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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 DefaultSorted ascending
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
href="..." (Alternative to above) N/A
"..." 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, 28 Nov 2014 16:58:20 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 05:01:47 +0000 Dane Carlson

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Dane Carlson’s Business Opportunities. See you Monday after the fun.

Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:00:53 +0000 Dane Carlson

Tom the Dancing Bug

Follow @RubenBolling on Twitter and Facebook.

Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:23:45 +0000 Dane Carlson

By L. Scott Harrell, Executive Editor of Vtrep.com.

Current technology has progressed to a point that small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS), essentially hobby sized remote controlled airplanes and helicopters, are more accessible now than ever before, both in terms of their relatively low prices and ease of flight control for new RC pilots. Quadcopters like the DJI Phantom series seem almost ubiquitous now – they’re everywhere. Cameras, too, have come along way; they are smaller, lighter, shoot in much higher resolutions and have better lenses. It was only a matter of time before the two would be paired using relatively sophisticated, but also inexpensive, electronic image stabilizing gimbals making video and photographic aerial imagery easy, affordable and fun!

It was probably also obvious to those paying attention that these camera equipped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), most often referred to as “drones”, would also fundamentally change a number of industries and become the basis for what is being called “the next great land rush in tech.”

“This market’s going to be huge,” said Ken Loo, a Sunnyvale mechanical engineer who used a 3-D printer to create his own UAV and hopes to one day become a drone consultant. “The possibilities are endless.”

Not one to miss an easy cliche, I’d say that when it comes to the commercial use of UAV video, “The sky’s the limit!”

Here are twenty ways, ideas and applications that this drone-video combination can be used by video entrepreneurs (vtreps) to disrupt and dominate virtually untapped markets booming with potential:

Aerial Surveying

Long the domain of commercially piloted helicopters and airplanes, aerial surveys are used in cartography, topography, feature recognition, archaeology and GIS applications providing information on terrestrial sites that are often difficult, or even impossible, to see or measure from the ground. Small UAV operators are quickly finding a foothold in digital photogrammetric mapping and ortho photography services due to the enormous cost savings realized using small unmanned systems capable of carrying a variety of visual imagery payloads that can go slower and lower than much larger traditional aircraft.

Building and Monetizing a Youtube Channel

Drone video is hot right now among UAV enthusiasts and many YouTubers, like Team BlackSheep, are gaining a HUGE number of subscribers by simply posting daredevil videos captured by their remote controlled aircraft from interesting and unique places around the world.

Making money on Youtube is not difficult; leverage your channel followers and video views in variety of ways: Promote your products, drive traffic to an online store or website, sell in-video advertising and product placement, enroll in the YouTube advertising partner program or become a YT celebrity!

Competitive Intelligence

Aerial photo reconnaissance has long been used to gather information on competitors. Information about the size and capacity of manufacturing facilities, numbers of employees, business expansion and the development of on-site infrastructure, as well as many other bits of practical intelligence, can now be derived using small and very low cost UAVs as compared to the otherwise enormous expense of using piloted commercial aircraft like helicopters and airplanes.

Conservation, Environmental Regulation and Compliance

In June, the Wildlife Conservation Society began training operators from the Belize Fisheries Department to use two drones to help track illegal fishing activities. The drones went into use just at the start of lobster season. And it is just one example of the growing use of drones in the areas of conservation and tracking down poachers.

Other examples of drones being used in the field include biologists and researchers using UAV video and aerial imagery to count everything from birds to polar bears while those in charge of enforcing environmental laws are looking for hard to detect activities like illegal logging and the dumping of harmful substances.


Amazon made popular (and sensational) the idea of commercial product delivery via unmanned aerial vehicles but their idea never took flight and Lakemaid Beer drone delivery services to ice fishermen in Wisconsin and Minnesota were grounded by the FAA in the United States. Drone delivery services nonetheless are taking flight in other corners of the world where flight is faster, safer and more economical than shipping via overland routes. Drones are delivering emergency medicine, small (but critical) mechanical parts and time sensitive documents among other things.

Disaster Relief

Drones can provide public safety officials real time video footage in areas hard hit by natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes that often make huge inhabited areas almost impossible and too dangerous to travel by land. Recently, in the wake of several very powerful earthquakes, disaster management and emergency response officials in Central America engaged freelance several UAV pilots to provide video services in support of their relief and repair efforts. Drones are currently being used in Fukushima, Japan where Daiichi nuclear power plant melted down over 3 years ago but radiation remains a serious health threat to visitors and scientists studying the area. As noted above, larger unmanned aerial systems can also be used by NGOs and humanitarian services to safely deliver medicine, food and water to otherwise unreachable victims.

