cURL / Mailing Lists / curl-library / Single Mail


Anyone for HTTP Pipelining?

From: Daniel Stenberg <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 23:25:39 +0200 (CEST)

Hi friends.

I'm currently working on writing down ideas and thoughts around adding HTTP
Pipelining support to libcurl. Below is my first take at some notes. I'm
posting this mail to you guys to let you know my intentions and also with the
hope that perhaps someone has some good ideas or experiences with pipelining
that they feel like sharing with the rest of us!

Doing HTTP Pipelining with libcurl


Since pipelining implies that one or more requests are sent to a server before
the previous response(s) have been received, it cannot be implemented easily
into libcurl's easy interface due to its synchronous nature. We therefore only
aim on adding it for multi interface use.


When using the multi interface, you create one easy handle for each transfer.
Bascially any number of handles can be created, added and used with the multi
interface - simultaneously. It is an interface designed to allow many
simultaneous transfers while still using a single thread.

Pipelining however, will force us to allow apps to somehow "connect" two (or
more) easy handles that are added to a multi handle. The first one sends a
request and receives a response, just as normal, while the second (and
subsequent) ones need to be attached to the first handle so that it can send
its request on the same connection and then sit and wait until its response

To ponder about:

- Explicitly ask for pipelining handle X and handle Y ? It isn't always that
   easy for an app to do this association. The lib should probably still resolve
   the second one properly to make sure that they actually _can_ be considered
   for pipelining. Also, asking for explicit pipelining on handle X may be
   tricky when handle X get a closed connection.

- Have an option like "attempt pipelining" and then it _may_ use that if an
   existing connection is already present against our target HTTP server? May
   cause funny effects if the first transfer is a slow big file and the second
   is a very small one... Also probably requires some kind of notification
   support so that the app can get to know that the handle is put "in line" for

- We need options to control max pipeline length, and probably how to behave
   if we reach that limit.

- When a pipeline is in use, we must take precautions so that we either don't
   allow the used handles (i.e those who still wait for a response) to be
   removed, or we allow removal but still deal with the outstanding response

- Currently (before pipelining) we do not have any code or concept that lets
   multiple handles share the same physical connection. We need a lock concept
   and carefully make sure that each handle knows exactly what they can do and
   when, on the shared connection.

- We need to keep a linked list of each handle that is part of a single pipe
   so that if it breaks, we know which handles that need to resend their

  Commercial curl and libcurl Technical Support:
Received on 2006-06-22