[hybi] The future of WebSockets, and the WiSH proposal

Takeshi Yoshino <tyoshino@google.com> Tue, 25 April 2017 07:26 UTC

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From: Takeshi Yoshino <tyoshino@google.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:26:16 +0900
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Subject: [hybi] The future of WebSockets, and the WiSH proposal
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Hi,

I’d like to start discussing here on HyBi ML how we should evolve
WebSockets.

We’ve been thinking about this topic, and proposed WiSH [1] briefly at the
HTTP WG (IETF 97 f2f) in Nov 2016. The HTTP-WG chairs suggested that this
topic should be discussed within the WebSocket community. While HyBi WG is
currently closed, this ML is still the best place to have this discussion.

[Background]

WebSocket (WS) is widely adopted. Popular sites such as GitHub, Slack,
WhatsApp and Twitch are using WS. A majority of HTTP implementations now
support WS, including client/server libraries, web frameworks and
intermediaries.

HyBi WG had been trying to evolve WS after finalizing the base WS protocol.
Personally I have been the editor for the compression spec [2].

[WiSH]

WiSH [1] is a general purpose message framing format for providing
bi-directional message-based communication for the Web, considering
compatibility with the WebSocket API and intermediaries. WiSH is applicable
for any byte-stream oriented reliable wire protocols.

Given the wide adoption of WS and the rapid evolution of HTTP, e.g. QUIC
[3], we believe that the WiSH proposal creates an ideal evolution path for
WS users, by leveraging the HTTP infrastructure and the widely deployed WS
ecosystems at the same time.

In designing the WiSH spec, we decided to layer WS framing as a MIME type
over the standard HTTP semantics (v.s. any specific wire-transport version
such as HTTP/1.1 or HTTP/2). WiSH will be made transparent to existing
applications, i.e. WiSH doesn’t require extending or modifying existing
APIs on the client or server side. WiSH can also automatically benefit from
infrastructure support for HTTP/*, especially with guaranteed connectivity
(no/less fallback needed). This makes the overall solution much more Web
friendly and future proof

We’d like to hear your feedback on the WiSH proposal and/or any general
thoughts on how to evolve WS.

Thanks

[1] WiSH I-D https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-yoshino-wish (GitHub
https://github.com/bidiweb/wish/blob/master/draft-yoshino-wish.txt)
[2] RFC 7692 Compression Extensions for WebSocket
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7692
[3] QUIC Protocol https://www.chromium.org/quic