mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Thursday, 15 April 2004

Protocol Design

Five Favourite Protocol Design Papers

Lots of papers come and go over the years; take a look at any tech conference, online bibliographies (even subject-specific ones; Webbib is a favourite), and you’ll be inundated.

However, a few rise above the rest (no pun intended) and have real staying power; invariably, they’re about good, principled design, usually with the benefit of hard experience.

I admit a bias towards those about the Web and HTTP, but considering its success, I think it’s something other protocols could emulate. Without any more elaboration, my favourites;

A Note on Distributed Computing [pdf] — A classic that many still haven’t fully taken in

On the Design of Application Protocols — Marshall Rose’s tour de force explanation of good protocol design, with a heavy IETF bent (they tend to get things right)

Principled Design of the Modern Web Architecture [pdf] — Roy Fielding on REST (a.k.a, what HTTP got right)

Clarifying the Fundamentals of HTTP [pdf] — This oft-overlooked paper by Jeff Mogul (another HTTP author) on what HTTP got wrong

The WebDAV Property Design [pdf] — A detailed explanation of the decisions you’ll face when dealing with protocol metadata.

Any others out there?


Itamar said:

I’ve been keeping all the links on protocols and protocol design I’ve seen on delicious: (Note that page doesn’t show all of them, you’ll need to click on older dates to see them).

Sunday, April 25 2004 at 9:59 AM

mel pullen said:

One paper that I keep coming back to is - “end-to-end arguments in system design”:

Some interesting student comments on this paper are at:

My view, FWIW, is that a protocol is a serial API. It includes the sequence as well as the functions.

Wednesday, July 28 2004 at 1:24 AM

Arun said:

I want the solution mannual for the Book “Principles of Network Protocol Design” authored by “Mohammad G.Gouda”. Can anyone help me in this regard.

Thursday, May 4 2006 at 2:35 AM

Ramzi El-khater said:

I’m looking for the same thing. You can find a few solutions to problems in the book on Goudas webpage

Go to Classes and then go through the homework solutions

Sunday, May 21 2006 at 10:56 AM