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Using OPML to generate a Markdown site

This came up in a thread under the end-of-road piece about Trex.

Steve Ivy, who is running a Markbox, a service that allows you to manage a folder structure of markdown pages from your Dropbox folder, asked if it would make sense to connect up Fargo to this app.

I said yes, of course. I would love to see an intermediate app that breaks up an OPML file into a folder structure of markdown files.

Or even better if Steve's app understood OPML and could generate the site directly from OPML. This was one of the nice simplifications in Trex. It makes editing a site in an outliner work. And if you add support for a domain attribute, all of a sudden you can manage many sites from a single outline. That turns out to be a pretty big deal. Fargo is totally ready for it, because it was set up to work with Trex.

I think this is a very interesting direction.

 10/9/13; 2:03:56 PM.

Hackathon idea

I'd like to have a hackathon where teams come up with designs for a new Twitter that does not have a 140-char limit.

However, users should be incentivized to write short bits, but it should be easy to go longer without cluttering up the timeline, and forcing the author to use a different piece of software. The writer should be aware they've gone over a boundary, but should not get an ease-of-use penalty for it.

The idea of having Twitter (or or whatever) be something separate from a blogging system is causing inefficiency and miscommunictation.

Some people know how to write efficiently and don't need a crutch like a character limit to keep it concise.

For example, a lot of my emails are less than 140 characters, even though I have unlimited space.

Another example, this blog post explains why you would want a Twitter system capable of more than 140-characters. Yet over on Twitter, so far, all the responses have been basically 140-character limit is good. My guess is that most of them didn't click the link or read the post. And I don't think the idea in this post could be explained in 140 characters. Not in any kind of convincing way.

There are ways to do this that work better than the current method (using a different website, writing a blog post, etc), but all of them require changing the user interface of the Twitter app. Since Twitter is not extensible this way, and since it's illegal to create new Twitter clients, to solve this problem will require creating a Twitter competitor.

For a hackathon, this isn't a problem, where the goal is to expose an idea, not make a product. And if the idea is compelling enough, it might spawn a new market. We certainly need to get out from behind the limited thinking at Twitter, Inc. Imho of course.

 10/9/13; 10:27:02 AM.

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