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The System of the World Wide Web: The first thing I ever wrote for RESTful Web Services was a short chapter about why the Web beat two competitors that had a head start on it, and what that implies about the general utility of the Web technologies. It was inspired by Rohit Khare's "Who Killed Gopher? An Extensible Murder Mystery", which I've mentioned before, but it's got ten more years of perspective, it covers FTP, and it goes into more detail about the technical differences between HTTP and Gopher.

I cut the chapter because it's only about 7 pages long, and being historical in nature (and dealing with protocols most programmers haven't used in years or even heard of) it wasn't necessary. I've always thought it was interesting, though, and I turned it into a standalone essay. I tried for a while to get some money for it by publishing it on one of the O'Reilly sites, but that never went anywhere. So this morning I say "screw it" and give you the link.

It's called "The System of the World Wide Web", I guess because I thought a nerdy joke in the title would sell it; I think used to be called "How the Web Won". It's free for you to enjoy.

Since I wrote that essay I met Rohit and we became friends. (Also, that weblog entry is serious foreshadowing for this one.) He also read the essay and said "Come on!", G.O.B.-style, about a part where I implied he didn't appreciate why Gopher selectors were technically inferior to URIs, so I made a small update. Riveting stuff--did you know that I also took frozen food off his hands when he moved back to California?

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