This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

OPML, Meet Douglas Engelbart

I haven't talked much about it, but Hyperscope uses OPML 2.0 as its native file format. We chose OPML 2.0 because it is a naturally hierarchical file format, and it also defines a clear extension mechanism for OPML, which is XML namespaces.

A great thing is that the original OPML spec actually references Douglas Engelbart in its text as the originator of outlining tools. It's really cool that our implementation of Engelbart's original ideas in Hyperscope is using OPML. It feels like a natural historical completion. Dave Winer would be proud.

We lightly sprinkle in some of our own custom attributes to support some extra addressing types that OPML doesn't natively support, such as unique node identifiers that never change, even if the node moves around. We work with normal OPML files though. I'll report more on our HyperScope namespaced attributes later this month, where I will document them fully for others to use as we launch.

It's just great to see OPML blessed by the fruits of so many great minds. And docs, on top of that. Cheers!
Great to hear of progress in Engelbart's work.

It's a minor point (I believe the data model is likely to be significantly more important that the format), but I must however confess to being at a loss why you chose OPML, a quasi-proprietary format with broken content model instead of XHTML, which can do all the same stuff and is also widely deployed.

The reference in the OPML spec is a little disingenuous. Dave Winer has in the past claimed to have invented the outliner [1]. (He didn't invent RSS either, a popular misconception he doesn't exactly discourage). Beware of false prophets.

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