Articles tagged in gravatar

  1. Gravatar 3.0, Powered by Automattic

    Gravatar One of the best news today -- Automattic acquires Gravatar. From the new owner of Gravatar, Automattic's Matt Mullenweg:

    So we worked out an arrangement to transfer the code and service from Tom to Automattic, and here we are. Here's what we've done so far over the past few days:

    • We transferred the Rails application and most of the avatar serving to our infrastructure and servers.
    • Avatar serving is now more than three times as fast, and works every time.
    • We moved this blog from Mephisto to WordPress.

    Wow. Talking about Rails bashing. Anyway, Om Malik is wrong about Gravatar -- it is not a "small project that gives Wordpress users the ability to add avatars to their profiles" -- in fact I use it in almost all my applications where a profile image needs to be placed, be that WordPress, Drupal or other custom built apps -- as long as a user can be identified by an email address. I guess I am just way too lazy to implement one myself, but at the same time, why reinvent the wheel when something as neat as Gravatar is available?

    However Gravatar was no short of disasters. Their domain expired once, performance has been ranging from mediocre to very slooooow, and the coming of Gravatar 2 early this year did not seem to improve anything other than "hey, we are now running Rails behind Lighty 1.5beta!" That is why I coded the generic Gravatar Cache, as you really cannot count on it being available 24x7!

    Now with Automattic powering the infrastructure -- the same company that gives us massively popular and Akismet services -- I can now sleep easy at night knowing Gravatar will continue to serve those 80x80 profile images even when my apps are dead. Oh wait, just let me check whether my sites are still alive...

    What's more exciting is the plan for "Gravatar 3.0" -- although I suspect Automattic is going to absorb the Gravatar front-end into and keeping only the API, which is most useful for third party app developers anyway. That includes:

    • CDN delivery
    • Bigger image at 128x128px
    • profile images accessible via Gravatar API
    • etc


  2. Permalink Redirect 0.8.1 and Gravatar Cache 2.0

    Sorry I have not been updating this blog. There are simply way too many commitments in life for me to maintain "yet-another-blog", so I think I might eventually fold after two years of on and off writing. I will continue to publish code snippets at our personal blog, Scott Yang's Playground, but even that has slowed down quite a bit over the last few months.

    So what we have got here?

    Gravatar Cache 0.2

    On July 20 I have uploaded an updated version of Gravatar Cache. Something has been added, and something has been removed:

    • Add MySQL backend support for handling negative responses

      Personally I found that SQLite-based backend is just not scalable. It is perfectly fine for small websites, but when you have a site with thousands of page views a day, each page view generates multiple Gravatar requests, and majority of requests yield negative result -- you'll probably see lots of SQLite locking errors in your log files.

      Porting negative cache to a new backend is easy. Now Gravatar Cache can use MySQL as backend so hopefully cache misses can be better handled.

    • Remove fopen_url based HTTP request method

      That means we will never use fopen to grab Gravatar from, as fopen automatically follows 301/302 redirects. Gravatar cache can still download gravatars using either cURL or raw socket.

    It has been running quite stably on one of my Drupal site doing 30,000+ gravatars per day.

    Permalink Redirect 0.8.1

    Also on July 20 I have released an updated version of Permalink Redirect WordPress plugin. There has been quite a few changes since 0.7.0:

    • Add FeedBurner branding support

      Thanks to Mesoconcepts for sponsoring this enhancement. Since Google purchased FeedBurner, FeedBurner has released this Pro feature for free. Now you can edit your hostname as well as the pathname to redirect the visitors to.

    • Add static page redirect

      Thanks to Sergey Menshikov for supplying the patch. You can now edit a list of [from] [to] and let WordPress to handle the redirection. Again, it is probably a feature best left for the web server to do. It is nice to have it in the plugin as well, for those who do not wish to touch their web server configuration files.

    • Fix front page as static page issue in WordPress 2.2

      Somehow is_home() is ambiguous in different versions of WordPress. Anyway, it is fixed now.

    • Fix 301 redirect issue with Lighttpd/Nginx + PHP FastCGI

      Permalink Redirect 0.8+ uses WordPress' wp_redirect function, which refuses to send back 301 when PHP is running as FastCGI. Now we are making an exception in the code so it by-pass wp_redirect if we are running FastCGI behind Lighttpd and Nginx.

    Permalink Redirect and Beyond

    There has been words that WordPress is going to integrate the functionality of Permalink Redirect into its core, and looks like it is going to be available in WP 2.3 (currently SVN trunk).

    The function redirect_canonical does pretty much the same thing as Permalink Redirect plugin so I guess the question is -- what is happening to Permalink Redirect beyond WordPress 2.3?

    Not much I guess. The primary goal for Permalink Redirect is redirecting visitors to the canonical URL for search engine's sake, and I think WP 2.3 has achieved that right inside the core. While there are lots of other functionality in Permalink Redirect that are not ported to WP 2.3 (Feedburner feeds, configurable rules, old to new permalink structure, etc), but honestly even I do not use these features much myself.

    It is still possible to create a lite version of Permalink Redirect to hook these extra functionality into WordPress 2.3, and I might start working on that when WP 2.3 turns beta. Meanwhile, excuse my absence here as I have my "other life" to sort out. Don't bother with the bbPress support forum (it is down anyway). If you need any quick solutions, email me directly. You can find my email address in the contact page.

  3. Permalink Redirect 0.6.3 and Gravatar Cache 0.1.1 Released

    This forum post identified the problem, and while I have not get around to look at it, Filipe has provided the fix. So there you go -- Permalink Redirect 0.6.3, now with category feed URL fixed.

    A while ago I have also fixed an issue with Gravatar Cache, when Gravatar2 was released. Gravatar2's blue'ish logo kept on popping out despite an alternate gravatar has been specified. So I went and fixed my code, but since I did not know anyone who was actually using it, I did not bother to update the download page with the new fix. Then Oli turned up today with the enquery -- so there you have it -- a generic Gravatar Cache that works even when is poo poo'ing. Oh, X-Send-File support (for Apache and Lighttpd) has also been added.

  4. Gravatar 2 Beta Now Public

    Tom from Gravatar has releaed the new site as public beta. It has a much cleaner design than the previous one, and it is great that people can sign up gravatar and update their pictures again. Gravatar serving is running lighttpd + PHP, but the admin interface is developed in Ruby …
  5. Gravatar 2 Coming

    Went to the Gravatar website this morning, and saw the message its funder Tom Werner has put on: ... In order to handle the rapidly increasing load, I've had to experiment with a variety of server architectures. I ask for your patience during the coming weeks as I test out a …
  6. Gravatar Cache 0.1 Released

    Last couple of nights I have hacked a generic URL-based cache for Gravatar, the globally recognized avatar. If you have been blogging or reading other people's blog, "gravatar" would not be foreign to you, as it has been implemented on many blog sites of various platforms. Gravatar Cache is an …
  7. Gravatar still off-line

    Pay your bill on-time! ... especially when there are a lot of people relying on your service! I noticed that on Saturday,, the service that provides global-recognised avatars from the hash of your email, went off line and can no longer be contacted. DNS won't resolve, so I fired …
  8. New Plugins Installed

    I have recently installed two WordPress plugins to slightly enhance the visual of comments. Gravatars - uses the globally recognised avatar to display a 48x48 image next to each comment to identify its poster. IP to Nation - displays a little country flag next to the comment poster's name, guessed from its …