Like RSS and tagging, over the next several years OPML is going to become a core underlying technology for marketers in the conversation economy. […] I see it becoming a big social network for feeds. As it adds features and becomes more accessible to non-geeks, the community will grow, the network effect will kick in and so its value will increase.
Today, though, OPML is definitely a tech tool that requires some perseverance in understanding how to use it beyond just importing and exporting your RSS feeds list in and out of your RSS reader.
Like many others, I’ve signed up to Share Your OPML and included the feeds in the ‘Priority 1’ channel in my RSS reader. About 30 feeds of the 1,200 or so I subscribe to, the ones I will always pay attention to on a daily basis.
But getting the OPML file into Share Your OPML proved to need quite a lot of that perseverance I mentioned.
First, I exported the group of feeds (the channel) from FeedDemon. That created an OPML file. Yet when I tried to upload it to Share Your OPML, I got an error that the file contained no feeds. I looked and it did – all the feeds were there.
So I then opened that OPML file in Dave Winer’s OPML Editor, did a ‘save as…’ and then looked at that file. It had one thing the original didn’t – the
<opml version="1.1"> container as the very first line. Uploading that new file to Share Your OPML worked without error.
Maybe a small niggle given the fact that OPML creating/editing is rather a geeky thing. And the OPML Editor is still a bit of a flaky application in my experience (it upgraded itself to version 0.68 which crashes whenever I exit it).
But if using OPML files as a means of sharing is to take off more broadly, it all must be a lot easier.
[UPDATE 10 May @ 00:28] The situation with FeedDemon exporting OPML files incorrectly isn’t as simple as it might appear. As you’ll see in the comments to this post, I posted about this in the NewsGator FeedDemon support forum. Some investigation by NewsGator’s Jack Brewster indicates that the problem isn’t with FeedDemon.
I found this extremely puzzling. A bit of further experimenting by me indicates that the problem may be with OPML Editor which, when I open an OPML file exported from FeedDemon and save it as a new file, appears to change the code in the file.
I’ve posted to the opml-support mail list about this. Another update to this post likely in due course, I expect.