Using TurboGopher to Access HappyMacs Archive

I mentioned in my last post that perhaps the most “classic” way to access the HappyMacs software archive was to do so from a classic Mac, via the TurboGopher application.

TurboGopher About Screen

I have TurboGopher, which is a FAT binary, running on both my 68K Macs and my PPC Macs, and so it should work for any classic Mac you may have. I have tested it from Mac OS 7.6.1 onwards.

This post is a mini tutorial on how to access the HappyMacs gopherspace from TurboGopher, and how to set the default font in TurboGopher so that the HappyMacs gopherspace renders nicely on your Mac.

Default Font and Size

Let’s start with the default font. Like many gopherspaces, the HappyMacs gopherspace uses some ASCII art to make the site a bit more visually attractive. In order for this art to render properly, it is key that the Gopher client (TurboGopher in this case) uses a fixed width font. I have settled on the Monaco font for no particular reason other than that I like the way it looks, but you can use any fixed width font that appeals to you. However, all the screen shots below feature Monaco.

To set up Monaco as the font to render gopherspaces with, go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher, as shown below:

1 - TurboGopher Prefs

From the Preferences dialog, drop the Other Preferences list in the middle of the window and select Default Font & Size, as shown below:

2 - Default Font, Size

Now navigate the font and size list to select Monaco 12, as demonstrated below:

3 - Monaco 12

When done, the result should look like this:

4 - Resulting Screen

Accessing HappyMacs Archive

Now that you have the default font and size set properly, accessing the HappyMacs gopherspace is a breeze. Once more go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher and select Another Gopher, as shown below:

1 - Another Gopher

In the resulting dialog, type in “happymacs.ddns.net”, as demonstrated below:

2 - happymacs.ddns.net

If all is well, you will be greeted with the following display of the HappyMacs gopherspace:

3 - Resulting Screen

That’s it! Note that the image of the classic Macintosh, and the “Welcome to HappyMacs” banner are both examples of the ASCII art I mentioned above.

Bookmarking the HappyMacs Archive

One last thing. All of us live in the modern age, even if we have a certain fascination with vintage Macintoshes and MacOS, and so we are attuned to the idea of web browser bookmarks. Wouldn’t it be nice to bookmark the HappyMacs archive so that you did not have to type in the address every time you wanted to access it? Well happily, TurboGopher lets you do just that, although it is not entirely obvious how to do this until you have walked through it the first time. So… let’s walk through the procedure here.

When you start up TurboGopher, it presents two windows – the Home Gopher window and the Bookmark Worksheet. This later window is the bookmark list that we want to work with. By default it comes preset with a number of what were helpful gopher links back in the late 1990s. These days, they are all dead links, and need to be replaced with more current ones. Let’s add the HappyMacs archive to the list, and then delete all the others.

To do this, follow the procedure above to arrive at the HappyMacs gopherspace site. Next, position your cursor on the window’s top bar and type Opt-c. This copies the gopherspace’s URL to an internal copy/paste buffer. Now, position your cursor on the top bar of the Bookmark Worksheet window, click once and type Opt-v. This pastes your HappyMacs gopherspace URL into the bookmark list. Finally, to get rid of the preloaded and now dead links, position your cursor on each of them, one by one, click once, and type Opt-x. This deletes them, one by one. When done, you should be left with just the HappyMacs gopherspace in your list.

Bookmarking the Floodgap Systems Gopherspace

There is one other site you might wish to add. I think of it as the father of all current gopherspaces – gopher.floodgap.com. I have made it my Home Gopher in TurboGopher. gopher.floodgap.com is the gopherspace of the same Floodgap Systems people who bring you the Overbite plugin for Firefox and act as the general champions of Gopher in today’s world. You can follow a procedure similar to the one for arriving at the HappyMacs gopherspace to get yourself to the Floodgap gopher page and then add it to your bookmarks list. You may also wish to make it your Home Gopher, which you can do by editing the Home Gopher definition, available as the first selection in the Preferences dialog under the Gopher menu of TurboGopher.

4 - Resulting Screen

Editing Gopher Bookmarks

One more “last thing”! Like any good bookmark, you can rename TurboGopher bookmarks to anything you want as opposed to having the actual URL show up in the list. To do this, highlight the bookmark of interest, go to the Gopher menu of TurboGopher and select Edit Gopher Descriptor, as shown below:

1 - Edit Descriptor

In the resulting screen, type in the name of your choice in the Title section of the editing screen, as demonstrated below:

2 - Editing Screen

I did this for both HappyMacs and Floodgap, and here is my current Bookmarks Worksheet:

3 - Resulting Screen

…and that really is it for this TurboGopher tutorial!

