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Advancements in the design of web browsers have introduced fundamental changes to the architecture of application protocols. The widespread availability and growing sophistication of JavaScript interpreters in browsers enables web servers to push to browsers all of the application logic required to implement a client-server protocol. Consequently, many client-server applications that once required an installed client on a host computer now can rely simply on a modern browser to act as a client for the purposes of a particular application. For example, where once email clients required a custom application to access an inbox, increasingly a web browser can serve this purpose as well as the purpose-built applications of the past. Similarly, HTTP with the assistance of JavaScript can subsume the functions performed by the protocols like POP3 and IMAP. The need for Internet standards beyond HTTP to implement an email inbox application consequently diminishes - why author standards and worry about interoperability of clients and servers when the server can simply push to the client all the code it needs to be interoperable?

Many client-server applications on the Internet could potential migrate to this post-standardization environment. In this environment, there is of course still a role for the IETF to play: existing working groups like HyBi and OAuth are examples of areas where standards work is still required to support this application development paradigm. Collectively, we need to identify areas where the standardization is unlikely to be relevant in the future, and focus our efforts on those areas where our application designs will remain impactful. The goals of this session are to explore future areas of IETF work surrounding this evolution.


Jonathan Rosenberg (Skype)

Harald Alvestrand (Google)

Henry S. Thompson (W3C)

[Possibly a fourth panelist]