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The immediate human readability stands in contrast to binary protocols which have inherent benefits for use in a computer environment (such as ease of mechanical parsing and improved bandwidth utilization).
Different network applications have different methods of encapsulating data. One method very common with Internet protocols is a text oriented representation that transmits requests and responses as lines of ASCII text, terminated by a newline character (and usually a carriage return character). Typical examples are FTP (File Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), or the finger protocol.
Text-based protocols are typically optimized for human parsing and interpretation, and are therefore suitable whenever human inspection of protocol contents is required, such as during debugging and during early protocol development design phases.