Hyper: The State of the Union

Hyper: The State of the Union

It’s been a few months since I last spoke about hyper. The reason I’ve been so quiet is primarily because not much progress has been made on the project. I’ve been swamped with other projects (most notably Project Calico), and that’s limited my ability to make much forward progress.

However, in the last few weeks there’s been a bit more activity on hyper, in large part due to the excellent work of Tetsuya Morimoto, who has provided a couple of desperately needed bug fixes. If you don’t want to read the rest of this post and just want the goodness, you can download v0.2.0 of hyper from PyPI right now. Go get it!

In addition to those bug fixes, however, he provided the impetus for the most exciting new ‘feature’ of hyper, which isn’t actually a feature of hyper at all.

Big News!

The highlight is this: as of today you can get the awesome HTTPie to issue requests over HTTP/2, using hyper. This development takes advantage of HTTPie’s very cool plugin architecture to allow for all HTTPS requests to be sent over HTTP/2 instead.

Here’s an example:

lukasa@mbp:hyper/ % http https://nghttp2.org/httpbin/get
HTTP/2.0 200
access-control-allow-credentials: true
access-control-allow-origin: *
content-length: 271
content-type: application/json
date: Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:57:57 GMT
server: nghttpx nghttp2/0.7.4-DEV
strict-transport-security: max-age=31536000
via: 1.1 nghttpx

    "args": {},
    "headers": {
        "Accept": "*/*",
        "Accept-Encoding": "gzip, deflate",
        "Connection": "close",
        "Host": "httpbin",
        "User-Agent": "HTTPie/1.0.0-dev",
        "Via": "2.0 nghttpx"
    "origin": "",
    "url": "https://httpbin/get"

Notice the HTTP/2.0 return code, and the fact that this request went to a copy of httpbin that runs behind the nghttp2 HTTP/2 server.

This is hugely exciting. The above very simple web requests represents a great bit of collaborative open-source effort, involving the following tools:

  • hyper
  • requests
  • HTTPie
  • httpbin
  • nghttp2

I’d like to thank the contributors and maintainers of all those tools for this enormously exciting moment. hyper required relatively little work to slot in to HTTPie, which is a testament both to HTTPie and to hyper.

If you want to try this out, you can follow the instructions on this page to get going. Note that you should definitely play around with this in a virtual environment, as it’ll break any HTTPS-encrypted HTTP/1.1 connections you want to make. Best not to break your normal HTTPie install!

More Big News

The other big news is that hyper now supports Python 2.7.9! Thanks to the work done backporting the ssl module to Python 2.7 (PEP 466), the Python 2.7.9 ssl module is good enough to do HTTP/2. This means that Python 2.7.9 is no longer blocked behind the development-hell-ridden pyOpenSSL module.

So now those of you stuck on Python 2.7 can use HTTP/2 as well! The above HTTPie news applies just as well on Python 2.7.9 as on Python 3.4.

Exciting Times!

The summary is that hyper is in great shape right now, with lots of exciting work being done. The next step is to make sure we can transparently fall back to standard HTTPS to improve our HTTPie integration.

If you want to start working on this, then get in touch! I’d love your help.