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December 10, 2007

Edublog awards, OPML and the OPMLDashboard

I blogged over on ArtsPlace SL that having an OPML file of all the nominees in this year's Edublog Awards would have made it easier to get an overall picture of what the different blogs were about.  My original thinking was that if the OPML file had been available before the awards (I've since created one here) it would have made it more or less a single click to subscribe to all the blogs using your favorite RSS feed reader (Bloglines in my case).

Having announced the availability of my OPML file on Twitter, Tony Hirst over at OUseful got in touch to query why downloading it was so difficult.  (My hosting service, Dreamhost, was going thru a bit of a bad patch as it happens :-( but I think it is on the mend now).  Digging around a bit I discovered that his natty OPMLDashboard could be used to parse my OPML file, displaying the first 5 entries in each of the blogs up for an award.  How cool is that?

This is a perfect example of why exposing stuff in standard formats is so powerful.  You do something and someone else can build on top of it using their existing tools and services with little or no effort.  Nice.


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The OPML file can also be used to power a Google custom search engine, like this one:


Here's the CSE definition file (auto created from the OPML):

You can try it out here:

Here's the background:

(and here were my original thoughts when I found it:
http://blogs.open.ac.uk/Maths/ajh59/010533.html )


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