At the Forge - Bloglines Web Services, Continued

Although some Web community sites get evil and lock in the users, Bloglines takes an open approach and lets you point your own scripts at its Web services API. Drop in and catch up with your favorite blogs.

To be honest, I am an enthusiastic Bloglines user without being sure exactly where the site and company are headed. I cannot imagine that it will continue to be free of charge and of any advertising indefinitely, unless its investors are highly charitable or extremely naive. I enjoy its fine interface, the fact that I easily can access the Weblogs on which I have depended for political insight—or screaming, depending on how you interpret such punditry—and its speedy, robust functionality.

But as Amazon, eBay and Google have demonstrated over the last few years, providing a Web services interface to your core data opens the door to many new creative applications that a company's internal developers never think to create. Bloglines is only beginning to expose its functionality with Web services, and although it has taken only an initial and tentative step in this direction, what I have seen appears to be promising. I look forward to seeing applications that will be built on top of this API, as well as the additional APIs that Bloglines and its competitors will offer in an attempt to make Bloglines the central site for Weblogs, readers and developers alike.

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Reuven M. Lerner, a longtime Web/database consultant and developer, now is a graduate student in the Learning Sciences program at Northwestern University. His Weblog is at, and you can reach him at