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Adding Gravatars with Perl

© January 2009 Anthony Lawrence

This morning I added Gravatars to the comments here. If you don't have a Gravatar, you can go create one at the Gravatar site.

Adding Gravatars to a site is fairly simple to do - it's just a matter of doing an MD5 hash on the email supplied in the comment form. The Gravatar site has sample code and plugins etc. exist for common platforms.

Your email is never displayed but it might someday be possible to reverse engineer it from the hash (see Wikipedia MD5). If that concerns you, either do not use Gravatars or use an email that doesn't matter for this (see examples in the comments).

The Gravatar site has more explanation in its FAQ

MD5 is plenty good for obfuscating the email address of users across the wire. if you're thinking of rainbow tables, those are all geared at passwords (which are generally shorter, and less globally different from one another) and not email addresses, furthermore they are geared at generating anything that matches the hash, NOT the original data being hashed. If you are thinking about being able to reproduce a collision, you still dont necessarily get the actual email address being hashed from the data generated to create the collision. In either case the work required to both construct and operate such a monstrocity would be prohibitively costly. If we left your password laying around in the open as a plain md5 hash someone might be able to find some data (not necessarily your password) which they could use to log in as you... Leaving your email address out as an md5 hash, however, is not going to cause a violent upsurge in the number of fake rolex watch emails that you get. Lets face it there are far more lucrative, easier, ways of getting email address. I hope this helps ease your mind.

Simple command line code to do this is:

use Digest::MD5  qw(md5_hex);
chomp $data;
$digest = md5_hex($data);
print " $data = https://www.gravatar.com/avatar.php?gravatar_id=$digest\n";

Obviously squeezing that into my comments code took a little more work, but I think it is all set now. Older comments won't show gravatars - only comments you add now that include an email address.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Adding Gravatars with Perl


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12

Take Control of Preview

Take Control of Pages

iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course

iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Mon Jan 12 15:48:25 2009: 5162   TonyLawrence

This is an example using my normal email address.

Mon Jan 12 15:49:10 2009: 5163   TonyLawrence

This comment uses a different email address.

Mon Jan 12 15:49:40 2009: 5164   TonyLawrence

And this left the email blank


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