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You are here: System » HeadlinesPlugin

Headlines Plugin


This plugin displays RSS and ATOM feeds from news sites. Use it to build news portals that show headline news.

Note: Syndic8.com ( http://www.syndic8.com/ ) is a good site listing many RSS feeds.

Syntax Rules


Parameter Explanation Default
"..." source of RSS feed; this can be an url (starting with http) or a web.topic location for internal feeds None; is required
href="..." (Alternative to above) N/A
refresh="60" Refresh rate in minutes for caching feed; "0" for no caching Global REFRESH setting
limit="12" Maximum number of items shown Global LIMIT setting
header Header. Can include these variables: - $channeltitle, $title: title of channel (channel.title)
- $channellink, $link: link of channel (channel.link)
- $channeldescription, $description: description (channel.description)
- $channeldate, $date: publication date of the channel (channel.pubDate)
- $rights: copyrights of the channel (channel.copyright)
- $imagetitle: title text for site (image.title)
- $imagelink: link for site (image.link)
- $imageurl: URL of image (image.url)
- $imagedescription: description of image (image.description)
Global HEADER setting
format Format of one item. Can include these variables:
- $title: news item title (item.title)
- $link: news item link (item.link)
- $description: news item description (item.description)
- $date: the publication date (item.pubDate, item.date)
- $category: the article category (item.category)
Global FORMAT setting

The header and format parameters might also use variables rendering the dc, image and content namespace information. Note, that only bits of interest have been implemented so far and those namespaces might not be implemented fully yet.

Rendering the dc namespace

The following variables are extracting the dc namespace info, that could be used in header and format. Nnote, that some of the variables are already used above. This is done by purpose to use different feeds with the same formating parameters. If there's a conflict the non-dc tags have higher precedence, i.e. a <title> content </title> is prefered over <dc:title> content </dc:title> .

  • $title: channel/article title (dc:title)
  • $creator: channel creator (dc:creator)
  • $subject: subject text; this will also add an image according to the subject hash list, see above (dc:subject)
  • $description: ... (dc:description)
  • $publisher: the channel/article publisher (dc:publisher)
  • $contributor: ... (dc:contributor)
  • $date: ... (dc:date)
  • $type: ... (dc:type)
  • $format: ... (dc:format)
  • $identifier: ... (dc:identifier)
  • $source: ... (dc:source)
  • $language: ... (dc:language)
  • $relation: ... (dc:relation)
  • $coverage: ... (dc: coverage)
  • $rights: ... (dc: rights)

Rendering the image namespace

An image:item is converted into an <img> tag using the following mappings:

  • src: image url (rdf:about attribute of the image.item tag)
  • alt: image title (title)
  • width: image width (image:width)
  • height: image height image:height)

Rendering the content namespace

The variable $content is refering to the <content:encoding> content </content:encoding>.


Slashdot News


%HEADLINES{"http://slashdot.org/slashdot.rdf" header="---+!! [[$link][$title]]$n $description" format="$t* [[$link][$title]]"}%
to get the latest Slashdot news as a bullet list format:

Business Opportunities Weblog


%HEADLINES{"http://www.business-opportunities.biz/feed" limit="3"}%

to get the latest postings on the "Business Opportunities" weblog:

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 03:23:55 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:06:58 +0000 Dane Carlson

In 2012, Affordable Homes of South Texas (AHSTI) director, Bobby Calvillo, knew his organization didn’t have the funds to build enough homes each year to meet the needs of South Texas based low-income families. AHTSI relies mostly on federal grants to fund their house building projects, but Mr. Calvillo knew to meet the increasing demand for new homes in South Texas, AHSTI would have to develop a long term plan for creating new revenue streams.

So, Bobby got creative and convinced his board of directors to build a Blimpie franchise restaurant in Weslaco, TX in order to establish a predictable and valuable revenue stream. Now in their second year, the franchise is thriving because Weslaco citizens love the food and realize the community benefits in supporting AHSTI’s mission.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Bobby some questions about this great social partnership between the private sector and the non-profit.

My questions are below in bold. Enjoy!

Where’d the idea to for your non-profit to buy a Blimpie franchise come from?

The non-profit owns a building in downtown Weslaco Texas that houses a branch of the non-profit. The building had additional office space that was being leased out to other business tenants. Unfortunately, business did not go well for them and they soon closed their operations and we were left with empty office space. As we were looking for other potential tenants in the downtown area we noticed that there were groups of students that were exiting a building and they were talking about where to go for lunch and for something that would be quick since they had to get back to class. In the downtown area, there are not many healthy food options for students. We asked these students what they thought about having something like a sub shop across the street from them. They loved the idea. We also talked to retail businesses downtown as well and they supported the idea as well.

