Home > Archive >  2009 >  October >  30

Lists and OPML

Friday, October 30, 2009 by Dave Winer.

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. Permalink to this paragraph

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. Permalink to this paragraph

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. Permalink to this paragraph

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. Permalink to this paragraph

How do you edit these structures? In the OPML Editor of course. Here's a screenshotPermalink to this paragraph

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. Permalink to this paragraph

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. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

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.  Permalink to this paragraph

   Recent stories

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

© Copyright 1994-2009 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 10/30/2009; 3:52:46 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

Click here to view blogs commenting on  RSS 2.0 feed.