The roads I take...

KaiRo's weBlog

June 2024

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Popular tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, L10n, Status, Firefox

Used languages: English, German


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April 29th, 2007

The roads I take...

When I started this blog almost two months ago, I realized I need a good title for it, and decided to go with "The roads I take..." as a play on one of my favorite quotes.

I've been a fan of American Country Music for a long time now, as well as writing songs myself, so when I purchased the album "the hits" of Garth Brooks a few years ago, I was happy to read some comments of how he came to write or pick up those popular songs in the CD booklet. For example some of those "the idea came to me and the song was done in a few hours" stories feel pretty familiar to me and it's great to see that big hits of great stars come to be the same way as I've done some of my favorite songs.

And then, there was this comment on "We Shall Be Free", a song he co-wrote with Stephanie Davis:

"We Shall Be Free" is definitely and easily the most controversial song I ever have done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about "We Shall Be Free" is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.

And I felt I knew what he was talking about once again. Writing lyrics you clearly want to say something with, being proud of what it tells and what feelings the song transports to the listener as well as keeps alive in yourself. And, of course, that some thing you never thought of would happen.

Yes, it's true:
Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be.
Feels a bit like how I came to be a member of the Mozilla community. And this blog, after all, is about the roads I take...

By KaiRo, at 16:15 | Tags: blog, Country Music, history | no comments | TrackBack: 0

March 26th, 2007

Pingback and TrackBack: ease of implementation (or not)

Finally I managed to implement pingback in addition to TrackBack, and it was interesting to implement both, to compare them from a developer's perspective - as both are technologies that enable other blogs to link back blog entries that link them and this way create a permanent connection between two blogs.

One target of pingback is said to be that it should be "implementable with minimal effort", I also read in a few places that it should not attract spam as easily as TrackBack. The latter has been achieved quite nicely, as the pingback client needs to tell the server the source URL containing the original link as well as its target, and the server needs to verify this link to this target actually exists in the source. TrackBack on the other hand just sends the the URL to link back to and needs no verifications, so strictly according to the spec, a TrackBack server just links back to anything anyone else tells it to link. Of course, most TrackBack servers nowadays do verify that their blog is linked from the source - as does this blog here, like I pointed out in a recent post here.
The ease of implementation was not such a clear win for pingback though in my case. Where it clearly wins over TrackBack is "autodiscovery" (automatically discovering link targets in a blog entry that are able to link back via one of those technologies): While TrackBack uses a rather complicated to detect RDF snippet that needs to be placed in the entry, pingback uses a very easy to read HTTP header (and an also easy to detect HTML <link> tag as a fallback) to detect if some page is pingback-enabled. Telling the other blog that it should link, i.e. actually "pinging" it, is quite simple on the TrackBack side though: do a simple HTTP POST with urlencoded data, get very simple XML as a reply that tells if it was successful or not, and that's it. Pingback on the other hand achieves that part via an XML-RPC call. This might be easy to implement if you have an XML-RPC server running on your site already, but if you don't, it requires you to send a rather deeply structured XML document in a POST request as a client, and as a server, to retrieve the data from that doc (I needed to spend some time to even find out how to get this body of the incoming request in PHP) and send an even more complicated XML reply. So the implementation of the actual ping is (without having working XML-RPC support in place already) much harder for pingback than for TrackBack. I guess there's rarely a technology that has only good sides to it...

BTW, I know that there's some XML-RPC support bundled with PHP (via XMLRPC-EPI), but as there's no good documentation of it anywhere (one case where the else good PHP manual really sucks), I even felt safer to manually deal with that form of communication.

That said, I got both technologies to hopefully work now on this blogging system, including autodiscovery for both of them (if both are supported, pingback is preferred), and I hope users of CBSM and our community system will like them. :)

By KaiRo, at 01:29 | Tags: blog, CBSM | no comments | TrackBack: 2

March 19th, 2007

when spam is welcome (for a very short time)

I had an interesting experience this weekend: I actually was - to a certain part - happy about spam! How so?
Well, actually that was TrackBack spam on this blog - getting some of that proved that my support for TrackBack actually works (and probably that even bots can find my blog through Planet Mozilla).
Of course, anger about that spam wasn't far away - "Such a short time this is up and running and now the first spam arrives :( " - but I could stand it, given that I now know that apparently TrackBack is usable.

