March 21, 2003
After noticing that both David and Doc were having trouble understanding TrackBack, I tried to write up a brief explanation, as I understand it, of how the protocol works. Since it was of use to them, I thought I'd repost it for any others who remain confused.
Hopefully I got it right, or else I expect Mena will come over here and correct me in the comments.
Just noticed you said you were still a bit in the dark about TrackBack. If that's still the case, I think I can explain it to you simply. TrackBack's just a protocol for one web server to talk to another. The problem is, people have confused the protocol for one of its implementations.
Right now, the main use of the protocol is to have someone else's web server tell yours about a message that's been posted. My server says, "Anil wrote about your post on Thursday." That works basically like remote comments, and maybe even ought to be displayed the same way that comments are, only linked to the remote site instead of displayed inline.
Another use of TrackBack, which is just starting to catch on, is for everyone writing about a topic to ping a central place with their comments. These category-based or aggregating TrackBacks are great. Imagine a TrackBack-enabled centralized category system, where any post that people on the system make to their "music" category gets pinged to a central music category page. You'd have all the blog entries of all those people, all in one place, by topic. Maybe you could filter it using OPML and FOAF to just those people who are 2 degrees away from your blogroll. Cool stuff.
Examples of category-based TrackBack aggregation pages:
anildash: "Imagine a TrackBack-enabled centralized category system, where any post that people on the system make to their "music" category gets pinged to a central music category page." Read More
By popular demand, we wrote up A Beginner's Guide to TrackBack. Note that if you are using TrackBack in a... Read More
Ben and Mena have written a really great manual on Trackback. I've given it a bit of a read, and... Read More
Ben and Mena have written a really great manual on Trackback. I've given it a bit of a read, and I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the system. Appearently, the manual was written... Read More
Doc, a guy has forgotten more about this medium than I'll ever know, started it by mentioning that Trackback confused Read More
In response to the recent discussion over what TrackBack is, Six Apart has provided "A Beginner's Guide to TrackBack." It does a pretty good job of explaining TrackBacks in a general sense, but it doesn't completely cover the reasoning of why it should... Read More
I finally sussed the functions in PHP that build a tree from a database and lays it out correctly, given only the parent of each record. That was a big fairy tale which is now over. Now I can concentrate... Read More
A Beginner's Guide to TrackBack Six Log: "By popular demand , we wrote up A Beginner's Guide to TrackBack .... Read More
Last week, I posted a link on MetaFilter which pointed to the "poetry" of Donald Rumsfeld. I rarely post anything to MeFi since I often come across the good links and stories after they've already shown up everywhere else. Anyway, I had this great link... Read More