How did you bring it to life?

It took us almost a year from concept to opening our store. It took that long because of the research and projections we did. After that hurdle, we then had to convince our non-profit volunteer board of the directors that the idea perhaps wasn't as crazy as it appeared. After that challenge, we then had to negotiate with Blimpie corporate on the agreements and the various requirements (because our franchise is ultimately owned by a non- profit organization).

Where do you see your Blimpie in five years?

Given that Blimpie is brand new to the community and relatively new to the region, we see our sales stabilizing with a good volume of catering and lots of walk in traffic.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Because of our inexperience in running a restaurant, some of our projections, particularly on the expense side were unexpectedly high. We probably should have been more conservative in our estimates up front so as not to be 'disappointed' that we weren't profitable right out of the gate in the first couple of months.

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day is spread between various activities between the nonprofit housing organization and our social enterprise (aka Blimpie Weslaco). As it relates to our Blimpie activity, I generally spend the morning reviewing the Blimpie sales report from the previous day and comparing it to the day, week and month prior and looking for trends. I check in periodically throughout the day checking in with the Blimpie manager and viewing the security cameras frequently throughout the day checking for customer flow. I also coordinate with our various organizational departments (Accounting, IT, Marketing, etc..) to see what issues they are facing or opportunities that may exist.

What is one trend that really excites you?

I think we are starting to see the community of Weslaco accept our store as one of their own. In the beginning we had people walk in to our store and say ''Blimpie? What is this place ? - what do you sell ?''. Now they know we sell fresh subs, salads and soups and that this particular store is owned by a non- profit. Many folks indicated to us they come to our store specifically because we are community minded.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

In High School I worked part time at a grocery store. I did everything from stocking shelves, to bagging groceries and sweeping the parking lot. That was hard work. I finally learned what my parents kept telling me&hellip Hard work isn't hard if you love what you are doing. I love my job&hellip.both of them ?

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do, too?

I try to keep fresh in my head how blessed I am. We work everyday on the housing side with families striving to improve their socio-economic condition. We see the struggles and sacrifices they make every day. We also try to respect our clients on the housing and Blimpie side. If we treat them with respect and provide a quality product at a good price, they will be loyal to us and tell their friends and family. In the end, no amount of advertising dollar could replace that recommendation.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

A few years ago, I tried to convince my volunteer board of directors to partner with a small local credit union and provide free rent space in our main office building so that our customers and employees could open accounts and get small consumer loans here instead of going to a higher priced finance company or alternative lender. After much debate, the board finally approved it. Almost two years later the credit union was closed by the credit union administration and the branch closed. It hit me hard because of the effort involved in getting the idea launched, but based on the feedback from some of the customers, we will continue to look for another partner that has the financial strength and products that would serve our constituents.

What is one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?

I don't have a particular business in mind however, in general the concept that I would suggest is to start an enterprise in which you can use existing resources to provide a community benefit or service and perhaps generate revenue.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

The war on poverty has been ongoing for decades&hellip wouldn't it be wonderful if poverty &hellip true poverty, were a thing of the past?

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

I continue to be amazed at the various smart phone apps and the way at which it makes our lives so much easier. I can't think of three because it seems as just when I think I've seen the coolest one, I find another one.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Real Men Pray the Rosary by David N. Calvillo.

In this little book, the author (my older brother), shares his personal story of how he discovered the power of the Rosary, his research on the history of the Rosary and a practical guide to incorporate this powerful prayer into our everyday lives.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Virtually every day someone or something happens at work that causes a loud laugh. Having fun at work makes the day go so much faster and creates a sense of family that makes coming to work that much better.

Who is your hero?

It sounds cliché but my parents.

My mother tried to teach us to so much about our faith, our family and the importance of each in our daily lives. I think she was successful in both - it just took us stubborn rebel kids several years to realize this. Mom was the essence of love.

My Dad taught us that hard work is something to be proud of but not to make it the center of our lives. My Dad also showed us what the Sacrament of Marriage is all about. Too often, married couples ''throw in the towel'' when things get tough. My Dad taught us by example what ''till death do us part'' really means. He became my Mother's primary caregiver and never once complained about that role. He was beside her every step of the way until her eventual death.

Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?

My professional mentors were the last three Bank Presidents I worked under in the 1980's and 1990's. Amazing talents, family centered with tons of compassion for the people that worked for them.

Is there a where people can find out more this worthwhile endeavor?


