Software

Google to cease SPDY protocol help early 2016

February 10, 2015 weblog

Google to stop SPDY protocol support early 2016

Goodbye SPDY. The official Chromium blog from Chris Bentzel, Multiplexing Manager and Bence Béky, HTTP/2 Enabler, said on Monday they are saying goodbye to SPDY, the open nonstandard protocol that they were using. Chrome supported SPDY since Chrome 6, but now the plan is to remove support for SPDY in early 2016. They will also remove support for a TLS extension named NPN. (TLS stands for Transport Layer Security extension. NPN stands for Next Protocol Negotiation, which "allows application level protocols to be negotiated without additional round trips and with clean fallback in the case of an unsupportive MITM proxy.")

Why the change? Bentzel and Béky said a new version of the protocol HTTP/2 is "well on the road to standardization." The Chromium team will gradually roll out support for HTTP/2 in Chrome 40 in upcoming weeks. ALPN (stands for Application-Layer Protocol Negotiation Extension) will replace NPN in Chrome at the same time.

In 2009, Google engineers Mike Belshe and Roberto Peon announced SPDY as a research project that was part of their effort to make the web faster. They said at the time that "over the last few months, a few of us here at Google have been experimenting with new ways for web browsers and servers to speak to each other, resulting in a prototype web server and Google Chrome client with SPDY support." They said that SPDY was designed specifically for minimizing latency through features such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization and HTTP header compression.

Ars Technica referred to SPDY as "Google's interim protocol." Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch said SPDY added features to HTTP, including "the concepts of streams, prioritization and protocol negotiation, that made it easier and more efficient for browsers to request multiple files from the same server without lots of back-and-forth between the server and client." Peter Bright, technology editor at Ars Technica, also discussed what roles SPDY played: "SPDY's major goals were to reduce latency and improve security. To reduce latency, it included support for multiplexing—making multiple requests and responses over a single connection, with prioritization for different requests—and for security, it makes the use of TLS compulsory."

Bright said HTTP/2 accomplishes the same things as SPDY and with the backing of industry consensus, "it makes sense for SPDY to be phased out in favor of the standard." Lardinois similarly remarked that it made sense for Google to redirect resources. "SPDY helped set the tone for HTTP/2, but at this point, there is no need for Google's own efforts in this area (at least until HTTP/2 grows stale and outdated again)."

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Google's SPDY will speed up downloads More information: blog.chromium.org/2015/02/hell … -spdy-http-is_9.html

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