A "comments elsewhere" feature for blogs

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Philipp Lenssen

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Jul 4, 2007, 10:51:40 AM7/4/07
to Google AJAX API
[trying again, Google Groups sent an error last time]

The feed API is neat. Here's a use-case (possibly old?) that might
inspire some of you. At Google Blogoscoped, you will now see a list of
people who discuss the post elsewhere:
http://blogoscoped.com/forum/101414.html#id101428

It works like this:
- the top comments were made in the blog comments thread, on the blog
itself
- the comments at the end, above the submit box, are polled from
backlinks elsewhere using the Google AJAX feed API which accesses the
Atom feed output of a Google Blog Search using the "link" operator for
that post.
- there's some filtering so that not all backlinks are displayed, for
instance, I noticed that a backlinking post which uses the exact same
title as the origin post, is often automated and just a full quote
- there's a little lookup table which connects certain "backlinkers"
to a little icon (similar to a forum feature of that nature on Google
Blogoscoped)

So, all this is kinda similar to the Blogger.com "links to this post"
feature (is that one available as non-Blogspot widget by the way?) but
a bit more customized.

PS: The fact that all this is client-side (RIP, SOAP API!) causes some
troubles in interconnecting with the PHP5/MySQL-based forum software.
It means the two can't communicate well unless I add an AJAX layer to
everything. It also causes accessibility problems, because you need
JavaScript running (which bots don't support, for instance). Of
course, I could also write my own server-side parser to access the
Atom output of the Google Blog search, and handle the caching on my
server... but I guess the ease of use of the Google feed API is
tempting!

[Credits for this hack's idea go to Martin Porcheron and Tony Ruscoe!]

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