The future of the web is almost taking a huge leap towards big changes.Users can now work on HTTP/2 by the Internet Engineering Task Force HTTP Working Group has finished, according to group chair Mark Nottingham, who made the announcement on his personal blog. HTTP/2 now has to go through the final editing process before it is published and becomes an official web standard.
The announcement comes a little more than a week after Google announced that it was discontinuing SPDY in favor of HTTP/2 inside Chrome. SPDY won't fully disappear from Chrome until early 2016, while HTTP/2 support will roll out to Google's browser in the coming weeks.
HTTP/2 promises to make response times faster for web clients (browsers) and reduce the load on servers. But it will take some time for the new standard to get released across the web and for all the kinks to get sorted out. As Nottingham explained in a blog post from 2014, "HTTP/2 isn't magic Web performance pixie dust; you can't drop it in and expect your page load times to decrease by 50%." Once server admins get the hang of HTTP/2, it will boost web performance.
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The biggest change with HTTP/2 is a new feature called mutliplexing that, together with header compression, allows multiple server requests to be sent at the same time. HTTP/2 also uses fewer connections between server and client, and allows servers to push content straight to a browser.
While the bulk of the work on HTTP/2 is done, the IEFT HTTP WG isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's already looking ahead to the possibility of an HTTP/3, as well as improving current HTTP specs with other features like HTTP message signing for improved server-to-browser authentication.