Pingback may one-up TrackBack
I've got some further thoughts on Pingback, provided that my server humors me.
David Watson says, "uh, no," citing a horrible experience in actually trying to see the spec in the first place, and a lack of working code. Not to mention that my site was having a seizure last night - not good things to recommend that one check out a new technology.
Well, I did manage to see the spec, but haven't tried implementing it yet. (Though it shouldn't be too hard, given a few round tuits.) A few things, in particular that I like about Pingback:
- URIs are used to specify the source and target of the ping, no other information is involved in setting up the relation (ie. arbitrary IDs, etc). This makes site-wide integration of Pingback drop-dead simple - everything's already identifiable via URI.
- If one implements Pingback HTTP headers, one can allow non-HTML resources to be pinged. (ie. Ping my FOAF file when you add me to yours, and I might add you to mine. That might be pushing the spec a bit, though.)
- The XML-RPC server is not tied to any sites it may serve. I could offer one here, and you could point to it from your site, and if I allowed it I could record pings for you as a service.
All-in-all, Pingback just seems like a more direct, intentional form of referrer log.
One thing I don't like about Pingback, though (and the same for referrer logs): It's just about URIs and links between them. It says nothing much about titles or excerpts or comment bodies. The spec suggests that a Pingback server might retrieve "other data required from the content of Alice's new post," but makes no statement on how this is to happen. I like that TrackBack sets down how to provide a bit more information.
I've got a vague idea in my little head, and I think it's something Sam Ruby touched on: ShowReferers, form-submitted comments, TrackBack, and Pingback are all just different on-ramps to inviting open participation in discussion on one's blog. I want to take a shot at implementing Pingback very soon - but I might also try taking a shot at implementing a unified comment system that accepts comments for any URI from any of the aforementioned sources. I'd also like something that scans a blog entry I post for links, then investigate those links for Pingback/TrackBack availability - all to make the system even more automatic. I doubt that it would be very difficult, though I am notoriously naive. On the other hand, I've been on a run of making hard things simple lately. :)
But I sense my round tuits slipping away - back to work!