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File and Message Transfer Overview and Application Categories
(Page 2 of 2)
Other TCP/IP applications work with
particular types of files, processing and interpreting them in various
ways. These files are usually designed for the specific purpose of communication,
and are thus called messages; these applications allow users
to construct, send and receive messages that fit a particular message
format. There are several prominent TCP/IP messaging applications we'll
examine in this Guide:
- Electronic Mail (E-Mail): A
system that allows users to exchange letters
(in fact any type of document) in a manner equivalent to the conventional
postal system, but with the advantages of great speed and simplicity.
Electronic mail has not replaced regular mail entirely, but many people
now use it for the vast majority of their correspondence.
- Network News (Usenet): An application
that is like electronic mail in that it allows users to send messages.
However, while e-mail is normally used to allow a message to be sent
to one user or a small number of recipients, network
news is a way for thousands of users to share messages
on various topics. Any user can contribute a message that can be seen
by others, any of whom can respond. Unlike the case with e-mail, recipients
do not need to be explicitly identified, which makes network news far
more suitable to communication amongst large groups of people who may
not even know each other. This was one of the first TCP/IP applications
to create something like an electronic bulletin board: an
- Hypertext (World Wide Web): You probably
don't even need me to explain what the World
Wide Web is, such is its great significance
in modern internetworking. Hypertext moves the idea of messaging beyond
the simple exchange of text messages or plain files, to the notion of
rich messages that can contain a variety of types of information.
This includes text, graphics, multimedia and embedded files. Most importantly,
hypertext allows one document to be linked to another, forming the web
of related documents that led to the name World Wide Web.
The Web is almost certainly the single most important TCP/IP application,
used daily by millions of people.
Each of these applications was at
one point somewhat distinct, but in recent years a number of developments
have caused the lines between them to become greatly blurred. Electronic
mail is no longer limited to simple text messages; it can now be used
to carry general files by encoding them into text form using special
methods, and even to carry hypertext documents. World Wide Web clients
(browsers) continue to be enhanced to let them access other types of
servers and files, and can also be used for general file transfer. These
developments all mean even more functionality and flexibility for the
TCP/IP userand a bit more care required on the part of the TCP/IP
Key Concept: One of the most important groups of TCP/IP applications is the one that enables files to be moved between devices on an internetwork: file and message transfer applications. This group contains many of the common applications that TCP/IP users employ every day to communicate. It can be broken into two main categories: general file transfer applications that are used to move any type of file between devices, and message transfer applications, which allow different types of communication using special file types, such as electronic-mail messages or hypertext files.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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