Remote Trackback Proof of Concept

Friday, April 30, 2004

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Well... it's been a productive day! There's only one issue from the last post that I haven't fixed yet, and that's the ability to change your email address in the system. For now this is a minor concern. Everything else has been taken care of. If you click the trackback link on this page, you'll see that custom styles are now available.

There are four different options for styles:
1. Keep the default. It's ugly.
2. You can specify background, text, link, and border colors -- it's easy but not very flexible.
3. Host your own CSS -- you provide the URL of a css file to use.
4. Raw CSS -- you put in the exact CSS code that gets inserted at the top of your page. This offers you maximum flexibility without the hassle of finding a place to stash your CSS file.

Outgoing pings now works as well, and you can delete pings -- so feel free to ping yourself to try it out.

Yes, it's still very, VERY ugly, but my priority has been functionality as opposed to style. If anyone out there wants to design it so it's not so insanely ugly, please shoot me an email.

As always, please send any questions or comments to
Trackback []

Hmmm... July 28th, 2002 to December 20th, 2003. That's a fair bit of a hiatus, isn't it? No worries. There's been a renewed interest in the remote trackback service, so I've picked up development of it again. There's still room for more testers who are actually going to use the service, so if you're interested just head on over to and sign up. Don't mind the design... that's last on the to-do list. I'd rather have functional than pretty at the beginning anyway.

Some things on the agenda for fixing/adding:

:: Email on new pings
:: Ability to change your email addy
:: Ping Management (Delete)
:: Outgoing Pings
:: Custom Style Sheets
:: ...?

If you have requests or suggestions, shoot me an email.
Trackback []

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Well, after a brief outage due to a server move, we're back up and running. We're still taking alpha testers, please go to and register. We're only taking the first 35 people, so sign up today!

Also keep in mind that if you sign up for alph testing, you'll be getting a very rough version of the service to start with, and I really expect you to put the code up as soon as you can. Having 35 alpha testers who aren't using the code is quite a waste, no? Once you get signed up send any and every suggestion you have... that's the only way it'll get better!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at:

Note: Shelagh has been gracious enough to donate the domain name to the cause.
Trackback []

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

The initial proof of concept went well. (even got a mention on the offical trackback blog.) I'm still tweaking the implementation, so things could break at times... however, the interface is almost stable enough to use elsewhere, and other help will be necessary... I'm just one guy, ya know. Here are some things that need to get done sooner or later... if any of them strike you, let me know.

1. Coding - You know... actually writing the application. PHP, Javascript, and MySQL are being used.

2. Design work - coming up with a name, logo, and site design. I'm not opposed to using "Remote Trackback" as a name. The design would have to be geared towards low bandwidth usage.

3. Research - I want to find out from some of the remote commenting folks where the bottlenecks are in their service. Most have stopped taking new users or are severely limiting their growth. Is this because of bandwidth? is it a matter of the code being to heavy on the processor? Disk space? All three? I'd like to know what the limiting factors are to growth ahead of time. If I can learn from them, awesome!

4. More Research - Also, I think I'm just going to buy a hosting plan for this beast... but I've gotta find a good, cheap, reliable host. My
host is good... but the service is a little sporadic... some of their machines run beautifully, some have regular downtime.

5. Alpha Testing - While the code is in the very earliest stages of development I want to have somewhere between 6 and 12 "Alpha Testers". The code is starting to stabilize to the point that I'd be willing to have it put on a site that I don't control. Probably within the next day or so I'll have it ready for the first group of users... it'll still look very bare bones, but the content will be there.

So there you have it. Again, interested parties should email me:
Trackback []

A few weeks ago Ben & Mena (over at released the newest version of their extremely popular blogging tool: Moveable Type. The newest version of MT had a cutting-edge feature called "Trackback" which allowed blogs to keep track of who was writing about them or about the things they wrote about. Almost like a reverse bibliography, in a sense. The only problem is that currently, implementations of Trackback outside of Moveable Type are scarce.

Because trackback is such a great feature, and I'd like to see everyone using it, I've decided to come up with a Remote Trackback system (much akin to the remote commenting systems that so many use today) so that the rest of us can participate in the fun! This blogger account on blogspot is going to be home of the proof of concept for that system. Stay tuned!
Trackback []