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Subject: Gophermail


From: Walter Henry <whenry>
Date: Monday, April 25, 1994
The following appeared in comp.infosystems.gopher and is reproduced here
without the knowledge or consent of the author.

 Article: 6650 of comp.infosystems.gopher
 Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 09:28:02 EST
 From: dkeefe [at] explorer__clark__net ("Dick Keefe" )
 Subject: Re: e-mail access to gopher
 In message <S310719JAN199411040000> F.L.M. Maas at
     Corporate-Automation 1994/01/19 11:04 writes:
 > For certain reasons I have only e-mail access to the internet. Does
 > there exist an e-mail enabled gopher service that I can send gopher
 > queries to?
 > Frans Maas

 Following is one approach...

 About GopherMail  1993,8,16

 GopherMail is a gopher client that uses electronic mail to interact
 with the user.  Messages containing menus and gopher link information
 are mailed to users in response to their requests.  Users reply to
 these messages and indicate which menu items they want.  It lets people
 use Gopher without requiring them to have an account directly on the
 Internet, because it communicates through email messages instead of
 direct "live" network connections.

 Until now, Gopher could only be used by people with Mac's, PC's, NeXTs
 and Suns, etc. which are "live" on the Internet, or through login
 accounts on Internet machines.  Gopher client programs would make a
 direct network connection to the Gopher server on the host with the
 desired information, anywhere on the Internet, anywhere in the world.

 Thanks to the GopherMail program, most of the resources of Gopher are
 now available to everyone with email-only access to the Internet.  One
 estimate says that there are more than 10 million people who are off
 the Internet, but can reach it with email.  Wow.

 Getting Started

 You can get started by sending mail to "gopher [at] nips__ac__jp" with any or
 no subject and any or no message body. GopherMail will reply by sending
 you it's main gopher menu. You then use your email program to reply to
 that message, including it in the text of your reply. Mark which menu
 options you want to follow-up by putting an "X" (or "x") anywhere near
 the beginning of the line, before the menu numbers for those options.

 >From there you can just keep repeating the process, sending replies
 back to gopher with the desired items marked with an X. To make it more
 efficient, you could edit your replies so they contain just the gopher
 link information for the items that you want. You'll find all the link
 information after the menu, at the bottom of the menu messages that
 GopherMail sends to you. Some items on gopher menus are database
 searches and college phone books. To search for a particular name or
 keyword(s), you simply send them on the "Subject:" line of the message
 in which you've Xed the phonebook or WAIS database menu option.


 GopherMail's options include:
   - Message splitting after a certain file size
   - Menu splitting after a certain number of menu items
   - Re-using links saved in a "Bookmarks" file
   - Requesting the Gopher menu for a specific hostname
   - Requesting this help file
   - Selecting menu items using fewer keystrokes
   - Requesting items from the Info-Mac Archive
   - Requesting gopher items with their raw link information

 Since many email gateways have size limits on email messages, it's
 possible to split GopherMail output into several messages when it
 exceeds a certain size. This can be done by specifying a maximum number
 of menu items to send in one message, or by specifying a maximum size
 in bytes for text, HQX, binary and sound files. There are a couple of
 ways to do this. The first way is to put "Menu=50" and/or "Split=30000"
 (for example) in the "Subject:" of your message when requesting gopher
 menus and/or files. This would limit the output to 50 menu items per
 message, and would send files in messages of approximately 30,000 bytes
 each, maximum.

 The other way is to include these same instructions in the body of the
 message, on separate lines. For example:

 Split=25K  You may have text after the "25K".
    The "K" or "k" becomes "000".
 Menu=75    Yes, I know 1K = 1024, but it was easier to write this way.

 Lines like these already appear in menu messages, you can find them
 after the menu items and before the link information. They contain the
 default values. You should edit these lines to contain the values that
 you want. All subsequent menus will contain your preferred "Menu=" and
 "Split=" values. Setting these values to 0 (zero) has the effect of not
 splitting messages at all. The default is to split menus after 100
 items, and files after 27,000 bytes.  If "Split=" or "Menu=" appear in
 the Subject: of the message, these will override the values set in the
 message body.

