Thursday, 15 April 2004
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?