Do you read on a phone, tablet, or some other heathen device which can't properly display text wrapped at 80 columns like God intended? Please visit gopher://zaibatsu.circumlunar. on your device and tell me the *widest* number of columns which renders neatly for you.

@solderpunk These results are in DiggieDog on a Moto G 5S. I'd guess for my old Moto G 1, take off 10 in either dimension.

Landscape: 70 (80 would probably also work)
Portrait: 50

That said, I normally read gopher on my phone (portrait mode) through Soweli Lukin, which is very smart about wrapping text that looks like it is wrappable, and not wrapping text that looks like it might be code or ASCII art.

@solderpunk my phone (a 1st Gen Pixel) does 50 columns in portrait mode if I use DiggieDog.

Pocket Gopher actually has to jump down to 40... I think it can handle 46col max. Not a good number.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got my pixel recently, because it had a newer OS than my old phone and when I rotate the phone, an inconspicuous button appears in the bottom button bar for rotating, *without* having to put auto-rotate on.

So the issue's a lot less frustrating to me now.


fwiw I know that a lot of people prefer Pocket Gopher since it's FOSS. I have actually never seen anyone talk about DiggieDog even though it's the only #gopher client in the google play store.

I find myself using both regularly. Pocket Gopher has a stronger interpreter so out-of-spec pages render better.

But navigation is a lot better in DiggieDog. And, I prefer DiggieDog's smaller font so that I can read more per screen

@solderpunk I've been formatting mine at 38 columns, because that looks nice in pocket gopher on my device. I've noticed a few other people have started to do it too.

Your method of determining a reasonable width seems more scientific!

I still don't understand why the phone clients can't be programmed to 'smart-wrap' the text.

@visiblink It *sounds* like a very simple thing to reflow the text to whatever width fits the device best, until you actually try it! It works fine on "just text", but if people e.g. nicely lay out itemised lists, using * as a bullet points, with careful indenting, naive reflowing absolutely destroys it. The only solution is for the client to recognise lists, tables, etc, which requires specifying a precise markup syntax. We are struggling with exactly this in Gemini now.

@solderpunk That makes sense! I wonder if the reflow methods used by Calibre might be of use?

@solderpunk @visiblink Soweli Lukin does quite a reasonable job of it in most cases, but it is a mess of heuristics and edge cases.

@gcupc @visiblink That doesn't surprise me! There is irreducible complexity here. Either we build that complexity into the format with a precisely specced markup, or we leave the format loosey goosey and are forced to write complex clients which can read minds. Both options are unpleasant, but the only alternative I can see is to discourage wrapping/reflowing entirely. That's only viable if there exists a column count which looks acceptable on every device.

@solderpunk @gcupc in portrait mode 50 is comfortable 60 is okay on iOS using the only Gopher native client available.

@solderpunk 50 columns looks good for me on DiggieDog on a OnePlus 6T

@solderpunk reading it in lynx running in termux, I'm able to pinch zoom. I can then read comfortably at 50-60 characters. But that probably doesn't help you much for formatting for the more popular clients.

@solderpunk on my test devices I can read the 80 columns without problem in horizontal and about 50 in vertical. (I can fit the 80 columns in portrait, but the font sizing is too small to read comfortably).

For text documents, my client has an option reflow mode which can be useful. (It tries to detect ASCII art and bulleted lists, among other things, to varying degrees of success.)

@crc Thanks for the data! Where I can learn more about your client?

@solderpunk It's (as far as I'm aware) the only gopher client available on the iOS app store: and some (brief) documentation at the starting point gopher://

@solderpunk not currently, but I am planning to release the source when the next release is done (should be within the next month).

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