Blurred lines: browsers vs non-browsers?

On 3rd October 2017 at The Financial Times as part of Non-browser HTTP clients / SEM quick wins / .NET Core 2.0

Web browsers are the archetypal HTTP client. They provide myriad features, and are often backed by developer, security and UX teams, to name a few. Browsers are user facing and grab attention, particularly in web performance terms. But what of the non-browsers? The RESTful API clients, voice assistants, and IoT clients of the world. These less glamorous, and often invisible, diverse set of tools and libraries are the workhorses that play a major part in keeping the Internet, the Web and the services running atop all ticking over nicely.

This talk begins with the question "What is a browser?" and considers the answer through the lens of HTTP features and capabilities. Spoiler: the answer is complicated. We'll consider how Browsers play an important part in driving the evolution of the web and whether non-browsers will be left behind

Along the way we'll also look at HTTP clients in the context of market reach, and some case studies arising from Lucas' direct experience.

Session video


Presented by

Lucas Pardue

Engineer at Cloudflare


Lucas is an engineer at Cloudflare and (newest) co-chair of the IETF QUIC Working Group. He specializes in Internet protocols with a particular interest in the Web Platform, content delivery and media. In 2014, he joined BBC R&D and started playing with HTTP/2 and QUIC, which lead on to getting involved with the IETF standardisation activities. In 2018, he joined Cloudflare to work on their HTTP/3 and QUIC implementation quiche, and helped to deliver these services on the edge in 2019.


Non-browser HTTP clients / SEM quick wins / .NET Core 2.0


3rd October 2017

Skill level