[blogite] Pingback misc

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From: Jim Dabell (jim-blogite@jimdabell.com)
Date: Fri Sep 06 2002 - 18:48:17 BST

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Hi, hope this is a public mailing list, and it's okay to post and not just
lurk - I came across this list by accident, so I'm not sure :)

I'm currently writing my own blog engine (to grok it all, not for any
particular need) and am looking for ideas for features etc.

Going back to a comment on Simon's blog, I think that it would be a good
idea to move the pingback pointer to http headers rather than in a link
element - it's got a few advantages:

- - less parsing

It's overkill to parse a html document just to get a particular location for
a web service, especially when you have to think about all of the screwed
up html out there.

- - less overhead

http head has far less overhead than a get, unless you want to fool about
with partial retrieval of objects.

- - makes more sense

After all, it's meta information, you shouldn't have to actually retrieve
the document to find out about it. It makes more sense from a stats
perspective as well.

- - offers a fallback

There is no reason to not support both - if you can't implement the http
header method for some reason, you can include it in a <link> element - if
a pingback implementation doesn't find the http header, it can always try
the other method.

There are a couple of negatives, of course, that have been brought up:

- - need control over http headers

This will only affect static blogs, surely? I just checked in php, and that
can certainly affect headers via a http head, and I'd imagine everything
else can as well.

- - head is not well supported

This is the first I've heard about this. What servers don't support head?

- - pingback checks to make sure the permalink url is actually in the page

It seems to me that this should be an optional part of the spec anyway -
some implementations won't want the overhead.

Which (in a roundabout way) leads me to my next question:

What are the semantics for changing pages? Suppose you get a pingback, and
the referring page deletes the reference to you? Or the site goes offline,
never to come back?

PS: I think it would be a good idea to put a boilerplate notice on the
bottom of list mail that includes a link to the archives/unsubscribe
instructions etc.

- --
Jim Dabell

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