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Grazr and Bloglines

November 17, 2006

I've read numerous posts where people lament the fact they can't keep their Bloglines subscriptions and their published Grazrs in sync. This is a common misconception because of the way most aggregators treat "Importing and Exporting" of feed lists. Turns out you can keep them in sync, it's just not obvious from the Bloglines interface how to do it.

Bloglines and Grazr work really well together because Bloglines does actually publish your reading list of feeds as an accessible dynamic web resource. As you update your subscriptions in Bloglines, they will be immediately reflected anywhere you've published a Grazr with that resource.

I'm going to assume you've already signed up for bloglines and have some feeds you regularly read.

Instructions on using your Bloglines reading list with Grazr.

  1. The first step is to log into your bloglines account
  2. The next step is to check to see if you have a username attached to your account. Bloglines allows you to sign up without giving a username so it's quite possible you don't have one. To setup your username, click "Account" in the upper right, and then "Blog Settings", enter a username, and lastly click "Yes, publish my blogroll". blog_username.png
    .
  3. Now to address your opml from any other tool, use http://www.bloglines.com/export?id=USERNAME where USERNAME is the name you added to the box above. I went to the grazr configuration page and used these steps to create a grazr from a bloglines account I setup with the username "mikegrazr".

URL:http://www.bloglines.com/export?id=mikegrazr

!! Now a warning about this approach. Once you've enabled sharing, Bloglines will allow anyone to read your reading list by going to http://www.bloglines.com/public/USERNAME. If you have sensitive feeds you may not wish to use this technique. !!

Bonus

There's another nice feature of blogline's opml publishing that you can use with grazr. This feature isn't well documented but hacking on URL's I stumbled across it. If you've organized your feeds by "folder" and wish to publish only a specific subset of your reading list to Grazr, you can use the following URL.

http://www.bloglines.com/export?id=USERNAME&folder=FOLDERNAME

Obviously USERNAME is the same username as above, and FOLDERNAME is the name you've given to the folders in Bloglines for feed organization.

You could use this to publish different Grazrs with different contents using your same reading list but based on your reading list organization. Here's a Grazr published with the feeds in my "Venture Capitalist Blogs" folder. (Remember in the URL you have to replace spaces with %20).

URL:http://www.bloglines.com/export?id=mikegrazr&folder=Venture%20Capitalist%20Blogs

If you wanted to split out "published" feeds from your normal reading list, this could be a good way to do it by organizing them all under a "published" folder. Alternatively, If you maintain multiple blogs, you could also organize your published feeds by blog or site, there are a lot of possibilities!