Android Gets Gopher

Tuesday Jul 6th 2010 by Developer.com Staff
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Gopher was an early Internet protocol that has since been relegated to the dust bin of technology, but now it might get a second life on mobile devices.

If you're old enough, you might remember one of the early Internet protocols called Gopher. Well, now one developer is hoping to revive the now stagnated protocol with an Android application for Gopher called Overbite.

Ars Technica's Ryan Paul has the story.

Overbite is an open source application written by retrocomputing enthusiast Cameron Kaiser.

Paul reported:

Overbite is a stand-alone application, but it is designed to integrate well with Android's Web browser. Overbite registers itself as a handler for the gopher protocol, which means that it will launch automatically when you click a Gopher link in the Android Web browser. Overbite also allows you to input a Gopher URL manually. I tested it by visiting several popular Gopher destinations, such as Thomas Thurman's Gopher interface to Reddit.

The charm of Gopher is that it offers a consistent navigation paradigm and a lightweight content delivery format that eschews noise and distraction. Although it has largely fallen out of use, Kaiser believes that it still has a role to play alongside the conventional Web. He says that the protocol could still be particularly useful on some mobile devices like feature phones, where bandwidth constraints and limited presentation capabilities make the full Web impractical.

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