Sarah Allen has posted what I believe to be the future.
It's a stand alone Laszlo Widget based upon the concept that Jason DeFillippo pioneered with his blogrolling.com service. This time – it's a complete Laszlo Presentation Server 'web-app' – that (in this first simple implementation) renders OPML (otherwise known as a blogroll.)
The idea is that just like banner ads or web services, entire user interface elements can be included in one's Blog template and splattered into the so called blogroll side column. When I first saw blogrolling.com my mind exploded with the possibilities and now Sarah and Laszlo are picking up the ball and running with it. Look for future exciting capabilities and services – all centered around the concept of extending the blogging environment with new and better tools.
New forms of micro-content (like reviews) can easily be assed into blogs and supported by public, OpenReviews servers. Digital Identity systems can flourish. Rich Media apps will finally come into their own – piggy backing on HTML and the blogosphere. Early adopters unite!
Here's Sarah's post where she realizes how elegant OPML is and how XML is making this all possible…….
Also check out THIS post where Sarah goes over how gosh darm simple it was for here to build this widget (try doing THAT with Flash!)
“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-millenium 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. [Marc's Voice]