BUSINESS

Blogs with TrackBack support

THIS WEEK NetSpeak examines the concept of `TrackBack' and introduces a blog hosting service that enables you to build blogs with TrackBack support for free.

Assume that you have stumbled on an interesting article posted on a site and you want to comment on it. If the site/blog provides a `comment' option, you can use it for planting your thoughts on the content. This is certainly a valuable feature as it provides a mechanism for the content provider to get some feedback on a specific thread posted on his site. But one limitation of this feature is that your comment is stored on the content creator's site where you have little control. You cannot add to or alter comments already posted on a site.

Now, if you have a blog you can post your comments on it instead of posting it on the article-source site. This not only brings the `comments' under your control but it will allow your readers also to know about the content you came across. While you make such comments, it would obviously be beneficial if your blog system provides some mechanism that enables you to tell the original provider that you have made a reference to one of its postings. Fortunately, most of the current blog systems let you do this through a feature called `TrackBack'.

TrackBack is a mechanism that allows a person posting a comment (about content available on a particular site) on his site, to apprise the original source site of this comment. To make a comment with TrackBack, you need the TrackBack URL, which can be read from the source site by accessing the `TrackBack' option available on it for the article concerned. Of course, to make a TrackBack comment, your blog system should also have the `TrackBack' feature.

Weblogs.us: A free blog hosting service

If you want to float a blog with TrackBack feature, visit the free weblog hosting service `weblogs.us' (https://weblogs.us/) that allows you to create `Movable Type' weblogs with a domain name of the form: https://netspeak.weblogs.us.

To get a blog hosted on this site, first access the signup form and provide the required details. Once the form is filled up properly, after a few hours — it took more than 24 hours for this author — you will get a set up confirmation mail from weblogs.us.

Now, login to the admin module (https://admin.weblogs.us/mt.cgi), where you will get a page that displays the weblogs hosted on your account with the necessary tools to add/edit/save/publish content. To populate the weblog with content, access it and click on the `New Entry' button. Now add the details of your entry, preview it to make sure that the content is displayed properly and click on the `Save' button. Make sure that `Publish' option is selected for the `Post Status' field so that the entry will appear on your blog home page. You may also enable the comment and ping (for TrackBack enabling the entry) options.

If you look at the `TrackBack' for this entry, you will find the TrackBack URL — created automatically by the blog system — that can be used by anyone visiting your blog for sending TrackBack messages. That is, if a person visiting your blog wants to make a comment about your entry in his/her blog with a TrackBack ping, he/she will use this TrackBack URL at the appropriate place — if their blog has the TrackBack ping facility. When they update their blog with this comment, your blog system will get the ping message automatically and add this information on to its TrackBack database.

At this point, if you examine your entry, you will find that TrackBack count has gone up by one. When you click on the TrackBack button, a Window with a list of links of weblogs that reference the entry — along with the TrackBack URL — will pop up. Thus, anyone reading this entry on your weblog can access the TrackBack details by pressing the `TrackBack' button and get to know who are all talking about the post.

Another notable feature of this blog system is that it allows you to set up a bookmarklet — using the option `Set Up Bookmarklets' — which allows you to post content without bringing up your blog's data entry interface. That is, you can post a comment about an article on to your blog, sitting on the site that hosts the article using this bookmarklet ; you just have to click on the bookmarklet icon `Post MTWeblog'.

Anyone with some exposure to the Net world knows that Linux is an operating system that is developed/maintained by hundreds of programmers spread across the Net. Though we enjoy the benefits of this free open-source OS, many of us are still ignorant of the collaborative development process that makes this wonderful project tick. Here is an interesting article (https://www. osdl.org/newsroom/press_ releases/2003/2003_11_26_ beaverton.html) which unravels the Linux development model. The article which explains how Linux is made describes the various subsystems that oversee the development of various modules of the Linux system. The most notable feature of this piece is the Graphic (https://www.osdl.org/newsroom/graphics/linux_dev_process_graphic.jpg) which neatly illustrates the `Linux Development Process'.

We are familiar with the Google news service (https://news.google.com/) that continuously aggregates news items automatically from around 4500 news sources and displays them on a web page. Now, Microsoft has started a similar service called MSN NewsBot. As per its site (https://uk.newsbot.msn.com/), the MSN NewsBot is an automatic news service that gathers news from over 4000 on-line sources. The news items with links to publishers' site are displayed under various categories that include Business, Technology, Sports and the like. As the news items are updated continuously you will always get fresh information.

J. Murali

Recommended for you