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TCP/IP File and Message Transfer Applications and Protocols (FTP, TFTP, Electronic Mail, USENET, HTTP/WWW, Gopher)
The purpose of networking applications
is to allow different types of information to be sent between networked
devices. In the world of computers, information is most often arranged
into discrete units called files. When those files are created
specifically for the purpose of communication, they are often called
messages. One of the most important groups of TCP/IP applications
is the one that describes the basic mechanisms for moving these files
between internetworked devices: file and message transfer applications.
In this section I describe in detail
the most important applications used in TCP/IP for file and message
transfer, and the protocols that implement them. I begin with an overview
of these applications, and a description of the differences between
them. I then include four subsections that describe the four most important
file/message transfer application families: explicit file transfer,
electronic mail, network news (Usenet) and hypertext (the World Wide
Web). I also provide a brief look at the Gopher protocol, which has
fallen out of favor but is worth a quick mention, especially due to
its role as an historical precursor of the Web.
Related Information: I have made the decision to draw a distinction between application protocols that are normally used explicitly by a user to move messages and files, and those that are used implicitly to share files. The former usually use specific commands to transfer data and are described in this section. The latter work by creating the appearance to the user that a file on a remote device is actually local, by transmitting commands and data over the network automatically, and are described in a separate section on network file and resource sharing protocols. In TCP/IP, this sharing function is most often performed by the Network File System (NFS).
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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