Today's news about the OPML Editor

Uncle Fluff has been a busy beaver programming his buns off, at all kinds of weird hours, in hotels, on airplanes, no spare time is too sacred to not be filled with client and server programming, all in the cause of outlining, OPML, and the American Way (or at least Louie, Louie). Please forgive me, this paragraph will probably be deleted. But I am excited about this feature, it's been a long time coming.

Finally, here is a blogging tool that does not have a browser-based interface. It runs from a folder structure of OPML files that live in your www folder, and are uploaded as you modify them. There's a dynamic server app running at, that renders the OPML files in the familiar weblog form. Of course since all the data is stored in folders and OPML files, this is "small pieces, loosely joined" -- client side tools and server side environments can replace my parts, with only one or two XML-RPC calls to exchange preferences data that are too small to fit in an outline.

An example site

You can see a sample site here, containing the content from Scripting News for June 2005.


Now seems like a good time to say this. I'm thinking about how I want to do hosting, or if I want to do hosting. Use this tool as a way to experiment with the blogging feature, but don't count on this being the permanent home for a weblog. All this software and the server are here to support development, not as a guarantee of any kind that the server will remain operating, or that the URLs will keep working.


The features of the weblog include:

1. Home page, header graphic.

2. RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures (podcasting support).

3. Archive, permalinks, calendar.

4. Blog name, copyright noitce or license, blogroll.

5. Not completed yet: Template, author biography.

6. ???

How to use it

There's a new sub-menu of the Community menu called Your OPML Weblog. The first command in the menu open's today's outline. You then enter blog posts, one per line. To create a mega-post (a multi-paragraph post with a single permalink) indent one level. When you save the outline it is uploaded to the server. You can then view it on, as follows. Suppose your hosting sub-domain is "umberto," meaning your files are stored at Then your blog is at It's pretty easy to remember, I hope.

Want to see how it works?

That's what the Open Blog Folder is for. At first the folder structure is pretty simple, but as you use the other commands, you'll see an RSS feed show up, and a "decorations" sub-folder.

Your blogroll

Choose the Open blogroll command in the Your OPML Weblog sub-menu of the Community menu. An outline opens with some suggestions for sites for your blogroll. You can edit it as you would any outline. The blogroll is a two-level outline, the top level are section titles, and the second level are links to sites. To set a link, right click on the headline, choose Add Link, and enter the URL of the site you want to point to.

Header graphic

Your header graphic can be either a gif or jpeg, and its file extension must be .jpeg, .jpg or .gif. When you choose the header graphic it's copied to the decorations sub-folder of the blog folder, and uploaded.

Blog name/copyright

This command brings up a dialog that asks for the name of your weblog (it's displayed in the window title when the user browses, and the copyright notice, which currently is not displayed (but it will be). It can be any text you like.

Building your RSS 2.0 feed

If you look in the button bar of the blog editing window, the second button says Build RSS. Instead of making RSS building automatic, I like having control of when the RSS is built, that way I can edit a bit before hitting the button, before it starts showing up in people's aggregators. I thought maybe you'd like the feature too. ;->

What's not there yet

The biography feature is coded but not turned on because I haven't figured out yet how I want to display it on the weblog. There will be a template feature, of course, but right now you have to accept my dorky view of how a weblog should be arranged. It's something that has to be done slowly and carefully, because we'll be living with the design basically forever. I don't have time right now to do it slowly and carefully.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 6/23/05; 11:32:49 AM - --