The Gopher protocol is an unsung hero of the technological age we find ourselves in. You see, the Gopher protocol was around BEFORE there was even the internet… at least the internet we know and love today. You see, you actually are not on the REAL RAW internet, rather you are using what is known as a browser. This particular browser is design to read certain kinds of code out there, in this case it is the WWW protocols and HTML that became the dominant codes for the internet at large.
The internet and world wide web really are two different things. And before there was the WWW, it was all about Gopher baby.
What is interesting is that Gopher is actually a much better structure than WWW. At least in programming terms it was superior. This is because it was heavily menu based and text based. So when you are operating computers from long distances that are heavily text based, Gopher protocol worked great. In newer versions of the protocol, they have since updated it to allow multimedia files to be displayed. Not to mention other updates such as having a truer graphical interface. Alas, Gopher has missed the opportunity to take on the internet center stage.
Gopher is a sign of what can happen if a company does not take care to protect its product and to continue to grow it. In the early 90s it held a much stronger grasp of the internet than the WWW protocol, which back then didn’t even exist. It was only when the Gopher protocol tried to change its licensing fees that it scared everyone away from it. Instead, CERN – the same geniuses involved in the Large Hadron Collider – created the WWW protocol even though they disclaim otherwise. This second protocol that offered competition to Gopher would later become the HTML framework we are all so familiar with.
So why could Gopher not keep up with the HTML format of their competitor?
In fact, it is still a big deal.
However, the Gopher protocol is by no means absolutely 100% dead.
Quite the opposite (well okay not quite haha).
Hobbyists still setup Gopher severs, often around Aprils Fools. At this time of writing, there is around 160 Gopher servers that have been verified. Yes. So that means there is an internet outside of the world of HTML to explore -for the brave and for the savvy who know how. If Gopher had updated itself quicker and caught, perhaps we would not live in the world of the World Wide Web and the Lords of HTML. Perhaps instead, our internet browsers would browse proudly beneath the wavering flag of the Gopher Protocol.
But who is to say?
History is history. Either we, we are a world wide web kind of people nowadays.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece of history. Keep up with my website as I’ll be talking more about coding and different aspects of it as time goes on. Look forward to entertaining you with more than just some old coding protocols, despite the Gopher having a clever name haha.