Better tools

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:32 am

A new version of Movable Type, the system I use to maintain this weblog and many other portions of my web space, was released over the weekend. Among the steps forward are support for MySQL (an open-source database that has become a standard for web applications) and something entirely new called TrackBack.

It’s hard to describe what this actually is, but it may revolutionize the weblog format. It allows a threaded discussion between sites, so that (for example) a weblog author using MovableType could post an entry mentioning my blackberry story. That entry written by someone I may not even know could then be inserted into my own commenting system. Or, if I were to add a category structure to my farm’s site like, say, recipes, I could allow other weblog authors to post to both their site and mine at the same time. There’s other uses for multi-site threaded discussion that will sort themselves out over time. Could be really neat, it could never get used. We’ll see.


  1. So are you going to use TrackBack here on your own weblog?

    Comment by Jason — 7/1/2002 @ 5:22 am

  2. I’ve got it up and running. Now I just have to figure out how to most effectively use it.

    Comment by eric — 7/1/2002 @ 5:32 am

  3. Yeah…I guess I don’t understand how it works or what it even really is…does it only work between your site and other Moveable Type sites or can it work with any other website?

    Comment by M — 7/2/2002 @ 8:23 am

  4. It can work with most any other website, but currently it’s only easy with MovableType users.

    Essentially, if a website wants to refer back to this one, they encode a “ping” into their entry that sends a message to this website alerting it to the reference. My website then captures the URL and a text excerpt and automatically includes it here.

    Right now we dort of do the same thing by hand. In one of your entries, you may include a link back to a specific entry here, like Day Zero. Then, if I read your site, I’ll notice the link, or maybe I’ll see in my referrer logs that people have gone from your site to mine using the link. Then I might add another entry that ties in to yours, and so forth.

    This TrackBack system automates that, and should allow for a tighter integration of multiple sites participating in the same conversation.

    If it catches on among MovableType users, then the other weblogging systems should pick it up, and then it’ll turn into a plug-in that other sites like your could use. Maybe.

    Comment by eric — 7/2/2002 @ 9:29 am

  5. TrackBack
    Learn more about TrackBack Development. It’s a new system for MoveableType blogs, but it’s not just limited to this blogging

    Trackback by The Trommetter Times — 7/3/2002 @ 3:18 am

  6. Really interesting, I’m still trying to fully wrap my head around it as well, but it sounds sort of like instant content syndication ++. What’s so cool about it is the ability to track comments across multiple blogs so that you can have one huge meta blog around a specific post.

    At least that’s my understanding of it so far.

    Comment by ek — 7/4/2002 @ 2:35 am

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