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MS brandishes 'Katana' HTTP/2.0 server

Redmond brings its next-generation web server out to play

Microsoft has gone public with a prototype HTTP/2.0 server.

The server is designed to implement the version 4 HTTP/2.0 implementable draft published by the IETF earlier in July. The idea, according to IETF HTTPBIS chair Mark Nottingham, is that progressive implementations of HTTP/2.0 will feed back into the standard.

“We're working on proposals in code as well as text … we're likely to have several such implementation drafts that progressively refine the approach we're taking”, Nottingham is quoted as saying.

Redmond says there will be a wide range of HTTP/2.0 implementations from various working group participants, with interop testing planned in August.

Redmond is using a C#-based open source Web stack called Katana server as the basis of its implementation. In the blog post announcing the implementation, MS Open Tech says the protptype supports header compression and stream multiplexing.

The MS Open Tech implementation also supports the TLS-based ALPN (Application Layer Protocol Negotiation), the HTTP Upgrade mechanism negotiation mechanism, and direct HTTP/2.0 connections.

Testers will be able to point their implementations at endpoints published at Microsoft's cloudapp.net service, although at the time of writing, the addresses identified (http://http2katanatest.cloudapp.net:8080/ and https://http2katanatest.cloudapp.net:8443) were not live (see below).

The idea of HTTP 2.0 is to slim-down the ubiquitous Web protocol to get performance improvements that you can't get merely by slinging more bandwidth at the problem: reducing the application layer latency by cutting amount of to-and-fro between client and server, and supporting request multiplexing.

MS has the test code at github, here. ®

Bootnote: Microsoft Open Tech has contacted Vulture South to note that the endpoint test links aren't supposed to be "clickable". They respond only to HTTP/2.0 browsers, such as published by the company in the github source code link. ®

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