[whatwg] Web-sockets + Web-workers to produce a P2P website or application
dlwillson at gmail.com
dlwillson at gmail.com
Tue Jan 19 09:07:10 PST 2010
as someone who just listens in and is not technically savvy ...but is
helping build interactive television and film production to be browser
based... I really want to hear more about this.
On Jan 19, 2010 11:59am, Andrew de Andrade <andrew at deandrade.com.br> wrote:
> I have an idea for a possible use case that as far as I can tell from
> previous discussions on this list has not been considered or at least
> not in the form I present below.
> I have a friend whose company produces and licenses online games for
> social networks such as Facebook, Orkut, etc.
> One of the big problems with these games is the shear amount of static
> content that must be delivered via HTTP once the application becomes
> popular. In fact, if a game becomes popular overnight, the scaling
> problems with this static content quickly becomes a technical and
> financial problem.
> To give you an idea of the magnitude and scope, more than 4 TB of
> static content is streamed on a given day for one of the applications.
> It's very likely that others with similarly popular applications have
> encountered the same challenge.
> When thinking about how to resolve this, I took my usual approach of
> thinking how do we decentralize the content delivery and move towards
> an agent-based message passing model so that we do not have a single
> bottleneck technically and so we can dissipate the cost of delivering
> this content.
> My idea is to use web-sockets to allow the browser function more a
> less like a bit-torrent client. Along with this, web-workers would
> provide threads for handling the code that would function as a server,
> serving the static content to peers also using the program.
> If you have lots of users (thousands) accessing the same application,
> you effectively have the equivalent of one torrent with a large swarm
> of users, where the torrent is a package of the most frequently
> requested static content. (I am assuming that the static content
> requests follow a power law distribution, with only a few static files
> being responsible for the overwhelming bulk of static data
> As I have only superficial knowledge of the technologies involved and
> the capabilities of HTML5, I passed this idea by a couple of
> programmer friends to get their opinions. Generally they thought is
> was a very interesting idea, but that as far as they know, the
> specification as it stands now is incapable of accommodating such a
> use case.
> Together we arrived at a few criticisms of this idea that appear to be
> -- Privacy issues
> -- Security issues (man in the middle attack).
> -- content labeling (ie how does the browser know what content is
> truly static and therefore safe to share.)
> -- content signing (ie is there some sort of hash that allows the
> peers to confirm that the content has not been adulterated).
> -- privacy issues
> All in all, many of these issues have been solved by the many talented
> programmers that have developed the current bit-torrent protocol,
> algorithms and security features. The idea would simply to design the
> HTML5 in such a way that it can permit the browser to function as a
> full-fledged web-application bit-torrent client-server.
> Privacy issues can be resolved by possibly defining something such as
> "browser security zones" or "content label" whereby the content
> provider (application developer) labels content (such as images and
> CSS files) as safe to share (static content) and labels dynamic
> content (such as personal photos, documents, etc.) as unsafe to share.
> Also in discussing this, we come up with some potentially useful
> extensions to this use case.
> One would be the versioning of the "torrent file", such that the
> torrent file could represent versions of the application. ie I
> release an application that is version 1.02 and it becomes very
> popular and there is a sizable swarm. At some point in the future I
> release a new version with bug-fixes and additional features (such as
> CSS sprites for the social network game). I should be able to
> propagate this new version to all clients in the swarm so that over
> some time window such as 2 to 4 hours all clients in the swarm
> discover (via push or pull) the new version and end up downloading it
> from the peers with the new version. The only security feature I could
> see that would be required would be that once a client discovers that
> their is a new version, it would hit up the original server to
> download a signature/fingerprint file to verify that the new version
> that it is downloading from its peers is legitimate.
> The interesting thing about this idea is that it would permit large
> portions of sites to exist in virtual form. Long-term I can imagine
> large non-profit sites such as Wikipedia functioning on top of this
> structure in such a way that it greatly reduces the amount of funding
> necessary. It would be partially distributed with updates to wikipedia
> being distributed via lots of tiny versions from super-nodes à la a
> Skype type P2P model.
> This would also take a lot of power out of the hands of those telcos
> that are anti-net neutrality. This feature would basically permit a
> form of net neutrality by moving content to the fringes of the
> Let me know your thoughts and if you think this would be possible
> using Web-sockets and web-workers, and if not, what changes would be
> necessary to allow this to evolve.
> Andrew JL de Andrade
> São Paulo, Brazil
> (PS I consider myself a pretty technical person, but I don't really
> program. I only dabble in programming as a hobby and to better
> understand my colleagues. Feel free to be as technical as you want in
> your reply, but please forgive me if I make or made any bonehead
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