Saturday, June 04, 2005

A Small Bloglines Victory

After half a month of periodic putzing, I have finally figured out the correct way to export someone's shared subscriptions from Bloglines and import them into my desktop RSS reader.

The quest began when I wanted to grab Will Richard's Blogline of Edublog subscriptions. I was having fun exploring them through Will's shared Blogline, but since it wasn't my Blogline, I couldn't easily tell what I had and had not read.

The first problem arose when I clicked the Export Subscriptions at the end of the list of blogs. A bunch of source code appeared in the right frame on the screen. It was impressive to look at, and with my limited HTML coding background I could read it, see the subscription in the code, but I couldn't get it into my RSS reader.

I eventually figured I needed to use my browser's Save Page command to grab the file. However, I couldn't tell which file format to use, Web Page Complete, Web Page HTML file only, or text file. It began to feel like those tedious permutations problems from high school. "If there are three possible saving formats and four possible suffixes to end them with, how many different files is it possible to save? Will any of them actually be readable by NetNewsWire Lite?"

I tried lots of combinations of save options and suffixes, but never managed to find one that didn't produce a parse error having to do with the XML flat file. Go figure.

Today I finally got it right. I discovered that you save the subscriptions as Web Page Complete. That downloads a folder containing the following three objects:
  • public_display.xml
  • a folder titled public_subs_data
  • public_subs.html
Next from inside my RSS reader, I imported the public_display.xml file. That did the trick. However, I was surprised to discover that not all of the blogs listed on Will's Blogline were in the list of imported subscriptions. A bit of list comparing lead me to understand that the RSS reader was smart enough to not re-import blogs to which I already subscribed. Very handy.

Soon I'll be switching from my school laptop to a laptop generously loaned to me by a friend until I can get back to the US and buy a computer of my own. I appreciate how easy it is to export my RSS subscriptions from NetNewsWire and import them onto a different machine. Now that I have this blog-reading habit, I don't want to go without my daily blogfix.