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Monday, 27 January 2003

On TrackBack

An (edited) IM conversation today:

Alice has written an article, Foo, and Foo links to Bob's article, Bar.

It would be really cool if Bob knew that Alice (specifically, the article Foo) was linking to Bob (specifically, the article Bar).

To do this, Alice's article, Foo, has to tell Bob's article, Bar, that Foo is linking to it.

The way I understand it, TrackBack does it like this

Alice and Bob have Linky Things. When Alice publishes Foo, her Linky Thing reads through all of Foo and looks for all the links in it. One of these links is a link to Bar. Alice's Linky Thing goes and downloads the thing at the end of the link to Bar (the Bar article). Alice's Linky Thing thinks for a moment, and reads the entirety of the Bar article, looking for a Magic Code. This Magic Code is a snippet of commented out RDF encoded in XML. This Magic Code will tell Alice's Linky thing that it has to go and talk to Bob's Linky Thing, and that Alice's Linky Thing can reach Bob's Linky Thing at this nice supplied address: Bar's Secret Magic Code Address.

Alice's Linky Thing, by now utterly tired out, goes to Bar's Secret Magic Code Address and says "Oi! I'm linking to you! Or, specifically, Alice's article about Foo is!"

The end.

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