And, yes, I already implemented some simple spam prevention, the system now checks if the remote page contains one of the hostnames related to the blog. Checking for an actual link would probably be better, but for now, this should help to prevent most spam here (I hope).
And no, I don't need further spammers attacking this blog - one test cycle was enough :)

By KaiRo, at 17:01 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

March 9th, 2007

feeds available for this blog

OK, after some more work, this blog is available through RSS and Atom feeds (Firefox and IE7 users should see the feed icon popping up, SeaMonkey users with the link toolbar enabled should see them listed there under "More > Other Versions" (from the blog overview page).

Once I have the tagging system in place, there will be filtered feeds available that list only certain tags and/or languages. For now, the feeds just list the articles the blog overview page carries - the RSS feed has subjects and links, the atom feed includes the full articles as well.

I probably should try to get the blog syndicated on some planet sites now :)

By KaiRo, at 02:13 | Tags: blog, CBSM | 1 comment | TrackBack: 0

March 7th, 2007

track this blog

Now, this blog should even support TrackBack correctly, so you should be able to send trackback pings to this blog, and I should be able to correctly ping your blogs if they support this technique.
I will also implement Pingback as a next step, but for now, TrackBack at least is available :)

By KaiRo, at 03:23 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

March 3rd, 2007

...and one step further...

Hmm, bugs are common in software development, of course. Now comments should really work, after fixing a few glitches. And then, trackback RDF is injected into pages so that hopefully autodiscovery of other blogs can find the relevant data and send trackback pings. That is, if the code I wrote for accepting trackback pings actually works correctly. Gotta try that on my test machine with two blogs in this system once I also can send those pings. Good thing I can do autodiscovery and similar stuff through the background task system.

By KaiRo, at 22:54 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

now let's see who reads that...

The system has grown one step further and allows comments now, reusing the same code I have for other boards and guestbooks.
I just hope someone will actually post comments to those entries... Actually, I'm not even sure anyone is reading this. But I guess I'll see over time if people are reading this blog or not.
Of course, people might probably like to hear about other stuff than this blogging system, perhaps SeaMonkey? Yes, some entries about will follow. And also some entries about Karaoke, Austrian politics or other topics, in both German and English. But probably only once this system starts working well enough.
Or do readers want to know more about some specific topic I actually can write about?

By KaiRo, at 01:49 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

March 2nd, 2007

The Beauty of Invisibility

Some of the most awesome programming work is usually done without being visible to the end user - I feel reminded of that after a few hours of further hacking on this blogging system. Beautified permalinks are actually created right now, and they even work, they're just not linked. And then the system is creating board threads that serve as a base for future board comments - of course, those aren't publicly shown yet...
One of the first things I created was some part of trackback support that is not shown anywhere yet (also no auto-discovery support yet). But I should also care to implement pingback, which is probably a nicer format - how come that Hixie is doing such a lot of cool stuff?

Anyways, I should probably get personally invisible on the internet, er, well, no chance actually, better just offline for a few hours to get some sleep...

By KaiRo, at 03:14 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

March 1st, 2007

Starting into the blogosphere

I always told myself that blogs are nothing I want to waste my time on. You know, you spend minutes writing this, which could be used for more important stuff - and nobody wants to read that stuff anyways...

Well, here I am, writing a first blog entry. One can change his mind some time, right? OK, if really nobody is reading what I'm writing, I'll eventually stop it again. Makes no sense to write stuff that is not read by anyone after all. But we'll see how it turns out.

Oh, and you might tell me that this blogging system I'm using really sucks. Sure it does. It's a new system I'm developing, and it's not nearly finished yet. No, I'm programming it myself not because it's fun to duplicate what's out there - but I'd like to have blogs that are integrated with my community system, and so I got to integrate one.
Until now, I barely can create a new blog and post simple entries. No comments, no trackback, no categories/tags, no feed, no nice-looking permalinks yet, this is upcoming in the next few weeks. Just depends on how much time I have to work on all that.

The first step is done, I'm slowly entering the blogosphere. Let's see if the heat shield holds up ;-)

By KaiRo, at 20:36 | Tags: blog | no comments | TrackBack: 0

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