Firefox 11 Gets SPDY

Chris CrumIT Management

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It was just last week that Google was talking about SPDY gaining adoption.

Google announced SPDY in 2009 as a protocol for transporting content over the web. SPDY, Google explained, was designed for minimizing latency through features like multiplexed streams, request prioritization and HTTP header compression.

This week, Mozilla launched Firefox 10, but it is Firefox 11 that will be the first version of the popular browser to implement SPDY.

Google's Matt Cutts is pleased.

Really nice to see Firefox adding SPDY support: More about SPDY: 11 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

"The most important goal of SPDY is to transport web content using fewer TCP connections," explains Patrick McManus on the blog. "It does this by multiplexing large numbers of transactions onto one TLS connection. This has much better latency properties than native HTTP/1. When using SPDY a web request practically never has to wait in the browser due to connection limits being exhausted (e.g. the limit of 6 parallel HTTP/1 connections to the same host name). The request is simply multiplexed onto an existing connection."

"Generally speaking, web pages on high latency connections with high numbers of embedded objects will see the biggest benefit from SPDY," he says. "That’s great because its where the web should be going. High latency mobile is a bigger part of the Internet every day, and as the Internet spreads to parts of the world where it isn’t yet common you can count on the fact that the growth will be mobile driven. Designs with large numbers of objects are also proving to be a very popular paradigm. Facebook, G+, Twitter and any avatar driven forum are clear examples of this. Rather than relying on optimization hacks such as sprites and data urls that are hard to develop and harder to maintain we can let the transport protocol do its job better."

Mozilla has been a contributor to SPDY. Google said last week that they’re all working hard at finalizing and implementing draft-3 of SPDY early this year. Google also provided the following video:

Best practices for SPDY can be found here.

It actually looks like Firefox may be soon getting more Chrome-like in other ways as well - particularly with the home page and new tab page.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.