State of the Gravatar

October 06, 2005 | Posted by Tom Werner

I spent a bunch of time today working on the avatar serving script, trying to optimize it a little and get the gray/black box issue sorted out. While it seems to work for the most part now, I’ve still been experiencing some strangeness from it on occasion. Often clearing your cache or a refresh or two will bring a munged avatar back to life, which makes no sense at all. I’ve implemented an If-Modified-Since handler that will return 304 Not Modified if the requested avatar has not been changed since the last time your browser downloaded it (assuming your browser supports IMS headers). Hopefully this will cut bandwidth usage quite a bit and free up some server resources so this thing will survive until G2. Thanks to everyone who was supportive during the last week, it means everything to me; and a special thanks to all who have donated recently despite the quirkiness of the gravatar universe. You guys rock!

3 Responses

  1. Angelwitch says:

    Actually to tell you the truth I have just created my first gravatar and I wanted to see how it is working so far. When I first signed up for it it was because I was at a blog that had them and I wanted one too.

  2. Angelwitch says:

    I forgot about the “lowercase” / “uppercase” thing

  3. kip says:

    The If-Modified-Since handler you mention must be broken. I changed my gravatar in January 2010. But requesting it continues to return a Last-Modified date in June 2008, which I think was when I actually signed up for Gravatar. If I request with If-Modified-Since: 25 Aug 2009, it returns 304/Not Modified, even though it was modified in 2010. Here you can see an example on web-sniffer.net:

    http://web-sniffer.net/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gravatar.com%2Favatar%2Fc621039e41aef415ad25054da3bf3f9a%3Fs%3D32%26d%3Didenticon%26r%3DPG&last-modified=Tue%2C+25+Aug+2009+20%3A32%3A54+GMT&gzip=yes&http=1.1&uak=9

an    joint
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