Explaining APML to Suda

APML icons

It started at BarCampBerlin2. Brian Suda asked me if I knew much about APML and could I explain why I thought it was of interest to myself and others. And ended up with Brian creating an excellent XSL to generate microformat complete tag clouds and lots more.

Along the way, Brian created some excellent little icons for APML and suggested a load of clever things he felt APML could be used for outside of the use cases the APML group have pulled together already. I did ask Brian at the time if it was ok to record his thoughts for a blog entry later and he agreed so he's some of things he mentioned.

  • APML could be useful for recommendations inside of Bloglines and Google reader but even better for something like Google News.
  • APML could be useful for checking for new groups when you newly sign up to Flickr, Facebook, etc. So it could be used as a means of discovery
  • APML could be used as a personal page rank. So when you search google it would take into account your perferences of APML
  • In ways to help gnerate the information for APML, Brian thought some global/desktop widget which you could click when you find something interesting. I was thinking it could be like a thing you drag web pages into. We also thought it could be a simple Firefox extension too. Brian also thought you could use ambient non-user time technology like etherpeek to grab data from unencrypted network traffic. This seemed perfect for the explicit section of APML.

Brian and me also talked about APML lite. Brian seem to think it would be possible to generate APML lite using just Microformats (hCard + hReview). I'm not so sure this would work but Brian promises to create a few examples soon. I'm still keen to do APML lite in RDF/A. Ether way, it APML is getting more accpeted everyday and its role in data protability will be a big one. Look out for more APML use cases soon.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.