Skip to main content

Dear WebSocket, 1980 called and wants its text mode back among other things

This is a mostly tongue-in-cheek response to RFC 6455, which defines the WebSocket protocol, which I recently built a client for and can be found in the Ultimate Web Scraper Toolkit. Certain things annoyed me.

Dear WebSocket,

FTP called (RFC 765, circa 1980) and wants its text mode back. Please return it to the nearest Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) member as soon as possible. You may have shined it up a bit with UTF-8, which was basically designed on a napkin. Of course, Unicode has never had any implementation problems with it whatsoever. Ever.

Your masking key is for clients only and not even being optional for servers defies the core Internet tenet of being liberal with what you accept, strict with what you send. Technically, both are peers and therefore both are clients of each other since you are, after all, bi-directional and the client could easily function as a server after the connection is established. Because this has absolutely never ever been done before.

Your comments about the Origin header only being sent by web browsers enables differentiation from an automated script and a web browser. Or does it? No, it does not. For I can simply send to the target whatever Origin header I want and therefore look like any web browser of my choosing. Your false defenses are no match for my Kung Fu.

Your reserved bits per frame are silly and probably full of arbitrary limitations. From the comfort of my keyboard and screen, I fart in your general direction.

Your required closing packets are unnecessary and most likely a security risk with anyone assuming that such frames will ever be sent. TCP already has built-in shutdown mechanisms. Ping/pong frames are more than sufficient.

Since it is important to always remember the childrens, you get an F--. Enjoy.


The portion of the Internet that actually knows how to design rational communication protocols.