An earlier OPML post touched on OPML files and OPML feeds, focusing on sharing…here I will explain the difference.
An OPML file can be used to export the Bloglines OPML file of all your feeds, when someone imports this they will have all the single feeds in their account, it’s way easier then subscribing to each feed individually, it’s like bulk loading.
Now if I add a new feed to my Bloglines account, the person who just imported by OPML file will not know of this, they will not automatically get the feed. The only thing they can do is subscribe to Superfan to Bloglines, which alerts them when I have added a new feed to my account.
The problem with Bloglines is that the OPML file is only for your whole account, you can’t make OPML files for feeds within a folder, as you can at Feedmarker…I like the idea of OPML topic packets…apparently Rojo has OPML for tags that organise feeds, but I can’t find them (I can clearly see the RSS icon for each tag, but not an OPML icon)…RSSor (a feed folksonomy) could also be in the game in implementing OPML files for tags.
OPML reading lists (OPML feed)
Now what about an OPML file that acts as a feed, well this is what are being called OPML reading list.
Solution Watch says:
“I am picturing the future of feed readers allow you to instead export an OPML file, but rather go the URL for your Reading List, Online OPML, Dynamic OPML, or whatever it is to be called.”
What happens is that instead of subscribing to the individual feeds in one bulk load, you are instead subscribing to the OPML file feed (so the OPML file has a feed of its own).
This makes it dynamic, if someone deletes a feed from the OPML file, I’m guessing that it will disappear from your RSS reader, or moreso maybe it will still be there but it won’t be updating.
The same if a feed is added to the dynamic OPML file, it must just magically appear in your RSS reader.
I wonder how the feeds from an OPML file feed are imported, are they automatically organised into a folder?
2 ways to splice RSS feeds
This is kind of the same as subscribing to a spliced RSS feed at a service like Feed Digest, here you can manually splice many feeds into a mega-feed.
When you subscribe to this in your RSS reader you get all the content from different sources in the one feed.
Now if I go back to this spliced RSS feed and delete one of the source feeds, then I will no longer see content from this source in the mega-feed.
This is also the same with feeds that are spliced by default because they live in the same tag, eg. if you organise 2 feeds in Rojo under a tag, that tag has an RSS feed, so in effect you have a spliced or combined feed from your 2 feeds. I could pass the combined feed to a friend and they can read it in their RSS reader, if later I decide to delete a feed within this tag or add one, this will be reflected in my friends RSS reader…so the spliced feed is dynamic.
So we have 2 types of spliced feed, the first made with the intention of combining feeds into one via a service like Feed Digest, and the other creates a spliced feed by default with whatever is stored in a tag, as the tag has an RSS feed, like at Rojo, Feedmarker, and RSSor (basically with any service that organises feeds into a tag, and that tag has an RSS feed)…with either of these 2 versions you are able to make dynamic topic feeds.
A service called aggRSSive can make both types of spliced feeds.
aggRSSive is similar to RSSor as it is a folksonomy to collect, discover and share RSS feeds, so all the feeds that live in a tag are autmotically spliced as that tag has an RSS feed. It also allows you to manually splice feeds like at Feed Digest (they call these Heart-Carts)…on top of this you can store these spliced feeds back into the folksonomy organised into a tag.
So if the RSS of a tag represents a spliced feed, and these items within the tag can be already spliced feeds themselves you can make RSS radars to the max!
Difference between a spliced RSS feed and an OPML feed
The only difference between a spliced RSS feed and an OPML reading list (OPML feed) is that the feeds in the OPML reading list are listed as single feeds, whereas the spliced RSS feed has all the content as a river of news in one feed (you only know the sources by looking at the posts).
The problem with both is that you are at the mercy of the owner of the OPML reading list or the RSS spliced feed, if they delete/add a feed you have no say (also with the RSS spliced feed it may take a while before you notice a source has been deleted from the spliced feed, vice versa, you may be surprised that you are suddenly seeing posts from a new source - that you hopefully don’t mind).
Whereas with the OPML reading list you can tell if a feed has been deleted/added as the feeds are listed individually in your RSS reader just like when you import an OPML file.
OPML feed for a tag
We know aggRSSive could make an OPML file for each tag like at Feedmarker, and Rojo, but could each of these services make an OPML feed for each tag (reading list), the idea is to dynamically synch when changes are made.
…not sure if this would work with a manually spliced feed (called a Heart-Cart in aggRSSive) as the feeds don’t exist on their own anymore, they are merged into one feed…same as at Feed Digest (is this correct?)
OPML feed for an aggregator
Rojo offers a feed for the whole aggregator, this would be a super mega spliced feed if you had hundreds of feeds in your account, a Blogdigger group (private/public river of new aggregator) also has a feed for the whole account - since there are no tags/folders in Blogdigger groups there are no feeds at the folder/tag level.
