Shared HTTP Caching
I’ve been wondering why the web doesn’t have a mechanism for uniquely identifying a resource by a means other than its URL. I think if such a thing existed, then HTTP caches for common files could be shared between sites.
- The user has never loaded jQuery before - They get to download it from fast servers
- The user has visited another site that also hosted jQuery on google - They don’t have to download it at all.
However, there are issues with this:
- This will not work on a restricted intranet
- If the copy of jQuery on google was somehow compromised, a large number of sites would be effected.
- If google is unreachable(it happens!), the site will fail to function properly
There should be a way to include a checksum like so:
(sha1 usage here is just an example, a more secure method could easily be used instead)
This would have two benefits:
- If the copy of jQuery was maliciously modified, or simply corrupted, the browser would refuse to load it.
- The browser may be able to use a cached copy of jQuery from another site with the same checksum.
This sort of fits in with one of the ideas in the A New Way to look at Networking talk by Van Jacobson.