Thread: Catching up on OPML & RSS stuff.

Lots of things happening in the Land of OPML these days.

1. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to provide full text descriptions and good titles to Google Reader people. But as often happens, after a night’s sleep, and with the conversations with readers fresh in my mind, I figured out how to, step by step get there.

2. Then last night, just before the debate, I had a bit of time, and wanted to see if I couldn’t get a link to the OPML itself into the RSS feed. This is something I had working in the previous version of the feed.

3. It proved a little difficult, so then I realized I could do something even better — I could put the OPML itself right in the RSS feed. That way, if anyone wanted to provide a truly high fidelity view of the content of my blog, including the attributes that come with the OPML, and the full structure of the outlines, well, they wouldn’t even have to read a file. So I did it. And it works.

4. Microliner was released. Quite a few people tried it. Everyone seems to like it so far. I find it fascinating. We can have a structured conversation that’s something like the Instant Outliner and something like Twitter, but really not like anything I’ve seen yet. So I want to get a better feel for it, so today I’m going to add a community feature.

5. There was a bit of drama on Wednesday night when it looked like Microliner had been shut off. But it turns out to have been a coincidence, that it was the same day that Twitter shut off some of the long-deprecated URLs in their REST interface. Quite a few other developers had to scramble to get their apps back online (we tend to forget about the code we wrote five years ago, esp if it continues to work without problems, as our Twitter code did).

A picture named jfk.gif6. As the dust was settling on this, I wondered why there isn’t a brain-dead simple machine image I could set up that does a subset of what Twitter’s API does, reliably, fast, and with no terms and conditions. It could at least serve as a sandbox for testing apps before they go live. And it might turn into a coral reef. I sent an email to Dan MacTough, who has become fluent in node.js, to ask him to have a look. By writing this, I’m inviting all readers of this site to think about it, and maybe do it.

  • It also occurred to me that Twitter might want to sponsor the work. They’ve been very active in open source, and it would be a great way to show that they love the wild innovation of the open Internet. It might be a smart way to zig to their own zag. 🙂
  • BTW, it’s worth mentioning that the Bootstrap Toolkit, which came out of Twitter, and now is open source, came out early enough in the development process for the worldoutline software that we were able to get it in, at a very basic level. Every page rendered by the worldoutline, by default has the full toolkit available to it. That can lead to some pretty nice serendipity.

7. If you can do it with, great.

8. I’m still waiting for one of the alternate-Twitterverses to hook into my linkblog feed. The first one that does gets my full link flow, which is a nice little first step in what could be a wonderful bootstrap. It’s my proposal to all developers for how I’d like to work with you. It’s just RSS with a cloud element. You can even do it without using the cloud info (that’s just for realtime-ness).

Having a lot of fun. Finally we’re getting some outliner users. That’s a magic ingredient. Outliner people are smart and fair-minded, and love to think. Just the kind of users we like. 🙂

One more thing that’s worth saying every so often, esp since President Kennedy came up in the debate last night. Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet. Really. It’s good for you. 🙂


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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