A kerfluffle of OPML and web directories » Archive » Blog » 0xDECAFBAD : # OPML is a sucky and under-specified format, with implementations subject to approval by one guy.
# OPML is a working format already in use by lots of code, so offer something better or shut up.

Both groups are right. The problem is that standards without implementations are just academic wanking (c Julian Bond, 2003). And implementations without standards won’t get widespread adoption.

What’s intensely irritating is the egos involved who can’t see the truth in the above statement. It should be possible to criticise OPML as a standard while still applauding the experiments and without necessarily offering an alternative. If done with respect, just the criticism on its own should move the debate onwards.

Re OPML based SuperOpenDirectories. It is indeed neat. But I’m still struggling to see the point. Does it just re-invent Gopher? Then there’s the inspired chaos of it all. At least with something like DMOZ, Yahoo, Wikipedia, the hierarchy has some formalised structure and editors (perhaps community editors). An open mesh of decentralised outlines is going to have lots of dead ends and missing cross links. Perhaps that’s just an artifact of the browser Apps we’ve seen so far and the breadcrumb approach being used. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

And finally, I’d love to see an OPML browser app written in PHP. Perhaps I’ll write one.

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[ 03-Oct-05 8:58am ] [ ]