There are now hundreds of different search engines and directories.
Names like Yahoo, Magellan, Alta Vista, Excite, Infoseek, The WWW
Worm, and of course, Lycos have become part of the Internet
vocabulary. But none of the now popular search engines was the
first. That honour went to Archie, an application created in 1990 by
Alan Emtage while he was a student at McGill University in Montreal.
|1234 The author originally wanted to
call the program "archives," but had to shorten it to comply with
the Unix world standard of assigning programs and files short,
cryptic names such as grep, cat, troff, sed, awk, perl, and so on.
Archie-that's archive without the "v"-stands for "Archie servers".
Archie servers are programs which maintain databases of Anonymous
FTP host directories. They are used to find specific file titles.
The files can be texts, images, software etc. Archie works by
regularly connecting to remote public hosts and automatically
downloading directory listings of public files. |
At the early date of 1990, there was no World Wide Web. Around this
time, Nonetheless, there was still an Internet, and many files were
scattered all over the vast network. The primary method of storing
and retrieving files was via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This
was (and still is) a system that specified a common way for
computers to exchange files over the Internet. It works like this:
Some administrator decides that he wants to make files available
from his computer. He sets up a program on his computer, called an
FTP server. When someone on the Internet wants to retrieve a file
from this computer, he or she connects to it via another program
called an FTP client. Any FTP client program can connect with any
FTP server program as long as the client and server programs both
fully follow the specifications set forth in the FTP protocol.
Initially, anyone who wanted to share a file had to set up an FTP
server in order to make the file available to others. Later,
"anonymous" FTP sites became repositories for files, allowing all
users to post and retrieve them.|
|zzz 4 Even with archive sites, many
important files were still scattered on small FTP servers.
Unfortunately, these files could be located only by the Internet
equivalent of word of mouth: Somebody would post an e-mail to a
message list or a discussion forum announcing the availability of a
|1234Archie changed all that. It
combined a script-based data gatherer, which fetched site listings
of anonymous FTP files, with a regular expression matcher for
retrieving file names matching a user query. In other words,
Archie's gatherer scoured FTP sites across the Internet and indexed
all of the files it found. Its regular expression matcher provided
users with access to its database|