Will My Thailand Compendium Survive?
by Ron Chester ★ Saturday, June 3, 2017

Will my Thailand Compendium still survive, when Fargo dies, because of the change at Dropbox? The information in the compendium was compiled as an outline in Fargo and now that outline has been copied into Little Outliner 2. The compendium was always viewed by using Dave Winer's Small Picture Reader software. I'm pretty sure that Dave wrote that this reader will still work once Fargo is killed off by Dropbox. I'm looking for where he said that . . .

Okay, I Found It!

It's in his original announcement about the upcoming timing out of Fargo. Last line: "This change should not affect smallpict.com sites. They should continue to function after the Dropbox API change."

The good thing (and bad thing) about Small Picture Reader is that the URL doesn't change when the OPML file changes. So whenever I would edit my compendium file in Fargo, the same URL in Reader would still read it, with the changes. So my compendium should survive after Fargo times out, even when I make changes in it with Little Outliner 2.

But what if I create a new outline in LO2 and I want people to be able to view it in Reader? Up to now, one would select "View in Reader" in Fargo and then one could save the resulting URL to hand out to others, so they could view it too. But once Fargo is not working, that won't be possible and LO2 does not have a corresponding "View in Reader" command. Then what?? Well the answer may lie with the "Get public link" command in the File menu of LO2. I used that command on my compendium file and when I opened that link in a browser window, I got my Thailand Compendium, looking pretty much like it does in Small Picture Reader! So that should work for any LO2 outline, as long as I don't mind the link being a public link. The only difference I see is that Small Picture Reader provides a button for sending the URL to Twitter, which is not present when using the LO2 public link. No big deal. 

One other detail to tidy up. Above, I wrote, "The good thing (and bad thing) . . ." I explained the good thing, but what is the bad thing?  Well it's a little more complicated than my short-hand of including "(and bad thing)" in that sentence.  When I first discovered this connection between Fargo and Small Picture Reader, I was very excited that it seemed to offer a super easy way to add information to the compendium, but then providing a simple way to publish the new version immediately. But as the father in The Graduate said, "this whole idea sounds pretty half baked." Think about it. I had compiled a ton of information of all kinds about Thailand. But there was only ONE URL for that entire file and for all that information on many different topics! I could not send a URL to someone who might be interested in a subset of all that data that pointed to just that part to say, "Here, look at this." I was going to publish it on the World Wide Web, but without the key brilliance of the web, which was links being used to point to particular parts of all that information.  Half baked, indeed!!