Pete Finnigan's Web Development Blog

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Oracle Security
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May 2006

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Friday, May 19th

XML-RPC to ping blog directories after an update

I have been envious of some of the features of th wordpress software for some time. I use greymatter blogging software and I am planning to get all of the features available to other bloggers into greymatter.

One feature of some blogging tools is the ability to tell blog directories that you have added a post to your web log. The normal way I have been doing this is to manually go to various blog directories such as and post my update using the form. Then i found a great site called pingomatic that allows you to register your update using their form and then they ping a number of blog directories for you.

The way this works is by using xml-rpc. This allows remote procedure calls to be made using just HTTP. This is a great idea and was invented some years back. I have known for sometime that wordpress allows a user to configure which sites to ping in its interface so I downloaded wordpress to see how it works. After seeing the XML packet structure i searched to see if anyone had done the same on greymatter, but to no avail. I then searched wider to see if anyone had done it in perl. They had, I found Hans Kellner's page titled "Weblogs.Com Perl XML-RPC Ping Utility" and headed over there and downloaded his perl and modified it for my use.

I wanted to ping pingomatic instead as it then pings 16 other blog directories. So i modified Hans code and and also made it run as a web URL. The modified code is available on my site as xml-rpc.txt. Simply copy the file and rename it to xml-rpc.cgi and put it in your greymatter cgi-bin directory. change the name of the weblog at the top where it is indicated to fill it in. chmod the file to 755 and then run it as http://{path to greymatter cgi-bin}/xml-rpc.cgi. A sample run is here for my site:

Pinging for weblog "Pete Finnigan's Web Development blog" at "" (0) : Pings being forwarded to 16 services!

Thanks very much to Hans for making the code available and GPL'ing it so that i can redistribute a slightly modified version here.

A future mod would be to have a configuration file that allows a link of rpc sites to be added and then a ping sent to each. When I get time i will modify it to do this.
Pete on 05.19.06 @ 10:12 PM GMT [link]

Monday, May 8th

Trials and tribulations of running a dedicated webserver and web sites

I started this weblog some time back and then ended up not writing any entries in it for almost 7 months. I have now found some time to come back to it and will now continue to write on this blog. My main website is my Oracle security website that I have been running for a few years now and as its name suggests is dedicated to Oracle Security. I started a weblog on that site almost two years ago and that is how i became aquanted with web logs and also the Greymatter software.

My site has grown both in terms numbers of pages and also visitors. I therefore made a decision to move to a dedicated server some time back and I have finally accomplished this recently. The site was happilly running on a shared server but was quite slow and also the shared hosting had limitations in terms of the size of the space available and also in terms of some of the features I could use. For instance mod_rewrite was not available to be.

I now have a much bigger task in terms of running the website as it is now down to me to configure everything, do backups and keep the site running.

I had always intended this weblog to be a place to talk about some of the features of my website where it involved coding, configuration or the like so now running a dedicated webserver has goven me a great oppertunity to also talk about running a website, nuts, bolts warts and all.

So its time to get this blog running again and talk about some of the things I have done so far and also plan to do with the site. I invite you to come along for the ride!

I plan to talk about the configuration of the server, apache, sendmail, backups, webalizer and lots more. I also plan to talk about my sites development. I am going to cover guestbooks, CGI, wiki's, forums, blog software, RSS, translations, XML-RPC, coding in perl, php, shell and more. Some of the key areas I want to explore will be extending the site, templates, changing or improving my blog software and also some stuff to do with CSS, HTML and my sites layout.

OK, thats lost of things to cover. My first task is to discuss whether to move to Wordpress, which I had been planning to do for some time or to try and improve greymatter. I will talk about that next.
Pete on 05.08.06 @ 06:21 PM GMT [link]