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Re: Questions about URLs for Gopher search items

On Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 7:29 AM solderpunk <solderpunk@sdf.org> wrote:
> However, if I use Lynx to navigate to the Veronica 2 search engine at
> Floodgap and do a search for "cheese", then use the = button to get Lynx
> to show me the URL of my current location, it tells me I am at:
> gopher://gopher.floodgap.com/7/v2/vs?cheese
> Note the use of ? instead of %09 to separate the search term from the
> selector.

This got me curious about if there was a legitimate reason behind Lynx's
decision to do search URLs this way. I did some digging and found this section
in the Lynx documentation [1].

> For pre-formed URLs to submit gopher searches, it may be better to use a ?
> rather than hex-escaped tab (%09) as the separator for the searchpart in the
> selector, e.g.:
> gopher://gopher.wfbr.edu/77/_shell/search.shell%20/_shell/walker?lynx*
> Lynx will handle the %09 if you use that instead of ?, but other WWW clients
> may mishandle it.

And then that got me wondering, so I booted up some old web browsers:

- Internet Explorer 2.0 (Windows 95)
- Netscape Navigator
- NCSA Mosaic 2.7b6

And sure enough, all of these browsers display gopher URLs the same way that
Lynx does, with a "?" to separate the search string from the selector. It looks
like the special search string parsing is only performed if the URL is of type
7. So it appears that there is a historical precedence for it, at least in the
world of 90's web browsers.

[1] https://lynx.invisible-island.net/lynx_help/lynx_url_support.html#gopher_url


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