Thursday, March 12, 2009

Math Blogroll in OPML

I don't spend a lot of time visiting the actual pages for many of the blogs I follow, since I get all (or at least, most, and the main portion) of the content from their rss/atom feeds. Recently though, one of the feeds I had indicated that the author was quitting. For whatever reason (perhaps because it mentioned having the world's best math blogroll), I was inspired to visit the actual page, instead of just removing the feed from my list (or doing nothing).

The feed was from Vlorbik on Math Ed. Upon visiting the page, I found that Vlorbik kept a pretty substantial blogroll of math blogs. Liking to be in the know, I figured I might subscribe to some. Of course, I already probably do subscribe to some (and author some :)), but there are surely plenty there that I don't subscribe to. And perhaps some of them are ones I would like to follow. But I didn't want to click each link, load each page, find it's feed, and add it to Google Reader. I'm pretty lazy, and my computer would slow down a bit and frustrate me.

This evening, though, I decided to see if I could write a script to grab the rss/atom feeds for any or all of the linked pages in the blogroll. I had a great time doing so. Remembering some fun pattern matching variables in perl(like \$' and \$& (the \ there only because of how I'm doing LaTeX in Blogger)), and using curl to grab the pages... good times. Then some reformatting of appropriate strings, and out pops an OPML file. Handy, because that's what Google Reader expects if you want to import a bunch of feeds. I've played with similar things before.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I thought perhaps other people might find this OPML file helpful. Blogger won't let me upload anything besides pictures (where's my damn GDrive?), so the file is currently (as of this writing) on my UVA personal page, here. If you'd like to blindly add these feeds to your feed reader, and then trim them down individually based on content or whatever, I encourage you to do so. The only reader I've used is Google's, so I'll give some instructions for that.

The first step is to download my OPML file, and save it somewhere convenient (you only need it temporarily on your computer). In Reader, at the bottom of the left-hand pane is the 'Manage Subscriptions' link. Click on that, and then the 'Import/Export' link at the top of the settings page that pops up. In the file upload form where it says 'Select an OPML file to upload', pick the file out from wherever you saved it, and then click 'Upload'. Wait patiently as Google imports the new feeds (it really doesn't take that long, though it might take longer for news items to start flowing in). It'll send you back to the main settings page, so click 'Back to Google Reader' to start reading. You'll notice that the feeds all show up in a folder in your subscriptions panel, called 'vlorbik' (if you already have such a folder, you might modify my OPML file before upload... I should have told you that earlier). If you already subscribed to one of the feeds, it won't mess anything up, and they won't show up as duplicates in your news stream. Of course, when making this file I grabbed the atom files, where available, so if you are subscribed to the rss feed (as I am, in many cases), then you will have duplicates. But whatever, I'll let you sort out your own subscription list.

So, with this success, I feel like perhaps I should visit actual pages (instead of just watching the news stream go by in reader) more often. Perhaps find some other blogrolls?

Anyway, enjoy. Sorry, Vlorbik, that I only started getting to know you on your way out.


vlorbik said...

thanks for the attention. this looks like a great idea; looks like you know how to do it right. i'm a new *user* of feeds... more or less by accident... so there was no chance of *me* ever doing it.

here's hoping you've done a service to the community. you've certainly brightened up one blogger's day.

sumidiot said...

Thanks! Glad to hear it brightened your day.

vlorbik said...

i just keep talking about it.

sumidiot said...

And I just keep thinking about how I should have done more for it, and still should. Like pulling feedburner links out of pages, and adding feeds that I follow that weren't in your list. Perhaps a version 2 will be coming out sometime...

vlorbik said...

i'll be watching. but don't even know
what "feedburner" means as of now...

"blogger"... i.e. google... sets up
"following" and whatnot to where
you can read blogger blogs in a feeder (?)
without knowing anything about
what's going on.

i'm not sure how unlikely it is yet
that i'll just stumble across the trick
for the others... haven't even tried
setting up google properly...

anyhow, thanks again for making this info public.

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