
the basis for an improved hypertext system (e.g., closer to the Xanadu
ideal, without taking 25+ years to develop, like Xanadu :-). The other
item to note is that this IETF HTTP-NG effort is taking place in parallel
to an HTTP-NG effort being performed by the W3C.


A BOF was held to see if there was interest in working on requirements for
a next generation HTTP protocol. Over 50 people attended. After a general
overview of the problem and discussion, a list of topics that might result
in informational documents was produced, including: 1) survey of existing
HTTP usage, 2) understanding usage and non-uage of HTTP, 3) how POST is
being (ab)used in HTTP to tunnel other protocols, 4) what administrative
boundary controls are needed for a new protocol, 5) recommendations on
firewall policy, 6) tunnelling of SSL, 7) caching strategy, 8) HTTP use in
proprietary systems, 9) general family goals. These might form the basis
for deliverables in a working group charter. The attendees were polled
asking how many might actually do real work to produce some documents;
there seemed to be of order 8-10 people who claim they will be willing to
contribute. A short discussion on schedule also ensued; best would be a
schedule by the Spring IETF if possible, as other prototyping work is
beginning now, and for input to have the most impact, it needs to be timely
in nature. Charter and schedule bashing will occur on a mailing list to be
set up as a result of the BOF.