Archive >  2009 >  October >  30 Previous / Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Content drives adoption Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named chalmers.gifThis began as a response to a comment left by Marshall Kirkpatrick to an earlier post of mine.

My belief is that it's content that drives the apps.

You need something or someone to go first. With RSS it was Wired, Red Herring, Motley Fool and Salon then the early blogs then the NY Times and it blasted off.

With podcasting it was IT Conversations, the Gillmor Gang, Morning Coffee Notes, Daily Sourcecode, the community, then NPR and it blasted off.

This confluence has not (yet) happened for directory structures. It's not immediately obvious who the big drivers are going to be, but if they're out there, the Twitter lists feature is getting them to think about this stuff. I don't doubt that OPML will be part of the bootstrap and that people will quickly want to make lists that include resources that are not (just) Twitter users or lists of Twitter users.

In other words, this is the most promising moment for OPML directories that's come so far.

Lists and OPML Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named nick.gifSo many things to say about where Twitter's lists point, the thing is, I've said them all already, many times over many years. There's a whole architecture already designed and deployed for lists and lists of lists. And they form directories that are much more open than the original Yahoo directory or DMOZ. I know everyone thinks DMOZ is the most open directory possible, but it's not.

The list structure of the Internet should be a open as the web. That is to say no one gives you permission to create a web page on any topic you like. So if you want to create a list of resources, that might include Twitter users, but might also include many other things, go ahead. Be the best you can be. You don't need anyone to let you do it.

If you're good, I might include your directory within mine, thereby delegating that topic to you. If something better comes along, I might unhook yours and replace it with theirs. Or I might get fancy and join yours with theirs, forming the sum of two lists.

If you want to see this working, here's a directory rendering of the archive of Scripting News. Look at the white-on-orange XML icons in the upper right corner. They, as always, link to the XML version of the rendering. In this case instead of being RSS, they are OPML. Every page has a way to suggest a link.

How do you edit these structures? In the OPML Editor of course. Here's a screenshot.

The OPML Editor allows you to build these attributed hierarchies but it also includes a full web server and CMS. And a lot more. And because it was built to run on the computers of the mid-90s, it's pretty fast on today's machines. The download is the size of an MP3. Takes a minute to install.

I may try one more time to push these ideas out there. It may finally be the time. If anyone wants to get something entrepreneurial going, I'm up for it. I'm not just doing this stuff out of the goodness of my heart. ;->

Techies, read the OPML 2.0 spec to see how the pieces fit together. My software is all replaceable. The formats are open and lightweight. And there's some great connections to search engines possible. I pitched Google on this in 2002.


Last update: Friday, October 30, 2009 at 3:52 PM Pacific.

My Projects
My Linkblog
The Bay Bridge Blog
Berkeley on Twitter
Berkeley on WordPress
Leon Winer

A picture named dave.jpgDave 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.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

My most recent trivia on Twitter.

My Wish List

On This Day In: 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

October 2009
Sep   Nov

Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog.

© Copyright 1997-2009 Dave Winer.

Previous / Next