Open + Connected

Session Details

HTTP 101 - Or, What Exactly IS Under the Hood?

TPR1 Technical: Propeller Hats Required Track



As Web professionals, every day we use software that implements the HTTP protocol. Usually, the details of HTTP are hidden from our view: browsers, servers, programmers, and system administrators make it so the average user thinks 'http' is simply a 4 letter symbol that goes at the beginning of a link. However, to a Web programmer or even Web designer in these days of client side XMLHTTPRequest scripting, knowledge of the details of how HTTP messages are constructed and interpreted can be useful.

This session provides an introduction to the basics of HTTP including its concept of requests and responses, agents, error signaling and cache control, character sets, and media types. We'll cover techniques to inspect HTTP transmissions "on-the-wire" to help troubleshoot and debug your applications. We'll cover tips on how to speed up your website and applications by interpreting the contents of the communications between browsers and servers..


Jason Woodward
Director of Administrative Computing, Cornell University

Jason has been a software engineer since 1996 and has been building Web applications since 1998. He built the software running the world's first downloadable music subscription service,, in the first dotcom boom. After returning to school, he's been writing Web content management and administrative Web applications for Cornell University, and currently directs a team of six software developers. His interests lie in the areas of human cooperation, information interoperability, and where those topics meet: communication of information and knowledge. He holds a BS and M.Eng
in computer science from Cornell University.