Upcoming SPDY support details

Alek Storm alek.storm at gmail.com
Thu May 17 09:43:29 UTC 2012

Hi all,

I'm developing SPDY (draft 2) support for Tornado, a Python web framework
that often uses nginx as a reverse proxy. AFAICT, nginx will roll out its
own SPDY support in 1.3, to be released at the end of May or in early June.
I'd like Tornado to complement nginx's design, but I can't find any details
of its SPDY implementation online or in svn, so I'll ask a few questions

1. To avoid the significant overhead of an SSL connection, nginx
communicates with the server behind the reverse proxy on unencrypted HTTP.
However, whether to use HTTP or SPDY framing is normally decided via NPN
negotiation during the SSL handshake. Since the backend server can't
distinguish between a forwarded HTTP or SPDY connection without the SSL
layer, will there be a mechanism for delegating HTTP connections to one
address/port, and SPDY to another? Alternately, will nginx serve as an
HTTP<=>SPDY gateway, so that all requests appear to be SPDY to the backend

2. Will there be any way to take advantage of nginx's caching when pushing
static resources that would normally be served by it? For example, the
backend server could send a SYN_STREAM frame with the UNIDIRECTIONAL flag
set and only the "url" header included - if the URL points to a location
that nginx would serve, nginx takes over, filling in the rest of the
headers and serving the file's contents.

I'd appreciate any guidance you may have.

Alek Storm
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