Re: New Version Notification for draft-kazuho-httpbis-priority-00.txt

Robin MARX <> Thu, 11 July 2019 10:19 UTC

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From: Robin MARX <>
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 12:15:16 +0200
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To: Kazuho Oku <>
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Subject: Re: New Version Notification for draft-kazuho-httpbis-priority-00.txt
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Hello Kazuho,

Yes, you are right, my apologies. Patrick's proposal recently changed to
the approach proposed by Ian Swett in and I was still thinking of
the old version.

I see that you have a PR that splits urgency up into about 8 numerical
levels (,
each with their own semantics and logic.
This feels a bit like SPDY priorities-on-steroids and is indeed a nice
middle ground between Patrick's 64 levels and your original 3. I still
don't like the naming of the groups, but to settle that I guess we will
need to resort to a duel at dawn ;)
I've left some notes on the PR adding some additional examples to the text
to further clarify intended usage. With something like that in, I feel it's
a workable proposal.

With best regards,

On Thu, 11 Jul 2019 at 05:46, Kazuho Oku <> wrote:

> 2019年7月10日(水) 18:19 Robin MARX <>be>:
>> Hello Kazuho,
>> I agree that more extensive signaling would be research project with a
>> medium/high turn around time.
>> I think that there might have been a mis-interpretation from my end on
>> that count though: I interpreted this draft as a way to be able to postpone
>> the prioritization to after H3 / not make finishing H3 dependent on it.
>> My assumption was that we would ship H3 with the draft-21 changes (aka:
>> very similar to H2's setup) and then augment/extend that with this approach
>> e.g., 6 months afterwards.
>> Instead, if I understand you correctly, it is the intent to finish this
>> together with H3 and expect browsers/clients to implement this together
>> with H3 as its default (and only?) standardized prioritization option.
> Yes. That is the intent.
> My view is that if we are to have something other than the H2-based
> design, it's beneficial to do it before or as the H3 hits the market. This
> is because then we could use H3 as the vehicle for providing something
> better, at the same time easing the pain of people implementing the complex
> H2-based scheme.
>> As such, it is my fear that we would be trying to rush this, to have
>> "something" ready by the deadline, without properly testing or
>> "researching" how it would work or if it covers all use cases. Afaict,
>> that's going dangerously close to how we got the H2 setup in the first
>> place...
>> If it's the intent to have something simpler for H3 that allows for
>> rudimentary tie-ins for server-side prioritization and that works well with
>> existing browser setups, I feel Patrick Meenan's original proposal is far
>> superior and more flexible than the current proposal in the draft for this
>> purpose, while being nearly as simple/straightforward.
>> To be clear: we could still use the "HTTP header" approach, just not the
>> "urgency" and "progressive" aspects then (e.g., priority= level=63,
>> concurrency=3).
> I think that there is a slight misunderstanding here.
> Assuming that the Patrick's proposal your are referring to is
>, concurrency is
> a boolean parameter. In terms of functionality, it is identical to the
> "progressive" parameter of the Priority header proposal.
> Therefore, the only difference between the two proposals regarding how the
> priorities are expressed are:
> * if each urgency has a meaning
> * the number of the urgency levels (3 vs. 64)
> That said, I can see that just having 3 levels would be too restrictive
> for browsers.
> If we are to propose the header-based approach as "the" priority scheme
> for H3, I think we should try to provide a way to transplant the urgency
> levels (that are currently internal to the browsers) to the "urgency"
> parameter.
>> Later work after the "research project" is done could then add additional
>> header values to allow more use cases / semantics etc.
>> With best regards,
>> Robin
>> On Wed, 10 Jul 2019 at 03:25, Kazuho Oku <> wrote:
>>> Hi Robin,
>>> 2019年7月9日(火) 22:56 Robin MARX <>be>:
>>>> Hello Kazuho,
>>>> Thanks for the comments, most of which I agree with. The clarification
>>>> from Lucas elsewhere that the frame could contain an "opaque encoded
>>>> header" makes things a bit more pleasant for me.
>>>> I have created some issues on github to further explain some of my
>>>> points, as I feel some of your comments don't really answer my other
