GOPHER 2.0 - GRUMBLINGS
Hey, I hear you. :-)
I want to keep part 4/4 "The Client" as short as possible. So I'm posting this first as an interlude.
Let's get the main disclaimers out of the way:
Ignore the title "Gopher 2.0" - I'm just sticking with it to keep continuity.
I completely agree with those who have argued that Gopher should remain exactly as it is if for no other reason than for old hardware and software to keep working.
After the next post, I'm going to switch to non-technical con- tent for a while. So if this arrived and made you roll your eyes, just skip it and don't give up on the old Ratfactor just yet. :-)
I've seen the word "simple" used a lot lately when talking about Gopher and I want to address that.
I guess there are different kinds of "simple":
Allowing any sort of text encoding is simple... Except you're just offloading the difficulty of dealing with detecting and dis- playing different text encodings to the client.
Having directory listings is simple... Except the format is something only a computer could love.
A lack of hyperlinking in content is simple... Except we're still gonna use them, so you're just making a human copy-paste a path.
The inability to re-flow text is simple... Except it means text content is horrible to read on smaller displays.
I really can't state it better than Solderpunk from "The soul of Gopher" 0
"Arguably, a protocol [without a hard line between menus and documents] has a stronger claim to being minimalist and simplistic than one with it, all else being equal. What could be simpler than everything being the same kind of thing?"
Same thing with text encoding. 7-bit ASCII is already valid UTF-8. You're probably already serving it. What could be sim- pler than going ahead, requiring it, and being able to depend on that?
I've been a professional Web developer for two decades. I was building Web applications in the early years of the browser wars. I've watched the complexity of the Web grow into what it is to- day. My day job is working on a boring and massive Web-based business application which actually needs all of that complexi- ty in order to function.
(I also like the community.)
I want to be able to build clients and servers and experiment and have those experiments be "first class citizens" on a platform.
I can do that with Gopher. I love that.
I'm not attacking Gopher.
I see room for improvement. I can't help it. That's what I do.
If I see something that's not working perfectly, I want to make it better.
Unlike the "real world," when you get something right on a com- puter, it stays right!
That's why I program computers in the first place: I love making the computer do the work!
Look, I think we all know the chances of introducing a new proto- col/markup/client that takes off and becomes popular are about one in a million.
This is all just "ideas in the shower" and I'm writing them down because I can't help it.
I'm sharing them because others might be interested.
That's it. :-)
Thanks for reading!
Soweli Lukin Issues Alex Schroeder