Sharing feeds with OPML & Grazr

After tidying up my Newsgator RSS feeds I decided to reveal all here in this blog’s sidebar. Until now, I have been showing a subset of my feeds, but this meant editing the OPML file and hosting it on one of my servers. Any removals or additions from Newsgator had to be re-done by hand in this partial mirror.

Now, any change to my Newsgator subscription list is immediately reflected here in the ‘Stuff What I watch’ sidebar viewer which is presented courtesy of the most excellent Grazr.

Now, using the sidebar Grazr panel (or, better, by clicking on the top right icon to open a new Grazr window, then the second-right icon, to choose the three-pane view) I can quickly scan the latest contributions from my various feeds. It’s an astonishingly good way of seeing what’s going on.

To summarise, here’s what’s happening:

Newsgator – my RSS aggregator – offers me a URL for an OPML file of my feeds

The Grazr panel in my sidebar points to this OPML file

By clicking on a feed, you get a list of titles

By clicking on a title, you view its body

By clicking on the body title, you visit its URL

Or, you can do all of this at the same time in a larger window by opening a separate Grazr window and choosing the three-pane view. This shows the list on the left, the feed titles top right and the body of the current title bottom right.

Any aggregator which either exports an OPML list or provides a public OPML URL for your subscriptions can be used to share your feeds in this way.

You can also hand-craft your own OPML list using something like OPML Editor. Or, if you’re really brave, a text editor. OPML is, after all, only a specific type of XML file which is, in turn, plain text.

[By the way, you’ll notice a folder at the foot of my list called xxx Xtras. It contains my private feeds. The contents are probably not of great interest to anyone else but, without some
jiggery-pokery, I couldn’t suppress them from the OPML feed. The
Socialtext wiki feeds require authorisation to get at –  they’ll
deliver nothing if you click on them. Just thought I should let you know why this folder is present.]

Welcome back Grazr

Welcome back to Grazr. That’s the dinky display panel about me in the left sidebar. (Needs JavaScript on, otherwise you just see a Grazr logo. It contains much of the same information as the About link further up the sidebar.)

The content was created in BrainStorm (a 25-year hobby) and passed through OPML Editor (with some tiny custom tweaks) to create an OPML file which Grazr can display. (My other tweak converts an OPML file into a tabbed outline which can be imported by many programs, including BrainStorm.)