 You can specify a different host when requesting a top level gopher
 menu by placing a fully qualified domain name as the "Subject:" of your
 message (such as  You can also specify a port
 other than the default of 70 by placing it after a fully qualified
 domain name in the subject (e.g. 800).

 The most efficient way to use GopherMail is to mail just the link
 information for one or several gopher items.  You can build a type of
 "bookmarks" file by saving the links that you want to use again.  If
 you mail just the link information for a gopher connection, GopherMail
 will follow the link and mail you the output.  Here's what you need:

 Name=About GopherMail      <- This is optional, it returns in the
 Type=0                     <- This is required, see below for a list of
 Port=70                    <- Port 70 is assumed, required only if
 Path=0/8. About GopherMail <- This is usually required, depends on the
                                link.     <- Required.  This MUST be the last line of
                                the link.

 Supported Types are:

          0  -- Text File
          1  -- Directory
          2  -- CSO name server
          4  -- Mac HQX file.
          7  -- Full Text Index (these are often WAIS database searches)
          9  -- Binary File
          s  -- Sound
          I  -- Image

 Binary, Sound and Image Files are sent as uuencoded files.

 If you send the word "help" as the subject (no quotes), GopherMail will
 send you this help file.

 To save a few keystrokes, instead of putting X's in front of the menu
 lines, you could also just insert lines at the top of the reply which
 contain an "X" followed by the menu number that you want, such as:

 Macintosh Programs and other files uploaded to the Info-Mac Archives on
 Sumex at Stanford can be easily requested through GopherMail.  Just
 send mail to gopher with the complete "Archived as" line for each file,
 such as: [Archived as /info-mac/dir/file-name.hqx; 400K] GopherMail
 will recognize these as Info-Mac requests, and retrieve them from the
 gopher server on  Since mail programs like
 Eudora can automatically de-binhex only complete HQX files, the default
 for Info-Mac files is not to split them into parts. This can easily be
 overridden by supplying a "Split=" value on the Subject: line.

 GopherMail also recognizes gopher link information in "raw" form, which
 means tab-delimited on one line.  A typical link might look like:

 0About GopherMail#0/8. About

 The "#" marks represent tab characters.  This may not seem very useful,
 but it allows you to copy a link from a program like GopherApp and
 paste it into a message to gopher for processing by GopherMail.

 Why GopherMail?

 I was afraid that after leaving my job at Calvin in 1993, I might not
 be able to get an account which has direct "live" access to the
 Internet, and therefore have no more cool gopher access.  I expect that
 no matter where I live, I'll manage to at least find a service (free,
 cheap, or commercial) that will let me send email to Internet
 addresses.  My GopherMail program lives on an Internet computer, such
 as this Sun at Calvin where it started, or the computers at U of Minn,
 or maybe someday on every gopher server on the net, and it accepts
 email requests from anyone, on or off the Internet.  It makes the
 gopher connections on the Internet, then it emails the results back to
 the person who requested them, to whatever their email address is.


 GopherMail was written in Perl by Fred Bremmer in September 1992. Nick
 Hengeveld helped with the TCP portion, and Matt Ranney provided the
 book on Perl and helped with some regular expressions.  Several friends
 helped to find bugs and suggest improvements.

 For help, to report bugs, or for more information, send email to
 "gophermail-admin [at] calvin__edu"

 If you have some comments for this Gopher, send email to
 "gophermail-admin [at] nips__ac__jp"

 Dick Keefe           Prime Internet:  dkeefe [at] explorer__clark__net
 907 Sixth St,SW      Backup Internet: dkeefe [at] tmn__com
 Suite 402C           *** NOTE THE ABSENCE OF America On-Line ***
 Washington, DC 20024 Voice: 202-863-0682

 The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
 one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore
 all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
 -- George Bernard Shaw

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:77
                  Distributed: Monday, April 25, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-77-010
Received on Monday, 25 April, 1994

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