Weblog tracker weblogs.com is going to change.
October 3, 2001 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Weblog tracker weblogs.com is going to change. In the new version, weblogs have to send an XML-RPC or SOAP 1.1 message to weblogs.com to indicate an alteration.
posted by tsja (13 comments total)
Of course, that could become subject to abuse. Someone could simply run a demon hourly which sent such a message. The current scheme (polling) can't as easily be fooled.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:40 AM on October 3, 2001

The new scheme shouldn't be easily fooled either because after it receives the update message, via xmlrpc or soap, it goes and checks to see if the weblog has actually changed. All that's changing really is that weblogs.com aren't going to poll your site every hour but are going to wait for you to tell them it has changed before looking to see if it has.

If you ran that hourly daemon then the behaviour would be exactly as it is now. I hope weblogs.com would stop bothering to check your site so often if you sent them too many 'false alarms' though.

scripting.com is listing implementations of the new interface. i got this php one running in a couple of minutes with only one minor change to make it call the right hostname (rpc.weblogs.com rather than rpc.userland.com).
posted by kirsty at 4:34 AM on October 3, 2001

What he said.
posted by jjg at 8:07 AM on October 3, 2001

yup. dan says:

And I, as a visitor to Weblogs.com, am hearing one message, loud and clear: A complex Frontier app + lots of traffic = a slooooooow site.

and while i certainly like the service weblogs.com offers in providing me recently updated sites, i probably won't bother configuring anything so that my site gets indexed - it's just not worth the effort to me. oh well, so i'll probably stop visiting the userland empire with any frequency. why should this matter to dave? oh, right. my day job where i occasionally recommend content management systems. hrm.
posted by judith at 8:47 AM on October 3, 2001

i'll be honest -- i hardly ever use weblogs.com. i click on my bookmarks a couple of times in the day to see if they've updated (several times if i'm really bored at work), but otherwise, that's it.
posted by moz at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2001

Whatever they might say about providing a service so you know what's updated, blahblahblah, don't these sites just basically turn into popularity contests? I'm curious; never bothered to look at one in any depth.
Especially in this case. How many people are going to bother going through the setup, except for those who want to be seen?
posted by Su at 9:08 AM on October 3, 2001

As soon as he removes the old functionality, the value of weblogs.com will decrease, and the number of people using it will also drop off. Time for someone to create a new update notification service?
posted by timothompson at 9:19 AM on October 3, 2001

http://www.linkwatcher.com/ is a decent alternative.
posted by judith at 10:01 AM on October 3, 2001

The vast majority of weblogs out there won't be participating in this new way of doing things because the people running them don't (and shouldn't need to) have the expertise or the time to use XML-RPC. Pitas and BlogSpot bloggers don't even have access to such things. The weblogs.com listing will become primarily a list of tech-oriented weblogs and therefore useless to those who don't read tech-oriented weblogs (i.e. most weblog readers).

Also, unless a service is really important to people, it's going to be an uphill battle to get them to do anything about it. Page scraping is easy...nobody but the person running the page scraper has to do anything. Having everyone submit their page to (or ping) a central server presents just high enough of a barrier for many folks not to do it. That was one of the geniuses of Napster. You didn't have to upload your music anywhere...it was done for you automatically and everyone on the network benefited because of it.

(Of course, if something is automatically built into the various weblog CMSs (Blogger, Pitas, Manila, Greymatter, LiveJournal, etc.) to ping weblogs.com when the blog is updated, that would certainly work well.)
posted by jkottke at 10:34 AM on October 3, 2001

Dries Buytaert has an interesting idea about using distributed helper crawlers to help populate weblogs.com:

"...after giving it some thought I'd suggest to add support for distributed helper crawlers and to make the crawlers, not the weblogs itself, send XML-RPC messages to the root server (weblogs.com)."

This is a slight variation on Dan's thoughts (or vice versa)...both are advocating letting the main weblogs.com do just the display of the recently updating weblogs and let some other machine/system do the crawling. Hmmm....maybe this could work after all.
posted by jkottke at 10:40 AM on October 3, 2001

I use the Weblog Monitor fairly frequently, and have gotten several of my friends to sign up for it, just so I could have the convenience of seeing when they update. Maybe some of them use it too, I don't know. (I used to send out a fairly detailed step-by-step on how to join, and included my personal favorite list that they could cut and paste in if they wanted.)

If this goes through, NO ONE that I know will be tracked anymore, because none of us are techy enough to figure out how to send out a soap/xml/whatever message. Since it'll automatically track userland sites, I suspect it'll become a userland only thing. That's too bad, in my opinion.

One other thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet: the user interface of the Weblog Monitor is going away. The info will only be available via XML. Now, I'm not a big fan of the current interface: it's almost impossible to track down newly added blogs unless you notice them during the three hours after the WM says they've been updated. But jeez, not only do I have to figure out how to send out XROYGBIV, but now I've got to figure out how to read the dang results on my own as well?

It's not worth my time to figure all this stuff out.
posted by bjennings at 11:14 AM on October 3, 2001

I think the message sending *has* to be automatically done by your blogging tool/third party crawler/something else. One of the major reasons so many of us use tools like Blogger is because they reduce the complexity of updating websites. By myself, I'll never manage to remember to go and tell another site that I've updated mine.

This should be a developer tool and not an end user tool.
posted by kirsty at 12:10 PM on October 3, 2001

Um, I hate to oversimplify things, but Weblogs.com quite frankly sucks, and has for many a moon. It's horribly slow (if you can connect to it at all), has poor, unintuitive search capability and a huge chunk of the pages listed aren't even weblogs.

I'm sticking with Linkwatcher and Daypop. Hello simple clean usable interfaces!
posted by zeb vance at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2001

« Older Another Fake Hate Crime (via Romesko's Obscure...   |   There are rules for flying the flag. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments