My old friend Dave Winer is taking a new tact in evangelizing his latest invention--driving cross country on a barnstorming tour. The fourth stop of his OPML Roadshow was in Berkeley, CA last night, and a crowd of about 50 people listened as Dave demonstrated his OPML Editor. He is following up the work he did in spawning RSS, creating a simple but powerful application for exchanging outline/structured information.
The OPML editor is an application designed to allow you to write and edit outlines that use OPML (Outliner Processing Markup Language). The tool can publish these outlines as an "OPML blog," make standalone OPML outlines. OPML outlines have also been used to allow many people to collaborate on lightweight, distributed directories, such as the iPodder.org directory of podcasts. [from the OPML Editor User's Manual]
I wrote about a similar presentation Dave gave at Gnomedex in June. There is something about the simplicity and structure of outlines. It must be deeply embedded somewhere is the brain or DNA, as a way to keep the wheels from falling off...
Dave said his first attempt to evangelize the outliner technology was during his time at the Harvard (and at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society), but the college professors weren't too interested in hearing about how they could make their work accessible on the Internet with a powerful, open source outline editor. Wrong college, wrong time. So he took to the road...
At the Berkeley Roadshow, Dave called his OPML Editor the "next thing the Internet should do." Dave wasn't exactly tooting his own horn. He said that he isn't concerned about the business models (he says he has plenty of money)--he wants to find people who "think big" and want to change the world. For example, he envisions OPML as a foundation for creating directories. "Imagine the kind of crawler that you could build. The issue is how to get enough structures [outlines] built out...Directories like Yahoo should use it. There shouldn't be one home page or directory for the Web."
Other coverage of the Berkeley Roadshow:
Dave Winer’s Purple Cow - the OPML Editor--Mike Arrington
OPML Roadshow & My Ideas--Jared Hanson
Dave Winer's OPML roadshow, live from Bezerkley--Tim Bishop