25 April 2007

OPML file creation

Kathryn emailed me the other day asking about options for creating bundles of rss feeds. Previously I have used OPMLworkstation which has proven satisfactory for my needs. It provides hosting and management of multiple opmls. But there are other options to make this task easy. Here are a few to consider:

  1. IE7  --  Internet Explorer 7 has built in RSS reader functionality. So if you don't use it as your regular newsreading application, it could be put to good use for quickly building opml files of bundled RSS feeds. The steps would be visit the sites, subscribe to the feeds, then when you are happy with your bundle, use the File>Import&Export option from the menu to output the feeds as an opml file. If you are going to be managing bundles over time you'd need to save your output somewhere (a separate folder would be recommended) so that you could import it again to the browser to modify your collection.
  2. OPML generator -- Incredibly easy to use. Just paste in your RSS urls and click the button. The xml is displayed on the page ready for you to copy into a text editor and save. No hosting or management of the opml files, just plain and simple code generation from this service. Good for a quick one-off bundle. However, you may want to edit the code to include titles rather than just the url repeated in the appropriate places.
  3. Feedshow Goodies has a similar type of service available. OPMLbuilder. Although this one offers the ability to gather feeds from links on a web page.
  4. OPML Manager -- This is an online opml hosting and management service. From the website "The outline-structure of your opml-file is represented in a foldertree that can be edited with a click of your mouse. You can easily add, edit and delete nodes and links.
    If you have an existing opml-file you would like to maintain using opmlmanager then you can use the import function that will import your opml-file in seconds.
    Opmlmanager also offers you hosting of your opml-file and statistics."
  5. Any feed reader that can export opml could be used, but if you are planning on managing a number of opmls, then you'll want at least one separate account just for this purpose and will likely want to manage your output files for reuse. Or you'll want a feed reader that allows you to export selected folders and/or feeds.

If you plan on creating and developing bundles over time for a number of clients or subject areas, then spending some time to find and learn how to use a fully functional opml manager is worthwhile. If you think this will only be an occasional task and you can manage it easily on your desktop then IE7 could be adequate and simple, and you don't have to sign up for yet another account and try to remember yet another username/password combination.


Now if MS Powerpoint or openOffice Impress could enable conversion of outlines to opml that might give users a tool that they are already comfortable using to manage bundles of feeds. OPMLworkstation offers conversion of PPT to opml. I can feel another post coming on.