As I mentioned I started working with XBEL as a way to manage my Web feeds. It occurred to me that I should consider XOXO for this purpose, since it hsa more traditionally been put up in opposition to OPML.
Well, I don't get it. Sure, it's simple XHTML with some conventions for overlaid semantics, but how does that do anything for interoperability of Webfeed subscription lists? I've taken a look at attention.xml, and that seems more thoroughly specified, but it's way overkill for my needs.
Look, all I need to do is represent a categorized structure of feeds items with the following information per item:
- Web feed URL (e.g. RSS or Atom link)
- optional description or notes
- optional Web site URL (e.g. Link to HTML or XHTML page for Weblog)
The trouble with OPML is that there are dozens of ways to encode these four bits of information, and as I've found, tools pretty much range all across that dozen. Besides, OPML is really poor XML design. That's a practical and not just aesthetic concern, because I expect to manage this information partly by hand.
XBEL is much better markup design, but I don't know that it has a natural way to represent the distinction between feed and content URL for the same item ("bookmark").
Everything I heard about XOXO led me to believe that this is a slam dunk, but hardly. The XOXO "spec" is not all that illuminating, and from what I can gather there or elsewhere, there are also a dozen ways I could encode the above information. Perhaps:
Perhaps (so that the likely HTML rendering is not jumbled):
But since Weblog contents could be XML, is it really safe to use media type as the distinguishing mark between Web site and Web feed links? OK, so perhaps:
But now I've invented a relationship vocabulary (I guess this is
technically my own microformat) and why would I expect another XOXO tool
I could go on with possible variations. I do like the way that I can simply refer to the XHTML Hypertext Attributes Module to get some general ideas about semantics, but that's not really good enough because I have a fairly specific need.
I imagine someone will say that XOXO is just a general outlining format, and can't specify such things because it's all about being micro. But in that case why do people put XOXO itself as a solution for Webfeed corpus exchange? I can't see how XOXO can do the job without overlaying yet another microformat on it. And if we need to stack microformat on microformat to address such a simple need, what's wrong with good old macroformats: you know: a real, specialized XML format.
I've really only spent an hour or two exploring XOXO (although according to the microformats hype I shouldn't expect to need more time than that), so maybe I'm missing something. If so, I'd be grateful for any enlightening comments.