Implementing TrackBack

After the panel Tuesday I commented to Mena that TrackBack is still sort of Movable Type-only and maybe needs simplifying if it is to gain acceptance in other tools. Turns out I was wrong, in part. TrackBack is a pretty good specification. As far as how pinging works, it’s about simple as it could be.

I started implementing TrackBacks for my blog tonight. I’m using Radio Userland, which has it’s own centralized comment system that I don’t use. For a couple of reasons I prefer the idea of TrackBack. It adds a little bit of accountability (you need your own weblog), and also allows the poster more control over his or her own comments.

However, not everyone knows how to issue TrackBack pings, which is really the part about the system that needs some usability help. So I also want to eventually add support for detecting in-bound links using referrers, which would be gathered into the same database and co-exist alongside TrackBacks. All the coding will be in PHP, included as necessary from the static HTML files that Radio generates.

Another one of my goals is to have simple TrackBack Ping URLs. My first idea here was to use the permalink itself, but right now I think I’ll use a variation like /trackback/2003/03/15. When I have it working, I’ll add the URL below each post.

Matt Haughey is also doing interesting things with TrackBack: “So Winamp is now sending trackbacks to my blog, and every time a new song comes on, a new ping goes out, and my site changes.”

Earlier this year Timothy Appnel suggested changes for the next generation to TrackBack.

Manton Reece @manton