# 2019-06-12 What I want from Gopher

A while ago I wrote about the things I want from Gopher, see 2019-04-08 A Plan for Gopher.

1. UTF-8
2. TLS
3. No dot at the end of the transmission, just hang up
4. and a new item type „w“ where you can post text („write“ or „wiki“)

I’d like to add a new item to the list: rendering some Markdown. I’d like bold and italics to work; I’d like headings to be bold; I’d like code fencing to disappear – assuming we’re using fixed width and no word wrapping, nothing else is required.

Here’s how the clients I use compare:

Client Platform UTF-8 TLS no dot write Markdown
gopher.el Emacs yes yes yes patch no
VF-1 Shell yes yes yes patch no
Gopher iOS no no yes patch no

So I think that’s what I’ll try to do: add some simple Markdown highlighting to the two clients I know how to change: gopher.el and VF-1.

I mean, it’s easy to do in a terminal using escape sequences. Try this in your shell to see how it would work:

echo -e "\x1b[1m this is bold \x1b[0m"
echo -e "\x1b[3m this is italic \x1b[0m"

As for Emacs, I’d love to have a Markdown minor mode but I don’t think such a thing exists.

Recently I read Solderpunk’s The true spirit of gopher. It’s very convincing! One wonders: what do we need the menus For if we could simply have good inline links in our text files?

Something to ponder.

Tags:

More on this topic you may want to consider gopher://gopher.lunaticgeek.com/0/minimal-viable-web.md

edkalrio 2019-06-13 15:42 UTC

I think the observation is correct: the item types are bogus and mostly useless. Gopher maps are misused as text files. It hurts my brain.

But the solution doesn’t have to be HTML and HTTP. It can be Markdown and simple sockets, with a layer of TLS or Tor on top. I would like it better because that’s the kind of client and server I can implement, unlike a caching, chunking, meta-data lassen HTTP protocol with a plethora of useless tags and a cumbersome way of writing those tags into the text.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-06-13 21:21 UTC

OK, using VF-1 and mdcat:

Append the following line to you RC file, for example like this:

echo "handler text/plain mdcat %s" >> ~/.config/.vf1rc

The handler command makes mdcat the tool to display text files!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-06-15 22:11 UTC

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