Saturday, November 28, 2015

HTTPs as it could be

Google has reinvented the wheel HTTP and called it HTTP/2. This comprehensive article about HTTP/2 describes how the web will benefit from this new protocol.

The problem with HTTP/2, as with most of what Google does is that it was designed by coders, not by system architects. The protocol severely lacks internal clarity and integrity. The server should behave in many (at least 4) completely different ways depending on what it supports and what the client requests. It's like trying to combine the truck's wheel with the bike one.

The authors are definitely not readers but writers. There exists SSH family of protocols, which does a thing very similar to what HTTP/2 does. And SSH has quite complicated but logical internal structure. The only thing missing from SSH (not exactly missing but not used) is X.509 certificates and/or OpenPGP keys - while both are in theory supported as authentication methods, almost no real software supports these methods (our SecureBlackbox supports OpenPGP and import of keys from X.509 certificates). Meanwhile HTTP/2 is a combination of old HTTP, new protocol (completely unrelated to HTTP) with fallback to HTTP, and more. Probably the authors of HTTP/2 are adepts of the pastafarian church.

The authors could easily learn how to design the multiplexing scheme right, but, as said, they are likely not readers.

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