Re: Problem with "~user/file.html"

Tim Berners-Lee <>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 1994 12:13:27 --100
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From: Tim Berners-Lee <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Problem with "~user/file.html" 
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Dan suggests,

> 	... click <A HREF="finger://my.domain/myloginname">here</a>...

> I'm not sure about the URL syntax for a finger query... you should check
> the spec or the code or something.

this is almost a FAQ.  The gopher URL can be used to make a finger query.
where the 0 indicates plain text coming back, and 79 is the finger port  

> But the finger application is already quite widely deployed. Let's not
> get into the mindset that the HTTP server should solve all the world's
> problems.

Sure,  if what you want is plain text about a user, finger is fine.
(We'd hate to solve all the worlds problems wouldn't we ;-))

> Hmm.... how does one specify that the data coming back from the finger
> request is to be interpreted as HTML?

Oh dear.  You certainly can't do that.  The finger protocol is
that you send a user name and you get back plain text. If you
return anything else, you are breaking finger.  You can't do
that to existing protocols.  You will have complaints from
finger client users.

Of course, you could define an enhanced  "htfinger" protocol, which had a
header on the response to say what the data type was coming back,
or a "gofinger" protocol which had a letter prepended to the
username to say what data type one should expect...  :-)))

> With the DTD I wrote a long time
> ago, it would be:

> 	... click <A HREF="finger://my.domain/myloginname"
> 			CONTENT-TYPE="text/html">here</a>...

> But nobody else seemed to think that content-type was a good thing to
> put in a link. I sure think it's useful.

That's what gopher0 does. It doesn't work when you get the same thing
available in many formats, or when the format changes.  But it does mean
that you can put up an appropriate icon on eth link automatically. 

> Dan