I’m gradually beginning to work out what these things are for.
Some references: A Beginners Guide to TrackBack from the people at MovableType.
This description of How TrackBack Works was also one of the better ones found, although was rather painful to read because of the example they used (girls wouldn’t understand this though !!). Also read the Pingback Specs – if you wade through the techo detail, there is a lot of good information there – especially look at the example right down the bottom.
A guy by the name of Phil Ringnalda has some interesting things to say on the subject. One thing I think I’ve learned so far is that me just putting in a TrackBack to Phil’s page on this subject is probably not a good idea, since I’m not actually adding any value to Phil’s comments, nor does Phil know me from a bar of soap, so there’s no real point in having his blog refer people to my blog by submitting a TrackBack.
However, (if I understand this all correctly), since I have linked to Phil’s site in this post, and the “PingBack the URLs in this post” option is enabled, then at least a PingBack will be sent to Phil’s server, and if his server is set up to accept PingBacks, there will be a notification that I have linked to Phil’s site visible there. Naturally, he may delete that PingBack, but it’s there if he wants – and he knows that someone else has linked to his site.
Some other interesting views on TrackBack and PingBack by someone called Ryan Eby.
dnorman made the following comment in his blog, which I think is one of the most succinct and useful descriptions I’ve come across so far:
Where Trackback is “Here’s what I think of that…”, Pingback is more simply “I’m using that…” – a useful way to track activity
I think I’m starting to get the hang of this !