Finally after banging my head for a week or so, I finally got Gravatar (Globally recognized avatar) working on my site. Before I recount the story of how I got it working, a quick intro of Gravatar.
This is what wikipedia has to say about Gravatar:
A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. They follow the user and display next to the users name everywhere the user posts on the web, assuming the website has enabled them. The users are distinguished by their e-mail address, whose MD5 hash is sent to the Gravatar server for the correct avatar to be returned. Gravatars are rated with the MPAA-style system, making it possible for website owners to decide what’s appropriate for the viewer to see.
The system was created by Tom Werner.
This is what you need to do to have your own Gravatar
1. Sign up at http://www.gravatar.com
2. Note that the E-Mail Id that you use to register at Gravatar is pretty important
3. Once you sign up, upload your image. (It doesn’t necessarily need to be “your” image. It’s the image that you want be globally recognized with )
4. Every avatar image that is submitted to gravatar.com is manually given a rating of G, PG, R, or X by a panel of rating experts. If, for example, you have submitted an avatar that contains nudity or extreme violence, your avatar will be given an R rating. If you then leave a comment on a kid-friendly weblog that has chosen to only show avatars with a G rating, your avatar will either not show up at all, or will be replaced with a default avatar of the weblog owner’s choosing.
5. By default you can have only one E-Mail ID associated with the Rated Image. If you need to register multiple E-Mail ID’s with the same image , you have to shell out 5 $
6. Whenever you register a comment with this Gravatar registered E-Mail ID, in an support forum or a weblog (which supports Gravatar) , the associated “rated” image appears in the forum.
Currently Gravatars.com is serving an astonishing 3,000,987,756 images !!!!
A Gravatar is a dynamic image resource that is requested from Gravatar’s server. The Request URL should begin with http://www.gravatar.com/avatar.php? , followed by a mandatory parameter gravatar_id. It’s value is the hexadecimal MD5 hash of the requested user’s email address with all whitespace trimmed. The value is case insensitive. The image returned should be embedded in the src attribute of tag.
MD5 is the mechanism by which your E-Mail ID is not compromised in the web site.
Gravatar on WordPress
My initial search on “Gravatar+Wordpress” on Google, guided me to a plugin by Skippy. Somehow I could never get Gravatar working with this plugin. The plugin is supposed to take the E-Mail ID of the person posting the comment and get the MD5 corresponding to that E-Mail ID. However for every comment it was generating the same MD5 irrespective of the E-Mail ID. I did try to get support from WordPress Support Forum and GetK2 , but as usual I got no response.
This plugin is an extension of Skippy’s plugin, but it does have better cache management. Yup Cache management is pretty important, since it is not feasible to get images every time from Gravatar. I finally got Gravatar working J
Check my comment on this post to see Gravatar in action.