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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 ExplanationSorted ascending Default
href="..." (Alternative to above) N/A
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
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
limit="12" Maximum number of items shown Global LIMIT setting
refresh="60" Refresh rate in minutes for caching feed; "0" for no caching Global REFRESH setting
"..." source of RSS feed; this can be an url (starting with http) or a web.topic location for internal feeds None; is required

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:

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:25:37 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:22:41 +0000 Dane Carlson

The entrepreneurial backstory of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.

From Utah: personalized soap.

Only in Chicago: Chicago-centric shoes.

The word of the year is “vape”, and an entrepreneur in South Boston is cashing in on the smokeless nicotine vapor.

These winemakers let their customers fund their business. In the old days, we used to call this sales.

These 10 jobs didn’t exist in 1989: Social media manager, E-commerce consultant, Mobile app developer, Big-data analyst, Cloud-computing workers, Genetic counselors, SEO specialist, Drone pilot, 3-D printing professionals, and Wind turbine service technicians.

It’s almost winter, and time for wood stoves, fireplaces and hearths to heat the home and warm the soul. You know what that means? We need firewood.

Another Shark Tank success story: GrooveBook has sold for $14.5 million.

What do barbers do when their clippers run dull? They don’t just toss the old pair and buy new ones. They have them sharpened by this business.

And finally, something to be thankful for: the real cost of Thanksgiving is 1.3% lower than last year.

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:49 +0000 Dane Carlson

If you’ve ever left water out in the hot sun then you know exactly what it looks and smells like by the end of the day. Fresh won’t exactly describe what you’ll find. Put that same container of water into your chicken house and then see what also gets into it. It was during one particularly frustrating day while out feeding animals that Anna Hess and her husband Mark Hamilton were inspired to find a new way to water their chickens.

After a year and a half of design, research and customer feedback they have created a reasonably priced alternative called The Avian Aqua Miser that all backyard chicken owners can appreciate. However they are not limited to innovation, they’re also authors. Their book, Microbusiness Independence, gives micopreneurs advice on running their own business and still having time for the things that really matter to them.

Please tell us a little about what you do.

First and foremost, we’re full time homesteaders. We grow all of our own vegetables and eggs, and are starting to grow our own fruit and meat. The problem is that homesteading takes a lot of time, and neither of us is independently wealthy. We also live in Appalachia, which is a very economically depressed part of the country. So our choices were to work relatively low-paying jobs, leaving little time to pursue our homesteading dreams, or move out of the area. Instead, we created a third option, selling Mark’s chicken waterer invention over the internet. By taking advantage of a global market, we’re able to make much more than the minimum wage we’d bring in by selling the same item at the local farmer’s market.

What is the automatic chicken waterer? How does it work?

The Avian Aqua Miser (http://www.avianaquamiser.com) is an automatic chicken waterer based on a chicken nipple. The nipple is a bit like the valve you see on the end of a hamster water bottle — it only lets water out when the animal pecks or licks on it. The great thing about our automatic chicken waterer is that it solves a problem backyard chicken keepers hate. Chickens aren’t the world’s cleanest animals, and they think nothing of perching on top of traditional waterers and pooping in the reservoir, then drinking the filthy liquid. Before Mark came up with our automatic chicken waterer, we were changing our chickens’ water several times a day to prevent the buildup of fecal matter. The Avian Aqua Miser keeps its water within a sealed reservoir, so the water always stays clean and I never have to deal with chicken poop.

How long did it take for you to design and fine tune it into the product it is today?

Mark started working on a solution one day when he heard me out swearing at the chickens. I had put my hand on top of a pile of poop during my morning chores and I was not pleased. It took him months of searching to discover that the large scale chicken factories had been using chicken nipples for years, then a few more months to figure out a way to transfer the innovation to the backyard level. Even after we rolled the product out, we kept fine-tuning it for the first year or so, listening hard to customer feedback. So, I guess you could say it took us 18 months to develop it, although we weren’t focusing solely on the invention that whole time.

How much does it cost?

