wordpress Archives | Benjamin Allison

making your gravatar work with pingbacks

The following post is only relevant for people using WordPress.

Ok. So, let’s say you read a blog post, and you want to comment on that post on your own blog. So, you write your post and include a link back to the original post. When you publish the post, WordPress sends what’s called a pingback to the other blog, letting it know that you linked to it. This pingback shows up in the comments section so readers reading that article can click on to yours and read your response.

Enter Gravatars. These are avatars that follow you whereever you go online so if you comment on a blog and enter your information, it will automatically retrieve your Gravatar (if the blog has the feature enabled). Beside every comment you leave, your own custom icon is displayed.

Well, I discovered that when a blog sends a pingback to another blog that has Gravatars enabled, a generic placeholder shows up. No good! When my blog sends a pingback, I want my Gravatar to show up, just as if I had left a comment.

Well, if you own a WordPress blog, there’s a very simple way to make sure that your Gravatar appears when your blog sends a pingback. To make YOUR Gravatar appear on the blog you’re pinging, you need to do the following: (more…)

why i’ve switched to wordpress

I started this blog in November of 2007 and decided to use Movable Type as my engine. It appeared to the geeky web designer in me. Over the past few months I’ve become unsatisfied with Movable Type. Every time I set up a blog for a friend or a client, I use WordPress because it’s very fast for me to setup and skin, and is easy for the client to use. When I decided to setup my own blog, I mistook this intuitive quality to also mean a lack of robustness.

I was wrong.

My reasoning was that since Movable Type is so complicated with so many layers and so much back-end (the Movable Type installation package is four times the size of WordPress’) it must be better and more highly configurable. My experience has been that the opposite is actually true!

Here are several advantages I found in WordPress that eventually made me switch:

  • WordPress’s templates are based on an easily manageable system of PHP includes — Movable Type is unbelievably cumbersome to customize
  • the layout of the Dashboard is far superior both in design and organization — site administration in Movable Type is cumbersome and bloated
  • WordPress does not have to republish the entire site after making a template change — Movable type does

Of course one of the biggest advantages of WordPress is the speed and ease of installation. It’s a brilliant platform and I’m glad to be on the WordPress train!

P.S. I should add that migration was extremely simple. The only snag I hit was making sure that all my old Movable Type links would point to the new WordPress pages. You have to keep Google happy and since I only have 30 posts at the time of this article, I just opted to do a manual htaccess redirect for each link.