[GEEK] Unified name space for aggregator extensions for OPML?


There's been a lot of discussion (follow these links for more links) of late about how to extend OPML, including what I wrote about some common aggregation related OPML attributes. From reading the discussions and thinking about it, I am thinking that a course correction might be better. Much of the discussion has been about an Attention namespace for OPML. I totally  support this and will participate in that discussion.


Yet there are clearly some information that many aggregators need to store with the OPML, which is not part of the core OPML standard, and also not really connected to Attention.


Faced with this question an aggregator developer can do one of several things:


  • They can just create a product specific namespace (e.g. blogbridge: xxx)

  • Or they can just include regular non namespace attributes in their OPML (which will in turn cause either the validator or other aggregators to choke.)


What if instead we try to define a general set of aggregator related extensions (are:xxx) to OPML? We could do an informal canvas and try to figure out a small set of really obvious attributes to put into this ARE name space.


To start you thinking about this, here is a collection of attributes derived from what BlogBridge and FeedDemon each store in their OPML. I've identified two sets of attributes:


The following have to do with bookkeeping and the operation of the aggregator:


  • are:autoPurgeMaxitems - number of items that should be stored locally

  • are:autoUpdateFrequency - how often  this feed polled

  • are:numUnread - number of items currently unread

  • are:numFlagged - number of items currently flagged

  • are:numVisits - How often a user has visited this feed

  • are:firstPostDate - Date of the first post


And the following have to do with local user overrides of information that can also be specified in RSS.


  • are:userRating - user supplied rating of how 'good' this feed is

  • are:userTitle - user supplied override to the title or name of this feed

  • are:userCreator - user supplied override to the creator of this feed

  • are:userDescription - user supplied override to the description of this feed


I'm sure these are already too many. My top level question to those of us responsible for OPML import and export within Aggregators of all kinds, what do you think? Shall we try to do this? Is it a good idea? Or shall we all just create our little parochial namespaces with different words for the same thing?


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Posted on November 29, 2005 and filed under BlogBridge, Technology.