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Versions: 00

Network Working Group                                         J. Yasskin
Internet-Draft                                                    Google
Intended status: Informational                          October 07, 2019
Expires: April 9, 2020


                   Ecosystem Effects of Web Packaging
                draft-yasskin-wpack-ecosystem-effects-00

Abstract

   This document analyzes how Web Packaging may affect the web
   ecosystem.

Note to Readers

   This document has NOT been reviewed widely and probably contains lots
   of mistakes.

   Discussion of this draft takes place on the wpack mailing list
   (wpack@ietf.org), which is archived at
   https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/wpack [1].

   The source code and issues list for this draft can be found in
   https://github.com/jyasskin/wpack-ecosystem-effects [2].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on April 9, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.




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   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Aggregators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Browsers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   5.  CDNs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   6.  Content Producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   7.  Other effects not necessarily related to centralization . . .   4
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     10.1.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     10.2.  URIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Appendix A.  Change Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Appendix B.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5

1.  Introduction

   Web Packaging, as currently defined in
   [I-D.yasskin-wpack-bundled-exchanges] and
   [I-D.yasskin-http-origin-signed-responses], is a system to allow
   content authored by one web origin to be retrieved in an optionally-
   trustworthy way from a peer or other intermediate server.  The ESCAPE
   conference [3] was chartered to (among other things) look for any
   increase in consolidation that might result from standardizing Web
   Packaging.  The known possible effects on centralization and power
   imbalances, arranged by the type of service provider, and not
   filtered by benefit, harm, or likelihood, follow.

2.  General

   o  The implementation of any new technology is a smaller fraction of
      a large organization's budget, which pushes toward centralization.






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3.  Aggregators

   o  Aggregators' primary power comes from ranking: telling people that
      they probably want to visit particular URLs.  That's not affected
      by packaging.

   o  Aggregators already rank based on sites' content and technology
      choices. e.g.  Google's promotion of HTTPS sites.  Packaging can
      give the aggregator more certainty about the user's experience,
      which might lead to more intrusive requirements.

      For example, the Google Search Carousel might be able to insist on
      particular Javascript that could handle swipe gestures where they
      might not be willing to rely on just having seen such JS on the
      last crawl.  However, packaged Javascript must also be able to
      reload the page from the origin to deal with retracted content,
      and that could break reliance on knowing the exact content in the
      same way.

   o  Prefetch improves navigation speeds from aggregators that can
      predict which links users will click.  The ability to make that
      prediction is an economy of scale which encourages centralization.
      This is likely to have more effect for some kinds of aggregators
      (search engines?) than others (news streams?).

4.  Browsers

   o  Packages add pressure to have just one or a few versions of a
      site's content, which might reduce publishers' willingness to
      support lots of different browser engines with different features.
      They'll either settle on the lowest common denominator with some
      progressive enhancement or target the most popular couple engines,
      which is likely to be Chromium (Google Chrome, Edge, Brave,
      Samsung Internet, Opera, UC Browser, etc.) and WebKit (Safari),
      disadvantaging Gecko (Firefox).

      However, "we only tested in Chrome" is enough of a problem on the
      online web that it's not clear how big an additional impact
      packaging can have.

5.  CDNs

   o  Adding a new kind of distribution might transfer traffic from CDNs
      to large aggregators, which would reduce CDNs' revenue.

   o  However, CDNs will still be needed to serve URLs that users type
      in, bookmark, or navigate to via same-site links, so there's




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      disagreement, even among employees of CDNs, about the likely size
      of this effect.

   o  CDNs might be able to acquire even more traffic by offering
      package caches to let smaller sites take advantage of prefetching.

6.  Content Producers

   o  If Web Packages become an additional format publishers need to
      produce (https://xkcd.com/927/ [4]), that will advantage the
      larger publishers who can afford the engineering to maintain lots
      of formats.  If instead they replace at least 2 of the existing
      formats (e.g.  AMP, Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles),
      that'll reduce that advantage of larger publishers and contribute
      to decentralization.

   o  If aggregators use packaging to serve a significant fraction of
      content producers' bytes for free, this reduces the amount the
      producers need to pay CDNs, which would allow more marginal
      content producers to stay profitable, increasing diversity.

7.  Other effects not necessarily related to centralization

   o  When an aggregator prefetches a web package, the static content
      will load instantly, but ads and other dynamic content will have a
      visible delay.  Personalization might have a delay or might be
      loaded from local storage effectively instantly.  It's not clear
      what ecosystem effects the changes in loading speed are likely to
      have.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document has no security implications.

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

10.  References

10.1.  Informative References

   [I-D.yasskin-http-origin-signed-responses]
              Yasskin, J., "Signed HTTP Exchanges", draft-yasskin-http-
              origin-signed-responses-07 (work in progress), September
              2019.





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   [I-D.yasskin-wpack-bundled-exchanges]
              Yasskin, J., "Bundled HTTP Exchanges", draft-yasskin-
              wpack-bundled-exchanges-02 (work in progress), September
              2019.

10.2.  URIs

   [1] https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/wpack

   [2] https://github.com/jyasskin/wpack-ecosystem-effects

   [3] https://www.iab.org/activities/workshops/escape-workshop/

   [4] https://xkcd.com/927/

Appendix A.  Change Log

   RFC EDITOR PLEASE DELETE THIS SECTION.

Appendix B.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to the ESCAPE workshop attendees for coming up with many of
   the effects in this document.

Author's Address

   Jeffrey Yasskin
   Google

   Email: jyasskin@chromium.org





















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