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Jetty embraces Google’s SPDY

Chris Mayer
Jetty

The open source server places its chips on Google’s ‘Speedy’ protocol and proclaims a revolution.

Open source server Jetty has included experimental support for Google’s SPDY protocol, its latest exploration into providing super-fast web pages.

The SPDY protocol, already deployed in the latest Chrome browsers and on Amazon’s Kindle, is a fundamental rethinking of the old HTTP approach, claiming to reduce browser latency by a factor of three for some webpages. Although not entirely cutting itself free of HTTP, SPDY offers improved latency, throughput and efficiency by reducing HTTP’s verbosity, with the hope that it will be at the forefront of the mobile browser environment.

And Jetty is getting in on the action early with Jetty-SPDY, as part of their latest releases, Jetty 7.6.2 and 8.1.2. The source code isn’t available to play with until next time round though, as it somehow slipped out of the distribution.

With Twitter flicking the SPDY switch on last month and all of Google’s services provisionally supporting it, the decision for Jetty to push the boat out was a simple one. After all, 50% of browsers are offering a glimpse into SPDY’s potential.

Some may question Google’s intentions here – it is pretty much an attempt to use their market share to instill this huge shift. But as pointed out on the Jetty developers blog, this attempt from Google has good merits. GregW of Jetty said:

I’ve not been shy in the past of pointing out google’s failings to engage with the community in good faith, but in this case I think they have done an excellent job.  The SPDY protocol has been an open project for over two years and they have published specs and actively solicited feedback and participation.  More over, they are intending to take the protocol to the IETF for standardisation and have already submitted a draft to the httpbis working group. 

The post offers a good view of the entire Google project, concluding that despite some reservations over the unilateral approach and the fact that they could gain an internet monopoly, Google have been open about how they want to make the web faster. And that can only be a good thing in our view.

The Jetty developer team are certainly keeping their finger on the pulse, first supporting emerging protocol WebSocket and now SPDY. A pure Java implementation of the Next Protocol Negotiation (NPN) TLS Extension, also available in Jetty 7.6.2 and 8.1.2.

They are encouraging early adopters to test out Jetty’s SPDY and give feedback via jetty-dev@eclipse.org. Expect SPDY to become an ever-present for many open source servers in the future.

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