Where can people find Blimpie Weslaco on social media?

Facebook: Blimpie Weslaco, Twitter: @blimpieweslaco

Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me today!

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:15:45 +0000 Dane Carlson

Studies have shown that most successful female entrepreneurs tend to start their businesses as a second, or even third career. Because of this, most enter the entrepreneurial business world later on in life than their male counterparts, often at around 40-60 years old.

The women in this infographic bear that out:

  • Martha Stewart was a stockbroker until she was 35.
  • Julia Childs was a government file clerk until she was in her 30s.
  • Vera Wang only wrote about fashion until she was 39.


Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:51:47 +0000 Dane Carlson

So, I’m not very good with backing up.

See, I live deep in the mountainous wilds of Eastern California, where the internet is slow and the days are hard.

And, there’s a drought here, if you haven’t heard. I don’t have time for backing up.

And last month there was a fire. Not a house fire. But a forest fire. A big one. Came right for my house. Up the hill it came. Turned a little. And then rushed again straight at me.

So we grabbed all of the important stuff out of the safe, unplugged the backup hard drive, wrangled the pigs and the kids into the car, and drove away.


Thankfully, there were lots of firefighters. And firetrucks. And bulldozers. And airplanes.

And within a couple days the fire was out.

So we returned home.

And unpacked.

And put all the important papers away.

Put the kids and the pigs back where they belonged, mostly.

And I put the hard drive back on my desk.

A month ago.

The hard drive sat on my desk, wondering where its friend, Mr. USB plug was.

I wondered too, but knew he would turn up. Unless the kids or the pigs had run off with him.

And so the hard drive sat. And sat. And waited.

And then a new hard drive arrived in the mail from WD, a Western Digital company.

That jogged my mind, and I remembered something I’d completely forgotten since the fire. WD wanted me to review their WD My Cloud EX2. It’s a private cloud in a box — basically a big, expandable hard drive thingy that you plug into your network and just forget about. That’s my kind of device. And, they wanted to pay me, too. Awesome!

So I plugged it in and told my Mac to start using the new network drive it created for my Time Machine backups.

And I promptly forgot all about it.

See, I told you I’m not good with backups.

And then today, someone pinged me and said, “Hey Dane, remember that WD My Cloud EX2 we sent you to review? You never wrote anything. You’ve been too busy redesigning your website and changing the world and all that.” Ok, so she didn’t say that last part.

Fuming, I said I’d have something up by the end of the day.

I’ll show them, I thought. I’ll give that little black box with the blinkenlights a review they’ll never forget. It’ll be so harsh, it’ll make ‘em cry.


So I looked in my Time Machine.

Holy moly — I had a backup! A bunch of them, in fact. It actually worked. That infernal device actually worked!

That little black box in the closet, so silent that I’d forgotten all about it, actually backed up everything up! And not just once, but more than a dozen times.

In my book, that’s really all you can ask for in a backup hard drive thingy.

I could read the manual and tell you all kinds of interesting facts and specs and technical mumbo-jumbo about the WD My Cloud EX2, but let’s face, you’re not going to read it either. And you don’t care.

You just want something to back everything up.

Here’s a link to more info on the WD My Cloud EX2, if you want to know how many horses it has under the hood. But, if you’re like me, and not very good at backing up, and you’re in the market for something to help, I think you could do a lot worse than the WD My Cloud EX2.

Mark my words, this product will be remembered for its name long after it’s been surpassed technologically. But until that happens, I’m going to keep using it — until I forget to plug it back in after the next “act of God” threatens my kids and pigs.

Plugin Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences variables. To reference a plugin setting write %<plugin>_<setting>%, for example, %HEADLINESPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION%. Note: Don't modify the settings here; copy and customize the settings in SitePreferences. For example, to customize the USERAGENTNAME setting, create a HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting in Main.SitePreferences.

  • One line description, shown in the TextFormattingRules topic:
    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Show headline news in Foswiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites

  • Refresh rate in minutes for cached feeds. Disable caching: 0, default: 60
    • Set REFRESH = 60

  • Maximum number of items shown. Default: 100
    • Set LIMIT = 100

  • Use LWP::UserAgent, or fallback to Foswiki's internal getUrl() method. Default: yes

  • Timeout fetching a feed using the LWP::UserAgent. Default: 20

  • Name of user agent. Default: FoswikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21.1
      * Set USERAGENTNAME = FoswikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21.1

