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IETF drafts near-final HTTP 1.1 spec

Standards body catches up with what Web servers have been doing for ages

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The latest generation of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (http), version 1.1 has become an official Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Draft Standard, the Web's governing body, the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) has said. HTTP is the protocol used to facilitate communication between Web browsers and servers, and has remained largely unchanged since version 1.0, based on the work done by Tim Berners-Lee (now the W3C's director) at CERN, became an official standard. Version 1.1 addresses some issues with the current version, most notably 1.0's inability to handle the major increases in traffic Web servers have been forced to cope with since the Internet became popular outside academe. According to the W3C, HTTP 1.1 was designed to "provide higher end-user performance while preserving the integrity and stability of the Internet using features including persistent connections, pipelining, caching, and IP address preservation". Security issues have also been addressed through the HTTP Digest Authentication system, which allows a Web server to authenticate a user while ensuring the user's password is not made accessible to hackers. As an IETF Draft Standard, HTTP 1.1 is now declared stable -- all known technical issues have been resolved and "has multiple interoperable implementations". In other words, it's as near as dammit final. In any case, most Web servers already support HTTP 1.1, based on earlier, Proposed Standard specs., so there's unlikely to be any upheaval when servers are updated with either the Draft or Final Standards. The wheels of the Net standards bodies may grind exceeding slow, but at least they're also exceeding sure. ® See also Net bigwigs team up to push IP 6

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