Wednesday, November 02, 2005


As promised, I've started to look at TrackBack. I sent a TrackBack to Another Constable yesterday, and - to be honest - it didn't seem to be any improvement over leaving a comment and using my post's permalink as the home page reference. I can see however that if I had combined both of my first two posts of yesterday I could have used Trackback to link to Brian's Brief Encounters at the same time as Another Constable. It is scarcely mindblowing though.

It turns out that TrackBack was initially developed by Movable Type, the blogging software developers.
In a nutshell, TrackBack was designed to provide a method of notification between websites: it is a method of person A saying to person B, "This is something you may be interested in." To do that, person A sends a TrackBack ping to person B.

They also say ...

Although TrackBack's most prevalent use thus far has been as a form of remote commenting, a more exciting use has been emerging: using TrackBack to aggregate content into topic-based repositories. This was actually the original intended use of TrackBack--the remote commenting grew out of a special case of a topic-based repository, the "topic" being a single weblog post.

I can understand that in theory - one way links are a great shortcoming of the web - but it seems to me that - at least for the moment - apart from rare occasions, where one might need to notify many sites at once of a relevant post, the complexity of using trackback rather than a simple comment will render it a tool for a minority.

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