Aquarium Blog

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ideas for extending the usefulness of OPML to web bookmarks and NNTP subscriptions

I had the honor to receive email from Dmitry Jemerov, Omea's Project Leader at JetBrains today, regarding a piece of feedback I sent yesterday. My original message contained a feature requests and a suggestion. First I was asking if importing Outlook Express Newsgroups subscriptions would be possible in future Omea Reader versions. The suggestion was about including NNTP type subscriptions in OPML files.

In case you don't know the product here is a description from the product's page:

Omea Reader is an easy to use, all-in-one RSS/ATOM feed reader, newsgroup reader, and web bookmark manager. But what really makes it unique is the level of information organization and management features including lightning-fast searches, flexible filing, contextual access, and extensibility.

Omea Pro, still under development, goes even further:

Omea is an extremely powerful yet simple to use Integrated Information Environment. With Omea, you can access, organize, and quickly search all your digital resources, including e-mails, syndicated Web feeds, instant messaging conversations, newsgroup articles, favorite web sites, personal contacts, and even locally stored files (.doc, .pdf, .txt, etc.), all in one easy to use composite interface that's well organized and efficient to navigate.

Thinking a little bit more about my feedback, I think my suggestion of putting NNTP links inside OPML is the most interesting part. So I developed it a little bit more. I will include a slightly edited version of the email I sent to Dmitry as a reply today:

Hello Dmitry,

It is great to receive your answer! The news about OE newsgroups importing are great, even if you cannot make promises.

About putting newsgroup items in OPML, one possible gain I can think of is that OPML would then become Omea's standard format for exchange and backup of all kind of resources (needless to say, you can do exactly the same with your web favorites).

Users could then use OPML files to exchange, backup and restore their complete subscription sets, without going through three separated processes: copying an OPML file for feeds, manually recreating newsgroups servers and subscriptions, and finally copying their browser favorite's folder.

I see how Internet Explorer, Firefox and other browsers deal today with exchanging bookmark information, and it is clear that aggregators are doing by far a better job with OPML. I have changed the aggregator I use many times in the last months and I have had no problems (almost no problems, BlogLines OPML import feature really gave me problems!).

I finally settled with Omea Reader not only because it is fast, friendly and free, but because I believe it is very promising. I see a lot of convergence coming very soon in the area of browsers, feed readers, email, global, and local search engines (call it personal information management, or whatever you want) and Omea seems to be extremely well positioned with its resource plug-ins architecture.

Another gain: If nobody else is doing it, then you can be the one that kicks the ball first. Later, when other aggregators, newsgroups readers and even browsers are ready, they can catch up with your use of OPML.

Once again, thanks for listening.

Diego

Off course, the problem with this is that if the idea is good, I cannot be the first to rise it. I just don't want to do the search, because I am sure I will find the answer in the first results page.

UPDATED 12/16/2004: I want to make clear that it is not Omea’s feature of importing BlogLines subscriptions what sucks. I was talking about BlogLines’s own feature of importing OPML files. Everytime I try, it hoses the groups I have defined.

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