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About HTTP Protocol

Nearly everyone in the world has heard of HTTP (or HTTPS). It appears when we load pages on the Internet, like https://hexlet.io. HTTP is a language (protocol) that developers of browsers, servers, websites, mobile applications and ordinary programs have agreed to use to exchange data over the network. Thanks to this, we can use different browsers and open different sites without having to worry about whether or not they're suitable for each other. Imagine if there was only one way to charge all devices. That would be cool, right?

HTTP works according to the client-server model. This means that during interaction, there are two sides: the client that requests data, and the server that responds to the request. The role of the client is played by the browser.

Every time we enter a website address or click on a link, a new request is sent to the server, which generates an HTML page and returns it to the browser, which then displays it. More or less the same thing happens with mobile applications, although that's hidden from us. The data and logic of most applications are on the server, and the application simply accesses it when required.

HTTP permeates the entire development from beginning to end, whether it's backend or frontend. Any web developer will write code that executes HTTP requests or, at a minimum, generates HTTP responses (the simplest sites). Knowledge of HTTP is part of the foundation that any web programmer in the modern world should have.

What does it affect? Here are some things you can do better knowing how HTTP works:

  • Caching (a technique to speed up computing and save resources). Caching in HTTP greatly affects the performance of web applications.
  • Debugging. The ability to quickly find the source of a problem and eliminate it. The amount of magic drops sharply.
  • Efficiency. The latest versions of the protocol allow for very efficient use of communication channels.
  • Security. Secret data (passwords, keys, personal information) is constantly passed through the network. You can keep them secret only by knowing how HTTP works.
  • Design (Architecture). Proper use of HTTP allows you to make the behavior of sites and applications (mobile) much more predictable, error-resistant, and easy to maintain.
  • Authentication. The ability of sites to remember users is also based on the capabilities of HTTP (cookies).

This course introduces HTTP at the most fundamental level, in a way that doesn't depend on the language, browser, or technology used. It'll talk about the setup of the protocol itself and you how to use it correctly.


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