The World Wide Web Consortium has announced that the IETF has approved the draft standard for HTTP 1.1, a new HTTP standard that is due to increase speed and quality of web data transfer.

From the W3C press release:

"HTTP is the primary protocol of the Web, originally proposed by Tim Berners-Lee while he was at CERN. HTTP/1.0, co-authored by Berners-Lee, Henrik Frystyk Nielsen of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Roy Fielding of the University of California at Irvine, was the first version of the HTTP that was widely used on the Internet. Although extremely popular, it had several significant performance issues that, combined with increased use of the Web, caused severe load problems on many parts of the Internet.

The purpose of HTTP/1.1, first proposed by Roy Fielding while at ICS/University of California at Irvine, is to provide higher end-user performance while preserving the integrity and stability of the Internet using features including persistent connections, pipelining, caching, and IP address preservation.

As important, the HTTP Digest Authentication mechanism, described in the accompanying HTTP Authentication specification, defines a method for authenticating a user to an HTTP server without exposing the user's passwords to potential eavesdroppers. This is an important step toward improving security on the Web."

The full press release is available from the W3C web site.