NOTE: Blogdigger groups could do with an update of organisation features and presentation features.
Blogdigger Groups (a spliced feed generator, also a public river of news aggregator that is searchable, and generates search feeds) not only has an RSS feed which is a spliced feed of all the feeds listed in the aggregator, and it also has an OPML file…just like an OPML file of a BLoglines account or a Rojo account, etc…
So the idea here is that you can subscribe to the spliced feed in your RSS reader to see a river of news from multiple sources from the one feed, or you can subscribe to the OPML file where you can see content by each individual source.
Similar to the other splicing services, if I add a feed to my Blogdigger group I should start seeing posts from this newly added feed from the mega-feed in my RSS reader, so spliced feeds are dynamic…ie. if you delete/add a feed/s it will be reflected automatically.
What will happen if I subscribe to the OPML file, will one of the feeds be automatically added/deleted…probably not as I’m subscribing to all the individual feeds within the OPML file (just like a Bloglines account), and not to the OPML file feed itself, as it is not dynamic, it doesn’t have a synching feature yet
…more on Blogdigger.
Am I right here? …please correct me if I’m misunderstanding this concept.
What is a dynamic OPML reading list, well it means you subscribe to the OPML file feed (not just bulk loading the individual feeds).
Does this mean if you have subscribed to an OPML file, and a feed is added or deleted to that OPML, that the recipients will automatically have that feed added/deleted from their RSS reader…see FeedDemon.
You might want to say hang on don’t delete that feed, I liked that feed…you are at the mercy of the owner of the OPML file, couldn’t you be alerted first, so you can re-subscribe to that feed as an individual feed
…Cristian adds to this scenario (2nd bullet point)
I’m really not sure if I have grasped this OPML reading list stuff.
Off topic, but what about an OPML outline feed…I touched on this on an earlier post.
If you use Wink, you can make a list of links (that live at a permalink in your account), you can subscribe to the feed of this list of links…same with a service like MemeFlow (although this is not a folksonomy, it’s tag free).
What if this list of links was made in an OPML outliner, you have the advantage of collapsing categories, instead of just viewing a list of links, you can view an outline.
So you could browse a tag and get a list of outlines with that tag, well I’ve been told this is already happening but not quite in a folksonomy environment. According to a comment on one of my posts OPMLsearch allows you to search OPML outlines by category.
For example, you can search for all OPML packets tagged as Jazz:
Here is an OPML item called First Class Syllabus…so I have searched an engine (by keyword or category) and found this OPML outline that I can view as a tree, and I can also grab the OPML file, but what do I do with this file, where do I display it, is there such a thing as an OPML organiser or reader, where you can keep and display these outlines?…not neccessarily an OPML editor.
The next step would be to create, display, discover and share OPML outlines within a folksonomy environment…so instead of sharing a linear list of links (like in Wink), we can share outlines which are also linear but have the tree like features (that is, categories, and sub- categories, etc…this is very powerful).
Also the outline doesn’t have to contain hyperlinks (like in Wink), it can be just text.
And the outline will have an OPML file so you can take peoples outlines and manipulate them, they are not only shareable but you can alter, intergrate, etc…this is very social.
In Wink, if the owner adds a link to the list (permalink), you can be notified because each list has an RSS feed, you can also be notified of new lists as each list is filed within a tag’s which has an RSS feed, the same would apply for an outline (although in the above example, First Class Syllabus) I don’t see an RSS feed for this outline.
So is it possible to have an RSS feed for an outline?
If the owner of an outline makes changes, will it reflect in your OPML reader (if these exist) when you look at that outline next. Can you be notified of these changes?
We are not only talking about new additions which RSS is great to notify us about, but we are talking about any change made to the outline…maybe if a change has been made to the outline, the feed for that outline in our OPML reader can turn bold, this is good as we know changes have been made, but what are the changes (when you look at the outline maybe the changes are highlighted, or you can compare the new version to an older version - so the reader would have to stores versions or history of the same outline)
So is this another sort of OPML reading list?
Another OPML search engine is OPMLsurfer…thanks to Randy…more.
This is different again, it’s not in an outline, but as hyperlinks, see here.
This is amazing an OPML file can be a bunch of linked webpages all stored in one portable URL!
They can be simple lists that are shareable, also you can import an OPML file into an OPML editor and edit, this is as rife as RSS with concern to content ownership.
This OPML file is viewable at OPMLsurfer, surely this can have an RSS feed like any webpage…but does the file have an RSS feed or each page within the file.
I want to be able to view OPML files in an OPML reader, just like OPMLsurfer, not sure if you could view tree like OPML files like displayed in OPMLsearch.
Some comments from Feedmarker talk about displaying OPML in HTML presentation.
Actually I just found an OPML browser for your toolbar called Taskable…the games are on!
7 reasons 2006 will be a big year for OPML