Sunday, January 15. 2012
Blogrolls are dead.
That's at least what some people say these days. But others still like to see them around. Guess what? They even click the links in them. So, maybe blogrolls are not as dead as they seem to be.
Then, why is it that there don't seem to be many good blogrolls around? With good in a sense of them being up to date, with working links, and obviously being read at least by the blogroll owner. Plain simply because of this:
(The above tweet is in German and protected because someone here doesn't understand Twitter. But that's another story.)
Or to put it more mildly: Blogrolls are edited by hand which they should not be.
Instead, they should come out of your Google Reader. Not showing off all the feeds being in there, mind you. Your fancy for the secret little nasty blog you somehow found and want to keep should stay as private as it is supposed to be. But using a single folder in Reader where a blogroll's feeds go to as the source of displaying the blogroll on your website — that shouldn't be something out of the ordinary.
Why Google Reader? Because it is the last man standing. Rojo: dead. The classic Bloglines: dead. Anything else: either wasn't really alive at all or simply happens to be dead by now as well. And Google Reader is the current go-to-choice when it comes to syncing some feed reading across devices; by means of some app or another.
Where's the problem?
It used to be possible to make folders in Google Reader public. It is not anymore. Public meant, the world could see what feeds you put into the folder. Which is exactly what a blogroll needs. Since Reader's sharing capabilities were shut down a while ago, you can't do that anymore.
So, you end up editing your blogrolling link list by hand. Which you shouldn't do. See above.
And a solution isn't really be that hard to do. Here are some steps for a start:
- Get your hands on the (very unofficial) Google Reader API.
- Connect with a given account.
- Get the folder named blogroll.
- For each feed in the folder: get the feed's blog name and URL, store both.
- Provide a small HTML snippet that can be embeddd in any website (like a blog!) and outputs all stored blog names with their respective links.
Further refinements — like specifying the folder name to allow for multiple blogrolls — may just be imaginable. But the above simple steps shold do the job for a start. Then just update the stored blogroll link list about once a day. Which is not good enough for real time blogroll edits. But guess what? That doesn't matter.
Now, has somebody some time to kill and is up for the challenge to simply do the above? If not, blogrolls may just turn out to be as dead as some people already claim they are.