Dec 29, 2012

Deprecating HTTP

After much careful thought and consideration, I’ve decided that the cl-async HTTP implementation does not meet the criteria for its continued maintenance, and is now officially deprecated. The functions will still be loaded into the cl-async package for the forseeable future, so any existing applications built off of them (none…) will not break. That said, any bugfixes or feature requests will most likely be ignored from here on out, unless you wish to fork and issue a pull request (if you do this and change the API, doc updates are also encouraged).

There are a few reasons for this, which I will, of course, go into now:

  • I never trusted the libevent HTTP server implementation. Unlike the libevent socket API (bufferevents), it offers very little customization and moldability and feels like a slapped together afterthought. Maybe I’m being paranoid and it’s really stable and wonderful, but I tend to go with my gut. The more I think about features I’d want to build on top of the HTTP server, the more I realize that I’ll just be reinventing the wheel (and the more I realize that the HTTP server is really just a glorified header processor that prohibits streaming of chunked content).
  • The HTTP client feels the same way…not as much thought was put into it as the rest of the libevent library, and its feature set is small.
  • There is now a drakma-async library…an async port of the drakma library that everyone loves. This makes the HTTP client in cl-async completely and utterly redundant.
  • There are a few bugs/issues in the libevent HTTP implementation that would require a great deal of workarounds in C land to solve, and I just don’t care enough to get it done.

I’d much rather spend my time building on top of a solid base of well-thought out TCP libraries than holding together a feature-poor, shaky HTTP implementation which can be replaced by better applications with a bit of time.

I’m going to be spending my free time over the next few weeks porting hunchentoot to be async. I’ve started on some initial conversion code (which is going well thanks to hunchentoot’s use of methods) and it looks like it might not be too bad of a process. I’ll keep everyone updated as I make progress.

Bye, HTTP.