08 May 2006

How to Flaunt Your OPML

When the history of computing in the 1990s comes to be written, the name of Dave Winer will figure quite a few times. For those with long memories, he was a pioneer in the field of outliners like ThinkTank, but he is probably best known for his work on blogs, both in terms of drafting the indispensable RSS standard, and his use of pings to track blog updates.

Now he's at it again, setting up Share Your OPML.

Few will have heard of Outline Processor Markup Language (there's the ThinkTank link), but that may well change with the new site, which uses OPML to collate blog subscription lists from RSS aggregators (or similar) in order to extract higher-level information. In effect, it provides a new cut of the blogosphere, showing things like the top 100 feeds, and who the most prolific subscribers are.

In other words, it'll become another occasion for some healthy geek competition. But it does also serve a potentially more useful role by offering other feeds you might like on the basis of what you already read: think Amazon.com's suggestion service for blogs.

Interestingly, Winer describes this new idea as "A commons for sharing outlines, feeds, and taxonomy." Watch out, it's that meme again....

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