>>>> reservations.
>>>> 5) and 7) On the semantics of the used header names and values:
>>>>     My point was more general that the semantics of what you have now
>>>> do not map (perfectly) to the semantics that are already in-place when
>>>> talking about browser resource loading and this can create confusion down
>>>> the road.
>>>>     Simply clarifying what your "re-defined" blocking means does not
>>>> help prevent confusion all that much imo.
>>>>     With your examples at the end as well, for me you are "abusing" the
>>>> blocking indicator to manipulate sending behaviour, rather than
>>>> communicating the actual semantics of a blocking resource (a CSS in the
>>>> document is still render blocking, even if it is less important than one in
>>>> the <head>).
>>> By saying "communicating the actual semantics of a blocking resource", I
>>> assume that you are suggesting to send something like "this is a request
>>> initiated by a style tag in body." Generally speaking, I think signaling
>>> that sort of signal is a good idea.
>>> OTOH, that's going to be a research project. I am open to defining such
>>> signals alongside "urgency" that's being proposed by the document. OTOH,
>>> "switching" to that approach would mean that it'd be less likely that we'd
>>> have an alternative prioritization scheme adopted when we ship H3.
>>> Therefore, it is my view that what we should do now is encode the
>>> priority levels that the browsers use today, at the same time assigning
>>> meanings to each of the priority levels.
>>> We need to assign meanings so that servers can tweak the prioritization
>>> scheme, because the server needs to know what type of resource is assigned
>>> to each level.
>>> Consider the case where a server wants to send HTML before CSS (it's not
>>> a terrible idea, that's what Chrome suggests using the H2 scheme now).
>>> That'd be only possible when the client uses a signal like "document",
>>> "blocking". If the signals were named like "highest" or "medium" (or "5" or
>>> "4"), and without the knowledge of to which of the two HTML and CSS will be
>>> associated to, it would be impossible for a server to prioritize HTML above
>>> CSS (or in the opposite order).
>>>>     Resolution to this can be as simple as re-naming the values to
>>>> prevent confusion.
>>> We can discuss about the names.
>>>> 6) On the array of use cases / semantics that can be represented/should
>>>> be representable:
>>>>     You say for example that promoting an image to a hero image is not
>>>> the intent of the example. I can then ask: how would you indicate a
>>>> hero-image server to client then? There doesn't seem to be a way in the
>>>> current setup to (properly) do this.
>>> You can set the urgency. For example, if the server believes that an
>>> image is as important as the document itself in terms of "using" the
>>> document, it can set the value of the response header to "Priority:
>>> urgency=document." That would be the instruction to the H2/H3 terminator
>>> that the response should be given the same priority level as the HTML.
>>>>     You could say that the server simply uses its internal knowledge
>>>> and sends that image first, but then the whole "this is usable by
>>>> intermediates"-argument becomes less powerful.
>>>>     I feel we should communicate as much metadata as possible back to
>>>> the server to allow it to make complex decisions, if it so chooses. The
>>>> server can still ignore most of the metadata if it decides to implement a
>>>> simpler scheme.
>>>>     In essence, the metadata communicated in the header should, imo, be
>>>> relatively de-coupled from the concrete implementations at the server (and
>>>> the current HTTP/2 setups)
>>>> With best regards,
>>>> Robin
>>>> On Tue, 9 Jul 2019 at 03:42, Kazuho Oku <> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Robin,
>>>>> Thank you for the comments. My responses below.
>>>>> 2019年7月8日(月) 23:56 Robin MARX <>be>:
>>>>>> Hello Kazuho and Lucas,
>>>>>> Thank you for the draft. Most of this feedback I've given elsewhere
>>>>>> as well, but to keep everything in one place:
>>>>>> 1) I really like the header-based approach. It's extensible, allows
>>>>>> us to make progress on H3, is easier to use/understand,
>>>>>> can be "backported" to H2, has other nice properties which you touch
>>>>>> upon in the text (intermediates, caching, etc.)
>>>>> I'm delighted to hear that.
>>>>>> 2) I really dislike the header-based approach. It makes
>>>>>> re-prioritization a mess. You don't touch upon this (yet) in the draft,
>>>>>> but the discussion on github (
>>>>>> proposes
>>>>>> using a separate, special H3/H2 level frame to provide this. This
