Karsten Januszewski and Tim Aidlin: Introducing Incarnate

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Our friends and neighbors at Mix Online have just released the latest version of their site which includes a new lab offering: Incarnate. Incarnate is a REST-based service that uses peoples’ usernames to find their avatars on the web. To do this, Incarnate queries Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Xbox Live and YouTube. Karsten Januszewski and Tim Aidlin are the masterminds behind Incarnate so I decided to take a walk down the hallway of our building to find out from them that what, why and how behind Incarnate. Tune in. This is Old School 9.

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      CKurt

      Very Very Very Nice! LOVE old school C9 style!

       

      But does this give me the reverence to the file? Or the image file exactly? What happens if I change my avatar on Facebook/Youtube? Does it change on the wordpress blog to? That would be a breaktrought!

    • User profile image
      Tim Aidlin

      Yes.  Incarnate references your avatars on Facebook, YouTube, etc ... so if they change it should change the avatar you used when you leave your comment.

       

      Hope you like Incarnate and use it.  Be sure to let us know at @mixonline if you implement it!

    • User profile image
      staceyw

      <rant/> omg.  Do we have bigger fish to fry then spend valuable gray matter on an avatar sync service?  Lets focus on ODATA (or the like) and let these things solve themselfs in the noise.  </rant>

    • User profile image
      Charles

      Interesting rant... Not sure I can agree with the sentiment given the purpose of the project and the goal of the work Karsten et al do...

       

      As we talked about in this conversation, avatars are an implementation detail - there's more to incarnate than meets the eye. You just need to look for it.

       

      C

    • User profile image
      wisnia

      Very cool plugin for WordPress! It works great with standard stuff but not so great with custom Sad

      I'm using a custom theme which uses jQuery and beacause of that I can't use Incarnate the right way.

       

      The issue is, that the theme uses jQuery to populate the standard comments form fields with the descriptions that are usualy on the side of the input. You can se how it works here: http://tomaszwisniewski.com/sql-azure-oraz-ssms-jak-polaczyc/#comments

       

      The thing is now, that when I add Incarnate the jQuery stuff populates it with description of an email address so it automaticaly tries to search for an avatar which is not good behavior.

       

      It would be great if the new release if the plugin take that into considaration, or mayby someone has a workaround for now?

    • User profile image
      karstenj

      Hi Tomas -- Thanks for reporting this. I've downloaded the mystique theme and am going to debug locally and fix. I'll let you know!

       

      Thanks,

      Karsten

       

    • User profile image
      spottedmah

      I concur, get it on C9.

       

      Thanks for the vid.

    • User profile image
      sbressler

      Great work with this software and WordPress plugin!

       

      I am, however, a bit confused how Incarnate solves CKurt's question. From what I could tell looking through the code, the service returns a absolute URI to the image of a user's avatar. If I comment on a site pulling in my avatar from Twitter, then go change my avatar on Twitter, the comment I left won't have my updated avatar since it had an absolute URI to the old avatar. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, it might give a broken link, no?

       

      The way to solve this would be to have Incarnate host the avatars used so no links ever get broken by 3rd-party services, but then Incarnate would have to do more heavy lifting.

       

      Also, how is this using microformats? At least from Twitter and Facebook you seem to be parsing the profile pages to get a link to the avatar.

    • User profile image
      karstenj

      sbressler: Right now we just hold the URI. Some social networks have the same URI even after you change your avatar, so that doesn't break things, but others do create new URIs to a changed avatar, in which things do break.

       

      As you suggest, the solution is to save and return the image instead of the URI.  This is a work item, but currently that isn't how the service works. If someone is interested in implementing that functionality, that'd be great!

       

      Yes, not all services find the avatar via microformats; I had to do some HTML screenscraping in some cases.

    • User profile image
      sbressler

      karstenj: Cool, thanks so much for the reply and explanation!

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