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Mailbag: Trackbacks

Unless you are a blogger or curious about how trackbacks work, this mailbag item will be of little interest.

The Commissar sends the following question:

I am confused about which URL to use for trackbacks. For the most part, I use the URL of the post itself. This works about half the time. For other blogs I have to use a Trackback URL. I put them in the URL's to ping box. This URL, labeled Permalink is what I normally would use: (http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/005167.html), but it didn't work for OTB.

Next I tried the link labelled Trackbacks:
(http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi?__mode=view&entry_id=5167), but that one did not work either. But when I clicked open THAT URL, I found this one hiding inside: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/5167. And that one worked. For several other blogs, that same format xxxx/mt/mt-tb.cgi/NNNN seemed to work.

How do I tell, in advance, whether the post's basic URL or the xxxx/mt/mt-tb.cgi/NNNN URL will work?

Answer

The URL that actually receives a trackback is the <$MTCGIPath$>/mt-tb.cgi/<$MTEntryID$> (Trackback URL). Since it's sort of a pain to remember to use the trackback link, most blogging software has an autodiscover setting. In Movable Type (or TypePad) use your Weblog Config screen and make sure the Enable Trackback Autodiscovery box is checked. If that box is checked when you author a post MT will try to extract the Trackback URL's for all the links in your post.

How does it do that? Look at the source code to one of my individual archive pages. In the rdf section the trackback:ping= line tells other programs where the corresponding Trackback URL is. For example:

%lt;rdf:Description
rdf:about="http://wizbangblog.com/archives/001721.php"
trackback:ping="http://wizbangblog.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1723"
dc:title="Lewinsky Weighs In"
dc:identifier="http://wizbangblog.com/archives/001721.php"

So the short answer is that if you have Trackback Autodiscovery enabled all you should need to do is have your link to other bloggers post in the body of your entry. With Trackback Autodiscovery enabled there is no need to put anything in the URL's to ping box, Movable Type (and TypePad) handle the discovery for you. If for some reason the autodiscovery doesn't work you have to put the Trackback URL (MTCGIPath/mt-tb.cgi/NNNN) in the URL's to ping box manually.

Tip: Use the Preview button on a post, then go back to the edit screen and you should see the URL's to ping box filled.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Mailbag: Trackbacks:

» Backcountry Conservative linked with Trackbacks Explained

» DramaQueen linked with ping pong for all!

» free craps linked with free craps

Comments (6)

Related question: Sometime... (Below threshold)

Related question: Sometimes, URLs get pinged for TrackBack but the auto-discovery system doesn't recognize that fact. Which means multiple TrackBacks get sent when the post is edited. It seems to happen randomly but frequently.

Wassup wit dat?

It's a two way conversation... (Below threshold)

It's a two way conversation. When you send a ping the remote site is supposed to acknowledge receipt and return a success code. There is a setting in the MT.CFG file (PingTimeout) that by default is 15 seconds. If the reply is not received within the period specified in your MT.CFG then MT assumes it wasn't successful and tries again the next time you save the post.

Increasing your PingTimeout to 30 (second) seems to substantially reduce this error.

I notice this with mu.nu bl... (Below threshold)

I notice this with mu.nu blogs. It's gotten so that I try to avoid editing any post that TB's to a mu.nu blog.

I'll increase the time instead.

Still working on this. In o... (Below threshold)

Still working on this. In one post, I just sent 4 TB's to a few bloggers, and 8 to James.
Grrrr!

Comrade Commissar, I am pro... (Below threshold)

Comrade Commissar, I am proud to report tha MuNu has moved from its former weakling bourgois Celeron server to the raw power of an AMD Athlon XP 2500+

So you can ping us again.

30+ MT blogs on a Celeron was a bit much at times.

I'm working (slowly) on my ... (Below threshold)

I'm working (slowly) on my own blogging system, so I did a bit of reading on how trackback autodiscovery worked.

My response was, basically, bleeurgh.

Though I'm not sure that there is a better way to do it.




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