>>>>>> just feels -very- dirty to me. The problem is that I can't really think
>>>>>> of a (much) better solution, other than referring to re-prioritized
>>>>>> resource A in resource B's headers, which is a whole other can of worms.
>>>>>> I'm not
>>>>>> really opposed to using the separate frame if that's the only option,
>>>>>> but it still takes away some of the nice properties of 1)
>>>>> While I can see how you feel sad, I am not worried, because
>>>>> reprioritization can also be HTTP-version-independent in terms of API. The
>>>>> only difference would be how the prioritization hints (in text) are encoded
>>>>> as frames.
>>>>>> 3) I really like the switch to "absolute"/"stateless" priority
>>>>>> levels/semantics (as you're referred to them elsewhere), as opposed to
>>>>>> building the tree directly.
>>>>>> This really helps for (partial) server-side (re-)prioritization. It
>>>>>> does require the server (implementers) to know a bit more about how
>>>>>> browsers work, but
>>>>>> I don't really see that as a big issue (given that we provide
>>>>>> guidance and examples on proper options)
>>>>> :+1:
>>>>>> 4) I don't feel the current defined priority fields+values cover the
>>>>>> use cases though. You touch upon this in section 5.2, but I disagree with
>>>>>> you there:
>>>>>> For me, these new priority primitives are the core of the proposal
>>>>>> (not the header-based approach. I would champion these new semantics in a
>>>>>> frame-based setup as well)
>>>>>> and imo these should be nailed down (semi-)completely before
>>>>>> considering this approach. There should probably be more degrees of
>>>>>> "urgency" \
>>>>>> (e.g., as Patrick Meenan mentioned things like "deferred" and
>>>>>> "background'), and there should maybe be something like
>>>>>> "importance"/"weight"/"precedence"/...
>>>>>> to be more fine-grained within resources of the same "urgency" level.
>>>>> I think that adding "deferred" is easy, assuming that we would agree
>>>>> on the meaning. It would mean the responses that should be sent _after_ the
>>>>> "non-blocking" responses.
>>>>> Re "background," I think we need to discuss how we want to prioritize
>>>>> them. Should we assign it a yet lower precedence (than "deferred")? Or
>>>>> should we state that it should be given some amount of bandwidth regardless
>>>>> of other responses?
>>>>> As mentioned in
>>>>>> it might be good
>>>>>> to look at the existing work on the Priority Hints spec, seeing as
>>>>>> they probably have already looked at much of this as well.
>>>>>> 5) I am also not sure about the interpretation of the current fields.
>>>>>> For example, as noted by Patrick (
>>>>>> blocking has a specific meaning and it doesn't map 100% to your
>>>>>> current text.
>>>>> I assume this to have been fixed by
>>>>> IIUC, Patrick's concern was that "blocks the processing of the document"
>>>>> seems to be applicable to JavaScript files loaded in <BODY>. In #14 we've
>>>>> changed the text to "blocks using the document", and I think it's clearer
>>>>> that urgency=blocking does not necessarily apply to such JavaScript files.
>>>>>> Similarly, what does progressive mean exactly? IIUC JS and CSS can be
>>>>>> parsed/compiled
>>>>>> in a streaming fashion in modern engines as well, it's mainly their
>>>>>> application that is delayed until they are fully available.
>>>>> When used by a client, it is a signal that indicates if the client
>>>>> prefers receiving the responses with the bandwidth being distributed among
>>>>> similar responses, or if it prefers receiving the response one by one.
>>>>> Similarly, is a non-progressively encoded jpeg
>>>>>> counted as "progressive"? How does the browser know if a JPEG will be
>>>>>> progressive or not when making the request? I feel you've got the answers,
>>>>>> but the usage of these
>>>>>> specific terms can make it more difficult to actually use this scheme
>>>>>> in practice.
>>>>> For images, a browser should set progressive to 1, when it can assume
>>>>> that the image can be rendered progressively, as doing so improves user
>>>>> experience.
>>>>> Servers would benefit from setting progressive to 0 for baseline JPEG
>>>>> images, assuming that sending the first few percent of the file does not
>>>>> improve user experience.
>>>>> Assuming that what I've stated here makes sense, I think it might be a
>>>>> good idea to clarify these points using examples in the draft.
>>>>>> 6) This is also clear a bit from the example in section 3 (switching
>>>>>> image from progressive to non-progressive). I -assume- the goal here is to
>>>>>> do something like a "hero" image,
>>>>>> which you want to send before other images. However, it feels to me
