OPML – An Awesome Experiment

We’ve been following the evolution of Dave Winer’s OPML Editor for most of this year (TechCrunch Profile). We’ve experimented with it, but never fully understood all of the incredible potential that it has to organize and distribute information..

Now we get it. We’ve created a directory, in OPML format, of every TechCrunch company profile. Dave has put the TechCrunch directory up on Scripting News. The directory updates on Scripting News automatically as we update the OPML file. All of our content is therefore available on the Scripting News site.

Dave wrote about this last night:

Preview: TechCrunch directory in Scripting News

There are so many stories that connect together in this one development, I’m going to have to do a podcast to explain (and I will, tomorrow), but in the meantime I wanted to show a rough top-level of the project, and give a brief idea of where it goes.

First, look at any archive page on Scripting News, for example the page for today.


If you look in the right margin, you’ll see a box that lists the top level of an OPML directory being edited by Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch. Each of the items in the directory is an article on TechCrunch. I wanted to include his content in mine because I would point to every review he writes, they’re all on-topic for Scripting News readers.

When he makes a change to that directory, the box recalcs. When it appears on www.scripting.com tomorrow, it will recalc every time I update Scripting News (that page is statically rendered). If you want you can include Mike’s directory in your site, or in your directory through inclusion. It’s a normal OPML file, edited with the OPML Editor.

This is, in so many ways, the kind of collaboration I envisioned when I released the OPML Editor. Mike, a lawyer who loves technology, is exactly the kind of person I want to empower with OPML.

This is just a start. We’re working on the taxonomy and interface. But this is an interesting experiment in using OPML to solve real-Web problems. If you’d like assistance in working with OPML, please email us and/or check out OPML.org.