Every networked program must agree on how to send data across the network and on what meaning to attach to that data. Therefore, the application itself has a protocol. This is the application layer of the ISO reference model and TCP/IP protocol stack. The application-specific protocol can include such things as what transport protocol will be used, what initialization takes place, how any security is implemented, what format data will be in, etc. For standard Internet applications (ftp for example), the application protocols are specified in detail in one or more reference documents called Requests for Comments, or RFCs. RFCs are the specifications for Internet protocols and standard applications. Even if you aren't implementing a standard Internet application, the RFCs offer insight into the complexities of application protocols and how they should be specified. See the "References" section of this article for more information on RFCs and standard Internet applications. Normally application protocols are general enough that network applications can be ported to any machine which supports the network protocol. Neither the client nor the server knows (or cares) what type of machine is at the other end. Sometimes only one half of the application (client or server) is available for a given machine. For example, the currently released version of AS225 includes an NFS (Network File System) client program, but no NFS server program. To use NFS with AS225 requires access to any machine with an NFS server--it does not require any particular type of machine.
[Back to Amiga Developer Docs]