Is it time for a protocol renaissance?

HTTP. Poor, abused old HTTP. She's a good workhorse, and has carried the weight of the World Wide Web over the long and dusty plains of the internet for many a year.

While originally designed for the transfer of Hypertext documents and, later, Hypermedia, developers have slowly been finding newer and more contrived ways to step around the limitations of HTTP.

Financial transactions are a good place to start. HTTP has no knowledge of user identity or authenticity, no concept of a transaction or a refund, and no explicit method to verify all steps have succeeded. Sure, application state can be managed to allow such operations to exist on an application level, but now you're placing the responsibility for financial data in the hands of millions of web developers around the world, all of whom are free to roll their own hackneyed solutions. A Hyperpayment Transaction Protocol (HPTP) could define a set of standards around making and accepting payments (in any currency, including crypto), and take the weight of responsibility for other people's financial data off the poor web developer for once.

Imagine making a request like:


> PAY hptp://alex.parker.me
> CURRENCY AUD
> AMOUNT 15

And receiving a response:

> 100 PAYMENT ACCEPTED

What a wonderful world that would be!

But why stop there? How about another major use of the Internet; social media? Is a human being and their social network really a hypermedia object? HTTP doesn't make any distinctions based on friendship or privacy. Having applications defining social structure makes it impossible for users of different networks to interact with one another.

A Hypersocial Transfer Protocol would decentralize social networks and put the power of managing their identity back in the hands of individuals. Imagine being able to edit your profile in the application of your choice, whether self hosted or in the cloud, and then serve it locally or through a provider of your choice? Imagine making stateful requests like:

> CONNECTWITH hstp://alex.parker.me [COWORKER]
> RECIPROCATE hstp://joe.blogs.me [COWORKER]

And, if the request is accepted:

> CONNECTWITH hstp://joe.blogs.me [COWORKER]
> RECIPROCATE hstp://alex.parker.me [COWORKER]

Think of the possibilities!

> SUBSCRIBE hstp://alex.parker.me/status?tags=php+mysql+apache2

HTTP has served us very well. Its simple nature allowed a huge adoption to rapidly occur, like a planet violently being formed. But now that things are calming down a little and we can survey the landscape, maybe it's time to clean up shop a little and start building some nice structures so that we can proceed in a more orderly fashion.

None of this is new thinking, but maybe it's time for a protocol renaissance.

Edit #1: I'm kicking off a collaborative document which will outline / justify a HSTP. I'll provide further details when it's available.
Edit #2: I'll be transitioning this site away from Drupal shortly. Please excuse the mess...
Edit #3: The gods must be listening. Also I decided Drupal was okay.