[FoRK] Mnot on protocol design

Contempt for Meatheads jbone at place.org
Fri Apr 16 09:16:54 PDT 2004

I think he nails the top 5 must-reads:


Five Favourite Protocol Design Papers

Lots of papers come and go over the years; take a look at any tech  
conference, online bibliographies (even subject-specific ones; Webbib  
is a favourite), and you’ll be inundated.

However, a few rise above the rest (no pun intended) and have real  
staying power; invariably, they’re about good, principled design,  
usually with the benefit of hard experience.

I admit a bias towards those about the Web and HTTP, but considering  
its success, I think it’s something other protocols could emulate.  
Without any more elaboration, my favourites;

A Note on Distributed Computing [pdf] — A classic that many still  
haven’t fully taken in [1]

On the Design of Application Protocols — Marshall Rose’s tour de force  
explanation of good protocol design, with a heavy IETF bent (they tend  
to get things right) [2]

Principled Design of the Modern Web Architecture [pdf] — Roy Fielding  
on REST (a.k.a, what HTTP got right) [3]

Clarifying the Fundamentals of HTTP [pdf] — This oft-overlooked paper  
by Jeff Mogul (another HTTP author) on what HTTP got wrong [4]

The WebDAV Property Design [pdf] — A detailed explanation of the  
decisions you’ll face when dealing with protocol metadata. [5]

Any others out there?


[1] http://research.sun.com/techrep/1994/smli_tr-94-29.pdf
[2] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3117.txt
[3] http://www.ics.uci.edu/~taylor/documents/2002-REST-TOIT.pdf
[5] http://www.goland.org/Tech/spe-whitehead.pdf

More information about the FoRK mailing list