  • Default header: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set HEADER = <div class="headlinesChannel"><div class="headlinesLogo"><img src="$imageurl" alt="$imagetitle" border="0" />%BR%</div><div class="headlinesTitle">$n---+!! <a href="$link">$title</a></div><div class="headlinesDate">$date</div><div class="headlinesDescription">$description</div><div class="headlinesRight">$rights</div></div>

  • Default format of one item: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set FORMAT = <div class="headlinesArticle"><div class="headlinesTitle"><a href="$link">$title</a></div>$n<span class="headlinesDate">$date</span> <span class="headlinesCreator"> $creator</span> <span class="headlinesSubject"> $subject </span>$n<div class="headlinesText"> $description</div></div>

  • Values taken from configure: (only supported if CPAN:LWP is installed)
    • $Foswiki::cfg{PROXY}{HOST} - proxy host, such as "proxy.example.com";
    • $Foswiki::cfg{PROXY}{PORT} - proxy port, such as "8080";
    • $Foswiki::cfg{PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} - domains excluded from proxy, such as "intra.example.com, bugs.example.com";

Style sheets

The default HEADER and FORMAT settings use the following styles. See the style.css file defining the default CSS properties (indentation illustrates enclosure).

  • headlinesRss: output of the HeadlinesPlugin (div)
    • headlinesChannel: channel header (div)
      • headlinesLogo: channel logo (div)
      • headlinesTitle: channel title (div)
      • headlinesDate: channel date (div)
      • headlinesDescription: channel description (div)
      • headlinesRight: channel copyright (div)
    • headlinesArticle: one news item (div)
      • headlinesTitle: article title (div)
      • headlinesDate: article date (span)
      • headlinesCreator: author of article (span)
      • headlinesSubject: subect category of the article (span)
      • headlinesText: article text (div)

Plugin Installation Instructions

  • Download the ZIP file
  • Unzip it in your foswiki installation directory. Content:
    File:Sorted ascending Description:
    data/System/HeadlinesPlugin.txt plugin topic
    lib/Foswiki/HeadlinesPlugin.pm plugin perl module
    lib/Foswiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm plugin core
    pub/System/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css default css
    Check if above examples show a news feed instead of variable.
  • Optionally, run HeadlinesPlugin_installer.pl to automatically check and install other Foswiki modules that this module depends on. You can also do this step manually.
  • Alternatively, manually make sure the dependencies listed in the table below are resolved.
    Digest::MD5>=2.33Required. Download from CPAN:Digest::MD5
    LWP::UserAgent>=5.803Optional. Download from CPAN:LWP::UserAgent

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, Foswiki:Main.MichaelDaum (2005-2007)
Copyright: © 2002-2009, Peter Thoeny, TWIKI.NET; 2005-2007, Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: 2.21.1 (08 Mar 2009)
Change History:  
08 Mar 2009: Ported without changes to Foswiki namespace by Kenneth Lavrsen and put under "Feel Free To Modify" in Foswiki context.
12 Feb 2009: {PROXY}{HOST} supports domain with and without protocol -- Peter Thoeny
06 Feb 2009: added {PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} configure setting, added USERAGENTNAME plugin setting -- Peter Thoeny
11 Dec 2008: added {PROXY}{HOST} and {PROXY}{PORT} configure settings -- Peter Thoeny
13 Sep 2007: fixed parsing of content:encoded
23 Jul 2006: improved atom parser; if a posting has no title default to 'Untitled'
26 Apr 2006: added lazy compilation
10 Feb 2006: packaged using the TWiki:Plugins/BuildContrib; minor fixes
03 Feb 2006: off-by-one: limit="n" returned n+1 articles; make FORMAT and HEADER format strings more robust
23 Jan 2006: released v2.00
05 Dec 2005: internal feed urls must be absolute
02 Dec 2005: added web.topic shorthand for internal feeds
29 Nov 2005: fixed CDATA handling
21 Nov 2005: added ATOM support; extended RSS support; added dublin core support; added content support; optionally using LWP to fetch feeds to follow redirections; corrected CPAN dependencies ; recoding special chars from html integer to entity encoding to increase browser compatibility; added css support; use getWorkArea() if available
11 May 2005: TWiki:Main.WillNorris: added DevelopBranch compatability
31 Oct 2004: Fixed taint issue by TWiki:Main.AdrianWeiler; small performance improvement
29 Oct 2004: Fixed issue of external caching if mod_perl or SpeedyCGI is used
02 Aug 2002: Implemented caching of feeds, thanks to TWiki:Main/RobDuarte
11 Jun 2002: Initial version (V1.000)
Perl Version: 5.008
Plugin Home: http://foswiki.org/Extensions/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: http://foswiki.org/Extensions/HeadlinesPluginDev
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