>>>>>> that "abusing" the progressive field for this is not the best way to go
>>>>>> about that.
>>>>> As stated above, that's not the intent.
>>>>>> 7) Most of this comes together in the fact that I'm having a hard
>>>>>> time thinking of how to represent existing H2 logic/browser use cases in
>>>>>> this new scheme.
>>>>>> E.g., how would you derive Chrome's current "dynamic fifo" from this
>>>>>> metadata? How would you implement Patrick Meenan's proposed 'ideal' setup
>>>>>> from these directives?
>>>>>> Having a couple of concrete examples would help to understand your
>>>>>> intents and probably also to ferret out some missing pieces.
>>>>> I agree that talking about mappings is a good idea. I think it would
>>>>> be something like:
>>>>> HTML -> urgency=document, progressive=?1
>>>>> JS, CSS in HEAD -> urgency=blocking, progressive=?0
>>>>> images -> urgency=non-blocking, progressive=?1
>>>>> async-loaded JS -> urgency=deferred, progressive=?0
>>>>> There's some wiggle room for fonts and JS, CSS being used inside BODY.
>>>>> Depending on how important they seem to be, a client can set urgency to
>>>>> "blocking" (if it essentially prevents the document from being used), to
>>>>> "document" (if it thinks that the resources are as important as characters
>>>>> and tags inside the HTML document), to "non-blocking" (if it thinks that
>>>>> they are not important in terms of using the document), or even to
>>>>> "deferred" (consider the case of a script tag at the body of the HTML
>>>>> loading some analytic script).
>>>>> If we are to be fine with one particular approach, I think we can
>>>>> recommend that. But we do not need to struggle to reach consensus on one
>>>>> particular algorithm, because in the proposed approach, servers can correct
>>>>> the precedence of mis-prioritized requests under the proposed scheme.
>>>>>> TL;DR: I see this draft as a combination of two proposals:
>>>>>> A) a new way to define priority levels/semantics (i.e., "how will the
>>>>>> resource be used " rather than "when should you send it") : all for this!
>>>>>>          Needs more work though, current draft doesn't (fully)
>>>>>> support use cases and imo, it should.
>>>>>> B) sending those new levels via headers instead of frames: many
>>>>>> advantages, and "feels right"
>>>>>>         Except for the re-prioritization bit...
>>>>>> With best regards,
>>>>>> Robin
>>>>>> On Mon, 8 Jul 2019 at 15:00, Kazuho Oku <> wrote:
>>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>>> Today, Lucas and I have submitted the following draft, that defines
>>>>>>> an
>>>>>>> HTTP header field for driving prioritization.
>>>>>>> In short, the draft defines an end-to-end HTTP header field called
>>>>>>> "Priority" for transmitting prioritization hints in absolute values
>>>>>>> that have meanings. It is much simpler than the prioritization scheme
>>>>>>> of H2 that communicates and uses a "tree". Not only the client, but
>>>>>>> also the server can send the prioritization hints, in order to
>>>>>>> improve
>>>>>>> the way the responses are prioritized. The prioritization scheme is
>>>>>>> independent to HTTP versions; it can be used on both H2 and H3 (and
>>>>>>> also on H1 for providing hints to intermediaries).
>>>>>>> For more detail, please refer to the draft.
>>>>>>> Background: back in May in London, the QUIC WG had a discussion on if
>>>>>>> porting the prioritization scheme of H2 to H3 is the way to go [1].
>>>>>>> I think there were two major arguments for having something
>>>>>>> different:
>>>>>>> * Prioritization scheme of H2 is complex, and porting it to H3
>>>>>>> increases the complexity [2].
>>>>>>> * With the H2 scheme, it is hard for the server to tweak the
>>>>>>> prioritization tree, because clients build their trees in their own
>>>>>>> ways [3][4].
>>>>>>> The arguments against were:
>>>>>>> * Redesigning prioritization for H3 is likely to delay the
>>>>>>> standardization and time-to-market.
>>>>>>> * Having something different in H3 is an act of "adding" complexity
>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>> HTTP as a whole.
>>>>>>> This discussion has led us to wonder if there could be a technical
>>>>>>> solution that resolves the issues of the H2 scheme (see the pro
>>>>>>> arguments), at the same time minimizing the downsides.
>>>>>>> And we came up with this proposal. I think the key selling points of
>>>>>>> the proposal are:
>>>>>>> * Much simpler thanks to each request carrying an absolute priority
>>>>>>> value. No need to synchronize a "tree".
>>>>>>> * Because the priority value sent by the client indicates how each
>>>>>>> request / response affects the use of other responses (e.g.,
