Gopher is a communication protocol designed to distribute, search, and retrieve documents on Internet Protocol networks.
The design of the Gopher protocol and user interface was an alternative to the World Wide Web in its early stages, but was not eventually adopted, delivering the reins to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
The Gopher ecosystem is often regarded as its predecessor World Wide Web.
Το πρωτόκολλο εφευρέθηκε το 1991 από μια ομάδα με επικεφαλής τον Mark P. McCahill στο University της Μινεσότα. Προσφέρει ορισμένες δυνατότητες που δεν υποστηρίζονται εγγενώς από τον Ιστό και επιβάλλει μια πολύ ισχυρότερη ιεραρχία στα έγγραφα που αποθηκεύει.
The UI supports text only and is suitable for computer environments that rely heavily on remote computer terminals, which were common in 1991. The Gopher protocol was preferred by many network administrators because it uses fewer resources than the World Wide Web services.
Gopher's hierarchical structure provided one platform for the first large-scale electronic libraries, and is still used by enthusiasts. Although it has almost been replaced by the World Wide Web, a small number of servers remain in operation.
Yes, believe it or not, there are still Gopher servers on the Internet. But because modern browsers do not support the protocol, you will also need to download a standalone client or browser add-on to explore Gopherspace.
A great place to start is project Overbite, where you will find Gopher add-ons for many modern browsers, and even a client for Android phones.
The Overbite project is hosted by Floodgap Systems and is for you to see
gopherspace in modern operating systems, browsers and mobile devices.
Return to the low bandwidth and high performance of the Gopher protocol, directly from your mobile phone or your modern computer! Quickly connect to downloads, services, and servers maintained across the global Gopherspace using Overbite Project's free open source software.
What is Gopher for?
Gopher is not a "mini-web", but an effective way to collect and organize documents, files and services without the use of computing resources. Hierarchical nature and menu-document model complement Web and FTP protocol for faster access and simpler processing.
With information from Wikipedia