So, I have been using Dave’s Share Your OPML site for about a week now, and I have to say that the idea is a great one. I have already discovered a bunch of feeds that I never knew existed by browsing the lists of subscriptions of people whom I respect or otherwise have some level of context for from the Web.
Having said that, there are a few things about the site that make it far less useful to me than it would otherwise be. First, it catalogs feeds by their URL, not by the URL of the parent site, at least as far as I can tell. As a result, it tells me that I am not subscribed to feeds that I actually am subscribed to, just not that particular version of the feed. This becomes more troubling as sites get three or four different feeds for different RSS formats.
The second issue is one easily fixed. When looking at people’s subscription lists, the name of the feed/site links to the feed, as it should. However, there is no link in the listing to the actual site. I want this because I don’t want to mess up my subs lists with sites that I won’t want to have in my list. The ability to get to the site in one click makes it far easier for me to tell if I really do want to give a particular feed a try.
I guess the moral of the story with both of these issues is that RSS feeds are a part of a particular Web site. This application fails to close that loop, and treats the feeds just as feeds, as if there weren’t greater context to the posts and information than just a feed. With a couple of adjustments, that feed to Web loop could be closed, and things would make a lot more sense.(to me)
Update: I just noticed that the Top 100 feeds list does link to each individual site rather than the rss file for the site, so, clearly, this is something that Dave could do, perhaps with an icon in each line item, in people’s subscriptions lists.