>>>>>>> "blocking", "non-blocking"), the server can understand the intent of
>>>>>>> the client and further optimize the delivery order.
>>>>>>> * Use of the HTTP header field as the conveyer of the priority value
>>>>>>> allows an origin server to indicate hints to an intermediary that
>>>>>>> terminates the H2/H3 connections from the client. For example, an
>>>>>>> origin server can indicate higher precedence for some images that
>>>>>>> matter more to the user, while giving lower precedence to others.
>>>>>>> * Another benefit of using an HTTP header field instead of a frame is
>>>>>>> that prioritization logic becomes independent from HTTP versions.
>>>>>>> That
>>>>>>> would help both clients and servers improve the quality of their
>>>>>>> implementation, as well as fostering website owners fine-tune the
>>>>>>> prioritization through the use of the Priority response header.
>>>>>>> * A header-based prioritization scheme can be improved as time goes,
>>>>>>> as HTTP headers are extensible by their nature. It also means that a
>>>>>>> header-based design can be rolled out at an earlier stage than a
>>>>>>> frame-based design.
>>>>>>> To paraphrase, the header-based design provides simplicity,
>>>>>>> extensibility, room to evolve, and the possibility to roll out early.
>>>>>>> This could be the only prioritization scheme for H3. Separating
>>>>>>> prioritization into a version-independent approach simplifies H3,
>>>>>>> taking some load away from QUIC WG.
>>>>>>> Of course, H3 needs to hit the market with a prioritization scheme,
>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>> need to agree on that particular scheme. But I think we might be able
>>>>>>> to agree on the need for a header-based prioritization scheme, that a
>>>>>>> server can tweak, that uses absolute priorities. If that is the case,
>>>>>>> I think we have fair chance on agreeing on something pretty soon.
>>>>>>> To summarize, with the proposed design, I think we have the chance of
>>>>>>> making prioritization better as we roll out HTTP/3, without getting
>>>>>>> the standardization process delayed.
>>>>>>> Please let us know what you think. Thank you in advance.
>>>>>>> [1]
>>>>>>> [2]
>>>>>>> [3]
>>>>>>> [4] In
>>>>>>> ,
>>>>>>> Robin points out that server intervention is necessary for best
>>>>>>> performance.
>>>>>>> ---------- Forwarded message ---------
>>>>>>> From: <>
>>>>>>> Date: 2019年7月8日(月) 21:51
>>>>>>> Subject: New Version Notification for
>>>>>>> draft-kazuho-httpbis-priority-00.txt
>>>>>>> To: Kazuho Oku <>om>, Lucas Pardue <
>>>>>>> A new version of I-D, draft-kazuho-httpbis-priority-00.txt
>>>>>>> has been successfully submitted by Kazuho Oku and posted to the
>>>>>>> IETF repository.
>>>>>>> Name:           draft-kazuho-httpbis-priority
>>>>>>> Revision:       00
>>>>>>> Title:          The Priority HTTP Header Field
>>>>>>> Document date:  2019-07-08
>>>>>>> Group:          Individual Submission
>>>>>>> Pages:          9
>>>>>>> URL:
>>>>>>> Status:
>>>>>>> Htmlized:
>>>>>>> Htmlized:
>>>>>>> Abstract:
>>>>>>>    This document describes the Priority HTTP header field.  This
>>>>>>> header
>>>>>>>    field can be used by endpoints to specify the absolute precedence
>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>    an HTTP response in an HTTP-version-independent way.
>>>>>>> Please note that it may take a couple of minutes from the time of
>>>>>>> submission
>>>>>>> until the htmlized version and diff are available at
>>>>>>> The IETF Secretariat
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> Kazuho Oku
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Robin Marx
>>>>>> PhD researcher - web performance
>>>>>> Expertise centre for Digital Media
>>>>>> T +32(0)11 26 84 79 - GSM +32(0)497 72 86 94
>>>>>> Universiteit Hasselt - Campus Diepenbeek
>>>>>> Agoralaan Gebouw D - B-3590 Diepenbeek
>>>>>> Kantoor EDM-2.05
>>>>> --
>>>>> Kazuho Oku
>>>> --
>>>> Robin Marx
>>>> PhD researcher - web performance
>>>> Expertise centre for Digital Media
>>>> T +32(0)11 26 84 79 - GSM +32(0)497 72 86 94
>>>> Universiteit Hasselt - Campus Diepenbeek
>>>> Agoralaan Gebouw D - B-3590 Diepenbeek
>>>> Kantoor EDM-2.05
>>> --
>>> Kazuho Oku
>> --
>> Robin Marx
>> PhD researcher - web performance
>> Expertise centre for Digital Media
>> T +32(0)11 26 84 79 - GSM +32(0)497 72 86 94
>> Universiteit Hasselt - Campus Diepenbeek
>> Agoralaan Gebouw D - B-3590 Diepenbeek
>> Kantoor EDM-2.05
> --
> Kazuho Oku


Robin Marx
PhD researcher - web performance
Expertise centre for Digital Media

T +32(0)11 26 84 79 - GSM +32(0)497 72 86 94
Universiteit Hasselt - Campus Diepenbeek
Agoralaan Gebouw D - B-3590 Diepenbeek
Kantoor EDM-2.05