[blogite] Pingback: Complexity vs Simplicity

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From: Simon Willison (simon@incutio.com)
Date: Sat Sep 07 2002 - 20:21:22 BST

Hi all,

After only a few days of discussion (and today has been pretty frenetic, my
apologies to anyone who's having trouble keeping up ;) ) we appear to have
hit that all-important question: How complex is too complex?

The current spec is beautifully simple - you point to an XML-RPC server
with a <link> tag and that's about it. Myself and Jim are interested in
taking this up a level: You point to an XML file which points to
(potentially) multiple ping "interfaces" of varying types. This has obvious
advantages, but also makes the overall system considerably more complicated.

Here's my "case for complexity".

I think everyone agrees that PingBack is a /very/ cool idea. Our current
system works fine, but inadvertantly limits PingBack to a relatively small
audience of people who have the technical ability to implement an XML-RPC
server/client (or install one that someone else has written). The
fundamental concept of PingBack (now that we are all settled on
auto-discovery) is that web pages contain information requesting anyone
linking to the page to inform the page owner. This is well handled by
XML-RPC, but XML-RPC is not the only (or even the most simple) way of
handling the transaction.

By expending the spec we can open the system up to a much larger audience,
and with something like PingBack the more people who have it the better (as
it means more successful pingbacks and more people pinging your blog).

Whatever we decide on eventually, I think it's important that we explore
any ideas or suggestions that we have now to their full extent. While
PingBack is still small we have the flexibility to take it in pretty much
any direction we want to, but once it starts to take off we will find it
much harder to implement any new ideas.


Simon Willison

Web Developer, www.incutio.com
Weblog: http://www.bath.ac.uk/~cs1spw/blog/
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