“Failing to work with XML, is, in some circles, tantamount to being unpatriotic or antisocial.” — JSTL in Action, by Shawn Bayern
XML may never catch up to its turn-of-the-millennium hype, but it is a useful standard. Most internet tools and servers these days will import and export XML data. This means that it is increasingly easier to do a small amount of work and interoperate with lots of other software. Where there exists an XML standard for a particular type of data, you can often solve just one part of a problem and rely on off-the-shelf tools to take care of the rest.
After I wrote the last entry on my OPML viewer, it stuck me that most humans (even most techies) have never heard of OPML. (Thanks to Marc Canter for telling me about it.) I’m not even sure how ubiquitous this format is, but it applied well to the task at hand. As with most XML formats, it has its own website and I could read all about it on opml.org and found interesting sample data and software anecdots with a quick google search. Because blogrolling supports OPML export I had an easy data source. I did need to doctor it up for categories, but it was a great way to get my experimental app working quickly.