1. RSS Technology
  2. Understanding OPML
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Active Web Reader 2.49

Understanding OPML

In the last few years, RSS has virtually exploded on to the scene, going from a technology primarily used by bloggers to a widely-used tool for distributing any content that changes often.  This rapid growth has meant that there are millions of RSS feeds available in cyberspace.  Because there are now so many feeds out there, a standard way to create and share feed lists is now vital to give users better accessibility, organization and ease of use.

OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is the solution.  OPML is used for many types of outline and list.  It is most often used to exchange lists of RSS feeds between different feed aggregators like the Active Web Reader.  OPML is a file format (using XML), not a communications protocol.  Because it is an open format, multiple vendors, service providers and websites use OPML to list RSS feeds.

OPML and Active Web Reader

Active Web Reader allows you to import and export OPML files.  This means that you don’t have to add each feed individually.  You can simply import an OPML file containing your list of RSS feeds, saving both time and effort.  This is especially useful when you want the same feeds to be present on multiple computers.

Importing feeds using an OPML file

To import OPML files, use the Active Web Reader Import / Export Wizard:
  1. On the File menu, click Import/Export.
  2. Click on Next on the Import/Export Wizard Welcome screen. Active Web Reader - Import/Export Wizard
  3. Select the option, ‘Import Feeds’.  Click Next.
  4. If the OPML file is present locally, then select ‘Import from a local file’.  If you want to import a file from the Internet, select ‘Import from an OPML file present on the web’.  Click Next.
  5. The feeds in the OPML file will be listed in the Import/ Export Wizard, as shown in the following figure: Active Web Reader - Import feeds selection screen
    Select the checkboxes for those feeds you want added to Active Web Reader.  When  you are finished, click Next.
  6. Specify the folder of Active Web Reader, where you want to add these feeds and then click Next.
  7. Click Finish to import the feeds.

Creating an OPML file

You an export a list of RSS feeds from Active Web Reader.  This OPML file can be be imported by other RSS readers (including other copies of Active Web Reader).

To export RSS feeds:

  1. On the File menu, click Import/Export.
  2. Click Next on the Import/Export Wizard Welcome Screen.
  3. Select Export feeds and then click Next.
  4. A list of all the RSS feeds in Active Web Reader will be displayed.  Select the feeds that you want to add to export, then click Next.
  5. Specify the name of the new OPML file.  You can also replace the contents of an existing file by specifying the existing file name and path.  Click Next when you are done.
  6. Click Finish to export the feeds.
OPML allows you to better organize your feeds.  You can create backups of your feed lists by creating OPML files, or share your list with friends (or on your own blog).  When browsing, check whether the web site has an OPML file available for import, so you don’t have to add each feed manually.

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