Saturday 04 January 2003

So far, so good

Happily, the move seems to have worked. I was able to see the new server less than 24 hours after changing the DNS.

It’s such a relief to be on a Linux server instead of IIS—the support people at my previous host were excellent but I love being able to make changes myself instead of having to log a job and wait.

At last I get to play with all the cool Movable Type stuff I’ve been missing such as plugins and TrackBack. I’m already using Kevin Shay’s FilterCategories plugin and I’ve downloaded and installed Brad Choate’s MTSQL and Sanitize plugins (the latter—modified with Phil Ringnalda’s hack—will allow me to safely enable HTML in comments). I’ve enabled TrackBack but, no matter how many times I read the documentation, I can’t get my head wrapped around how it actually works. I don’t much care for Dummies books but, if there was a TrackBack for Dummies, I’d probably buy it. I’d be grateful if anyone could point me to a succinct explanation of TrackBack (and Pingback, and their relative merits, while you’re at it).

In the meantime, a number of people have commented that the font is a little small on the Macintosh so I’ll need to take a look at that. But now I think I might go for a walk.

Hmm. I just checked Phil Ringnalda’s Sanitize post and my TrackBack ping has registered. But not (so far) at Brad Choate’s site. Does the LazyWeb concept extend to explaining abstruse technical concepts?

Permalink | TrackBack (0)


I like the new look, Jonathon. The type is a leetle bit small for my aging eyes, but it’s very far from problematic. I’ll turn to you for guidance when I change servers away from the blasted Seabury server that won’t let me post (miscellaneous muttered curses). . . .

Posted by: AKMA on 4 January 2003 at 10:55 PM

This tutorial at on how to implement trackback is pretty good, and in explaining how to create your own client it gives a reasonably good technical definition of how it works.

For all intents and purposes, trackback is a Remote Procedure Call (though it's stripped down and only does one thing). Basically, the script opens up an HTTP connection to a CGI script that is running on your machine, telling it which entry the trackback is for and what URL is pinging it. That data is then just stored in the database, like it were submitted by a form or something of the like.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: John on 4 January 2003 at 11:20 PM

Yay! Joe Clark's latest arrived in the mailbox today. (344K)
Oh, and the stuff in the bottom right corner, I suppose that is part of my dock that got in the way while snapshooting.

Posted by: Kris on 5 January 2003 at 02:55 AM

On another note; is it me or is the hover state of links in the comments section different from that of the links on the main page? (or, why don't the links in the comment section have any hover state?)

Posted by: Kris on 5 January 2003 at 02:57 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Regarding the font size on the Macintosh, the screenshot that Kris posted looks pretty good to me but since the consensus is that the font could be slightly larger, I'm thinking about how to do that.

AKMA, just holler when you escape the dreaded Seabury server.

John, thanks for the pointer to the TrackBack tutorial -- it looks exactly what I was after. I haven't enabled HTML in comments yet so I edited your post to make the hyperlink appear.

Kris, thanks for pointing out the missing hover states. They're working now. (I located the problem somewhere between my chair and my keyboard.)

Posted by: Jonathon on 5 January 2003 at 12:03 PM

This may or may not be any real help, as the tutorial has already been posted, but I made a (probably somewhat clumsy) attempt to explain TrackBack to my somewhat tech-illterate father here on my weblog ( ).

And for what it's worth, at least right now, the font size under Chimera on Mac OS X looks fine to my eyes. But then, I've been accused of writing microscopically, so I may just be used to tiny text. ;)

Posted by: Michael on 5 January 2003 at 08:56 PM

Erk — now that I've read the post a bit closer, it does look like you were looking more for a technical explanation of the implementation rather than a "what is it?". I'm guessing you've probably been seeing these things long enough to understand the user end of TrackBack.

Teach me to comment at three in the morning! I'll just be off to bed now…

Posted by: Michael on 5 January 2003 at 09:01 PM

Actually, Michael, your explanation was exactly where I needed to start. I thought I needed a technical explanation but what I needed was a succinct task-oriented explanation, which you provide. Thanks!

Posted by: Jonathon on 6 January 2003 at 12:37 PM

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

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