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Network Performance Effects of HTTP/1.1, CSS1, and PNG

Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, Jim Gettys, Anselm Baird-Smith, Eric Prud'hommeaux, Hakon Wium Lie, Chris Lilley, W3C and elsewhere

One-line summary: Application-level HTTP request pipelining (using "keep-alive" or persistent HTTP), transport level compression, use of style sheets instead of "GIF text buttons", affords only a modest increase in performance (and, in this reviewer's opinion, is a band-aid over HTTP's egregious violation of the end-to-end argument).

Overview/Main Points


No surprises here, but as the "last mile" gets better and better (and less expensive per MB/sec relative to long-haul capacity), HTTP effects will get worse and worse. Keepalive and P-HTTP are a mess that expose HTTP/1.0's egregious violation of the end-to-end argument and its abuse of TCP.


Why the hell isn't anyone doing a good proxy-keepalive? This would solve all of the problems described here, and more besides. This is an area where perhaps we should try to do something with W3C (gack).
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