HyperText Transfer Protocol (http) Charter

NOTE: This charter is accurate as of the 31st IETF Meeting in San Jose. It may now be out-of-date. (Consider this a "snapshot" of the working group from that meeting.) Up-to-date charters for all active working groups can be found elsewhere in this Web server.


Applications Area Director(s):

Area Advisor

Mailing List Information

Description of Working Group

Note: This working group is jointly chartered by the Applications Area and the Transport Services Area.

The HTTP working group will work on the specification of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). HTTP is a data access protocol currently run over TCP and is the basis of the World-Wide Web. The initial work will be to document existing practice and short-term extensions. Subsequent work will be to extend and revise the protocol. Directions which have already been mentioned include:

improved efficiency, extended operations, extended negotiation, richer metainformation, and ties with security protocols.

Note: the HTTP working group will not address HTTP security extensions as these are expected to be the topic of another working group.

Background information

The initial specification of the HTTP protocol was kept in hypertext form and a snapshot circulated as an Internet draft between 11/93 and 5/94. A revision of the specification by Berners-Lee, Fielding and Frystyk Nielsen has been circulated as an Internet draft between 11/94 and 5/95. An overview of the state of the specifications and a repository of pointers to HTTP resources may be found at


Once established, the working group will expand and complete that document to reflect HTTP/1.0 as it has been implemented by World-Wide Web clients and servers prior to November 1994. The resulting specification of HTTP/1.0 will be published for review as an Internet-Draft and, if deemed appropriate, will be submitted to the IESG for consideration as a Proposed Standard or Informational RFC.

In parallel with the above effort, the working group will consider enhancements/restrictions to the current practice in order to form a specification of the HTTP protocol suitable for eventual consideration as a proposed standard.

Also in parallel with the above efforts, the working group will engage in defining (or selecting from various definitions) a next-generation protocol for hypertext transfer (HTTPng).

Goals and Milestones

Draft working group charter. Establish mailing list and archive.
Review draft charter for discussion at the Chicago WWWF'94 conference. Invest an interim Chair for the working group. Determine writing assignments for first draft of HTTP/1.0 document.
Publish an Internet-Draft on HTTP as reflected by current practice (HTTP/1.0)
Meet at the San Jose IETF as a BOF. Review HTTP/1.0 Internet-Draft and decide whether it should be published as Informational, should be a candidate for further working group development, or should be allowed to expire. Determine writing assignments for first drafts of the HTTP/1.1 or HTTPng documents. Establish charter and submit to IESG
Feb 95
Revise the Internet-Draft on HTTP/1.0 and, if desired, submit to the IESG for consideration under the category determined at San Jose IETF.
Feb 95
Publish Internet-Drafts on HTTP/1.1 and HTTPng.
Apr 95
Final review of HTTP/1.1 draft at the Danvers IETF. Revise HTTP/1.1 draft and submit to IESG for consideration as Proposed Standard. Review progress on HTTPng.
Dec 95
Final review of HTTPng draft at the Dallas IETF. Revise HTTPng draft and submit to IESG for consideration as Proposed Standard. Retrospective look at the activities of the HTTP WG.

No Current Internet-Drafts

No Request for Comments