Friday, July 22, 2011

This week I was asked to review draft-ietf-hybi-thewebsocketprotocol-10, The Websocket Protocol, as it gets closer to being an IETF RFC. After I sent my review, I was prompted to look back and reminded myself that I wrote the first message to apps-review back when it had a separate mailing list, asking for the first review from the newly-formed team. This explains why I'm still reviewing IETF documents despite having no current IETF activity -- I feel I owe a few people a few reviews in return. 

Websockets itself also brought back the memories.  I approved the BOF, the "Birds of a Feather" meeting that organized the HyBi Working Group (WG), and approved the formation of the WG.  I felt it was very important that the Websocket protocol be developed in a venue where we had server developers and transport and security experts as well as browser developers. We also had to ensure that the protocol was considered quite separate from the Websocket API which is part of HTML5.  Much painful experience shows that while protocol libraries are hard enough to upgrade, the protocols stay around for long and are even harder to fix or replace, so backward compatibility, versioning and extensibility are crucial.

While IETF progress for Websocket protocol was, as almost everything at the IETF is, agonizingly slow, I was glad to see that the near-end result has pretty solid HTTP compliance, solid framing and transport text, and deals with security concerns that weren't even on the radar before the IETF effort. Personal kudos to Joe Hildebrand, Alexey Melnikov, Ian Fette, Ian Hickson, Adam Barth and Salvatore Loreto, and kudos to everybody else who contributed.

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