Happy Gophering!

 

HappyMacs Gopher Space Progress

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had started a long term project to create a HappyMacs Gopher space for the purpose of sharing my archive of vintage Mac 68K and PPC applications with the larger vintage Mac community. I am happy to report that I have made substantial progress since then. This post provides a quick rundown on that progress.

Creating Gopherspace

The first issue to solve was that of where to host the new Gopher space. After investigating the big Gopher hosting sites and several of the large web hosting sites (none of which could even spell Gopher! 🙂 ), I ultimately opted to host the new Gopher space directly out of the HappyMacs lab. This was the most economical, certainly the most “fun”, and also allowed me to choose a completely distinctive URL for the site.

Public addressability therefore became the next issue – how to make a server in the HappyMacs lab publicly (but securely) addressable from the outside world. My ISP didn’t help at all – I am a residential customer and they would only provide fixed IP addresses to business accounts (which were prohibitively expensive). Since fixed IPs were clearly not possible, I ultimately settled for a Dynamic DNS (DDNS) solution. In such a solution, a cloud based DDNS service provides you with a fixed URL of your choosing, and then dynamically maps that URL to the ever changing DHCP-based dynamic IP address supplied by your ISP. In my case, I chose NoIP.com as my DDNS provider and selected “happymacs.ddns.net” as my URL.

no-ip_logo

With hosting and public addressability out of the way, I needed a Gopher server to run on the host! There were two major contenders in this field: Gophernicus and Bucktooth. I chose Gophernicus because it is written wholly in C/C++ and is fully POSIX compliant, which the author stated allowed it to be compiled on any *nix platform. Mac OS X is such a platform and so in theory, Gophernicus can be built for Mac OS X. Being adventurous, I tried it! The exercise was not entirely smooth sailing. The present stable distribution of Gophernicus is set up for current versions of Mac OS X, and did not work “out of the box” with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. However, my long experience of building software for Linux provided me with the skills needed to adjust the Makefile until Gophernicus did build properly, and shortly thereafter, I had a working Gophernicus server running on my Tiger-based G5 Quad.

G5

OK, hosting, check. Public addressability. Check. Gopher server, check. Now I needed a gopher space to serve! I knocked together a quick placeholder site and tested it, and all was well. Then I got to work on a little ASCII art and made the site a tad more attractive to look at.

Finally, I addressed the issue of a hit counter. Being not just adventurous but also curious, I wanted to know if this new Gopher space was getting any traffic, and if so, how much. That required at minimum some form of basic hit counter. Gophernicus helped me out here, with its ability to run external scripts. Gophernicus returns to the requesting client the output of any script it runs instead of the line in the gophermap that initiates the script. Hence, a script that implemented a hit counter and “printed” the counter’s value as its output was just what the doctor ordered.

Sounds good … now, how to implement such a script? More poking around revealed the existence of something I have never heard of before – “command line PHP”. I own and maintain multiple web sites, all written in PHP, and so I am very, very familiar with this powerful and (to me at least) intuitive scripting language. However, I have always thought of PHP as a server-side web capability, not a general purpose command line script language. As it happens however, since PHP 4.3, it can indeed be used for this very purpose. Exploiting this, I created the usual “hello world” script and it worked!

A little bit of cutting and pasting later, and I had extracted the PHP hit counter from one of my web sites and made it into a command line script, which I then embedded in my gophermap. Voila! One hit counter up and running!

PHP Hit Counter

…and that is where it stands at this moment. I have acquired a public URL, built a Gopher server, hosted it on my PowerMac G5 Quad, created an initial gophermap and put the whole thing online. You can view the result at:

gopher://happymacs.ddns.net

There is very little meaningful content at the above Gopher space at the moment, but all the critical infrastructure is now in place, and I can start filling out the software archive portions of the site over time. This will happen in fits and starts over the coming weeks. I am going to begin with the Mac OS 68K applications and then move on to the Mac OS PPC applications. Finally, I will add in the Mac OS X PPC applications.

That’s it for now. Good progress in a very short time. I think. Stay tuned – I will update you when the 68K archive comes online!