We sell do it yourself kits starting from $15 and pre-made waterers starting from $30, both of which come with free shipping. Most people choose the do it yourself kits, which I highly recommend as a cheap way to keep your chickens hydrated.

What is your microbusiness ebook about?

Microbusiness Independence (http://www.wetknee.com/microbusiness) documents everything we learned during the first year of our chicken waterer business. We started the business with next to no experience, which made us think that our success could be easily replicated by anyone else with a similar wish to escape the rat race. I hope that the book helps other people skip the first few months of fumbling around in the dark and jump right to the part where they’re running a successful microbusiness.

Care to give us a short excerpt from the book?

Here’s the first page of chapter 4, where we start diving into the nitty gritty of creating a microbusiness:

We all know that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. So, what’s your mousetrap? Thinking of a product idea may be the hardest step for some folks, but it was the easiest step for us. Mark is an endless tinkerer, with four or five potential inventions always kicking around in the back of his head. But you don’t have to be a practiced inventor to start a good microbusiness. Just follow these three simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to microbusiness independence.

Choose something unique

One of our failed microbusinesses involved running a native plant nursery. We figured that we could easily dig a few plants here and there in our 56 acre woods, selling the plants on Ebay and through our own website. So we spent days creating a website with fifty different plants on it, listing prices which slightly undercut similar businesses. Then Mark spent long, cold spring mornings chipping paw-paws and Christmas ferns out of the ground. After shipping the plants, we had to deal with customers who were looking so hard for a bargain that they were annoyed that their $2 plant arrived wilted. When I finally did the math, I realized we were making only a little over minimum wage — our native plant nursery was never going to allow us to leave the rat race. Trying to undercut the competition obviously wasn’t the best way to go. Instead, we recommend that microbusiness owners find a single, niche product which the consumer can’t get from anyone else. If what you’re selling is unique or difficult to find, you won’t have to drop your prices to rock bottom to attract customers.

Do you have any other ebooks?

We include a couple of chicken-related ebooks with our chicken waterer to help beginners learn their way around chickens. I’ve also put together an ebook about the natural history of a local park (http://www.clinchtrails.com).

What separates you and your ebook from the competition?

There are dozens of get-rich-quick ebooks out there, but we take a very different approach. In fact, we don’t want to get rich, and we’re not writing for people who do. Instead, our ebook shows readers how to minimize the time they spend on their microbusiness so that they can put more time into what really matters — living their life.What got you interested in this business? Have you always been entrepreneurial?

Mark told me just yesterday that he wanted to be an inventor at the advanced age of seven. Unfortunately, his parents weren’t keen on the idea, so he followed a more traditional path, spending a few years in the Navy, many more years working as a copier repair man, and then a few years working constructon. He really knows what the rat race is like and never wants to go back. On the other hand, I’ve never submitted a resume and worked a real job. I tend to create positions out of thin air, doing what I love and somehow getting paid for it. I was working for a local non-profit when Mark started tweaking the Avian Aqua Miser, but I was burned out and ready to spend more time on the farm. Mark had the dream, and I had the experience making jobs up as I go along.

Where would you like to see your business in the next year or so?

The first year, Mark’s chicken waterers paid the bills, and that was it. Now that we’ve figured out what we’re doing, the second year has brought in more sales than we know what to do with. We don’t mind the extra money (in fact, we’re going on a second cruise this winter!), but the business is starting to take a bit of time away from the weeding. So we’re starting to look into hiring someone to do most of the repetitive work, building the waters and mailing them out. Mark has about a dozen invention ideas on the back burner, just waiting for a bit of free time to roll them out. Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll have found the perfect employee and will have even more free time!

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:40:32 +0000 Dane Carlson

About 150,000 pay-TV customers canceled video service in the three months that ended June 30, according to estimates published on Friday by Leichtman Research Group.

Pay-TV systems lost 25,000 subscribers during the same time period last year, Leichtman said.

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: Description:
    data/System/HeadlinesPlugin.txt plugin topic
    pub/System/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css default css
    lib/Foswiki/HeadlinesPlugin.pm plugin perl module
    lib/Foswiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm plugin core
    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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