OPML Search Results for Feed Grazing

Martin Dittus · 2006-07-08 · web services · 2 comments

I just found that StrategicBoard offers their keyword search results in an OPML format that contains feed URLs -- which can be a remarkable tool in a number of situations. Such a service is an essential prerequisite for feed grazing, i.e. subscribing to blogs temporarily while they're writing about stuff that you're interested in.

(Feed grazing typically is part of automated processes, e.g. of simple news recommendation engines or topic exploration algorithms. Some desktop aggregators seem to support it already, unfortunately NetNewsWire isn't one of them.)

Here's the URL for such a search query:


...and the result is an OPML of feed URLs.

Unfortunately the service has a major flaw. When there are no search results for your query, the reply will be an HTML error message:

<br><br><b class="gsr">&nbsp; No relevant posts were found on your_keyword&nbsp;</b>

...which makes it a nuisance for developers that want to consume this OPML feed, and will irritate most OPML parsers. Plus it conflicts with their Content-type header, which sends a value of application/xml. Why they don't simply return an empty list I don't know.

On a semi-related note, I whish the company's crawlers would stop sending a referrer URL with their "Strategic Board Bot" HTTP requests. My logfiles are full with their referrer spam. (Even more irritatingly, some of their requests contain the user agent string as referrer URL.)

Update 2006-07-10 -- Dudu Mimran of StrategicBoard writes in the comments: OPML bug will be fixed, bot referrer URL fixed since yesterday. Nice.

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for the feedback on Strategic Board. I'll fix the flow with the OPML and I'm glad you liked the feature.

As for our bots referrer flag it was a bug that was fixed yesterday.


Dudu Mimran, 2006-07-10 08:26 CET (+0100) Link

Very cool!

Martin Dittus, 2006-07-10 14:05 CET (+0100) Link

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