Gopher (protocol)

Gopher (protocol)

The Gopher protocol ( /ˈɡoʊfər/) is a TCP/IP application layer protocol designed for distributing, searching, and retrieving documents over the Internet. Strongly oriented towards a menu-document design, the Gopher protocol presented an alternative to the World Wide Web in its early stages, but ultimately HTTP became the dominant protocol. The Gopher ecosystem is often regarded as the effective predecessor of the World Wide Web.

Invented by a team led by Mark P. McCahill at the University of Minnesota, the protocol offers some features not natively supported by the Web and imposes a much stronger hierarchy on information stored on it. Its text menu interface is easy to use, and well-suited to computing environments that rely heavily on remote text-oriented computer terminals, which were still common at the time of its creation in 1991, and the simplicity of its protocol facilitated a wide variety of client implementations. More recent Gopher revisions and graphical clients added support for multimedia. Gopher was preferred by many network administrators for using fewer network resources than Web services.

With its hierarchical structure, Gopher provided a useful platform for the first large-scale electronic library connections. Gopher users remember the system as being "faster and more efficient and so much more organised" than today's Web services. Although largely supplanted by the Web in the years following, the Gopher protocol is still in use by enthusiasts, and a small population of actively maintained servers remains.

Read more about Gopher (protocol):  Origins, Stagnation, Gopher Characteristics, Gopher Server Software

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Gopher (protocol) - Gopher Server Software
... Because the protocolis trivial to implement in a basic fashion, there are many server packages still available, and some are still maintained ... Bucktooth – modern gopherserver written in Perl ... gophrier – An open source gopherserver written in C GOPHSERV – cross-platform, GPLv3, FreeBASIC ...