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New OPML nodetype: html
By Dave Winer on Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 11:36 AM.

A picture named opml.gifI've always wanted a way to edit whole websites in a single outline. It would give me a lot of flexibility as an author, and with the memory capabilities of today's computers, it's not such a crazy idea. I already edit outlines that are several megabytes in size. The software handles it without any problem. It's written in C and over the years the CPUs have gotten quite fast, and scrolling through and reorganizing what would have been unthinkably huge outlines when the code was written in the late 80s, is now no problem. The algorithms we used back then have stood up well over time.  #

Why would I want to have a whole site in a single outline? Well, I manage lots of very small single-purpose sites. Some of them are only a landing page, a place-holder. Others simply document a format or protocol, and are actively worked on for a while and then basically don't change, forever. It's always hard to remember how to make small edits to these sites. It would work best if they were all in an outline that I could expand and collapse and reorganize at will. And the outline structure would also serve as a directory for users to browse. A picture named trampCoffeeCoup.jpgThe unifying idea has eluded me for years, almost within grasp, but as my mind siezes on it, it slips away. #

Then I finally figured it out on the flight from Amsterdam to Boston. The world outline is almost exactly what I want. I just need to tell it how to switch gears, how to shift from structure mode to HTML mode. And for that we already have a way to tell processors how to interpret the content of an outline node and its subs -- the type attribute. And I have a processor running to implement this in -- worldoutline.scripting.com.  #

That's the motivation, now here, in a bulleted list are the elements. #

1. An outline with a node with a type attribute whose value is html. #

2. When the processor encounters such a node, it gathers all its subtext and returns it. #

3. If the processor doesn't understand this type, it does nothing special. #

An example of such an outline. If you scroll down near the bottom you'll see a node of type html that has a placeholder page for a site called mageddon.org. If you go to the test section of the worldoutline, the 4th item is the html node. Click on the icon next to it. You should see a page with the HTML on it. #

I can edit the contents of this page by editing the outline. #

Next steps are to allow you to map a domain to one of these nodes.  #

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