Feature Filmmaking

Filmmakers are finding that a well-operated multirotor aircraft capable of carrying cinema quality video cameras can be a less expensive and more versatile option than jibs, cranes, dollies and cameras mounted on helicopters in order to get the perfect camera movement or tracking shot. Hollywood is champing at the bit to get in on aerial cinematography with drones and the U.S. government is currently considering a request from movie and TV producers to let them [legally] use unmanned aircraft to shoot aerial video (though we all know that drones have already been used in U.S. movie production).

The FAA has recently green-lit a commercial UAV drone for use for 6 Hollywood film roductions .

Low Altitude Banner Advertising

OK, not exactly a video-based commercial opportunity, while I was writing an earlier article for Vtrep.com on a beach in Cancun, I did see a hexacopter flying down the beach at water’s edge toting a banner advertising a local nightclub and had to chuckle. (The pilot was flying FPV (first person view) using a GoPro videocamera mounted below the aircraft and sending the video feed back to a monitor attached to his controller.)

Microjob Video Sites

Many entrepreneurial filmmakers are offering video-related services and performances on “micro job” websites like Fiverr and video marketplace VideoToOrder.com. They run the gamut of offering creative and personalized videos that are used by consumers to send special messages to family, friends and clients to marketing and promotion. I think I’ve seen it all being offered: sexy, quirky, scary, professional, in all manners of dress and locations with two exceptions: videos made underwater and, surprisingly, videos using or featuring a drone to capture the footage. With a little imagination you could offer your unique UAV micro job video service to communicate all sorts of greetings and messages – birthdays, get well wishes, congratulations, URL promotion, brand building, etc.

News Footage

Drones are increasingly being used by journalists and citizens alike to report the news. There have been several high profile instances in which small unmanned aerial systems have been used to document and provide video footage from areas of conflict, war, civil upheaval, accidents and disaster. UAVs offer journalists a safe working distance from otherwise dangerous situations and can often be carried to the scene of a report and deployed by a camera operator far more quickly and at less expense than a commercially piloted new helicopter. Yes, celebrity photographers (paparazzi) are also using small unmanned aerial systems, too.

Pipeline and Electrical Line Inspection

Utilities companies have used commercially piloted aircraft, like airplanes and helicopters, to inspect hundreds of miles of electrical lines, towers and remote substations as well as oil and gas pipelines and pumping stations. Small unmanned systems equipped with cameras and video transmitters are now replacing much of the routine inspection that was very expensive and often dangerous to the pilots and inspectors.

Precision Agriculture

Using drones in precision agriculture and crop surveillance can drastically reduce the time required walking the fields and high cost of using commercially piloted aircraft. Armed with specialized cameras that are capable of capturing specific wavelengths of infrared video, small unmanned aerial system operators are able to see contrasting colors that indicate the overall health of crops in the field. Areas of concern can be inspected much closer using the same UAV for verification, problem diagnosis and even delivering localized spot treatment. Farmers using unmanned aerial vehicles to surveil crops are reporting higher yield, reduced plant damage and lower costs, which is good for everyone.

Real Estate Videos

This is perhaps the hottest opportunity for entrepreneurial filmmakers who have experience using drones and aerial imagery. Real estate agents are very quickly realizing that very low altitude aerial video footage captured by drones sell large pieces of property and homes with unique features more quickly. Additionally, agents who hire UAV video companies report that they are attracting more listings as well.

Resort and Hotel Advertising

Similar to real estate videos above, what better way to show off a spectacular hotel situated on the perfect piece of property than to provide potential visitors the kind of video footage and aerial imagery only a small drone can provide?

In a time when hotels and resorts are fighting tooth and nail for advertising impressions and to stand out from the crowd on hotel booking applications and a glut of travel websites marketing agencies understand that unique video perspectives offer an edge in an otherwise tired marketing mix.

I have been paid for providing UAV video footage as well as having been given free lodging at luxury resorts in Cozumel and Cancun Mexico in trade for something I REALLY like to do anyway: Fly my drone!

Search and Rescue

When Virginia resident Guillermo DeVenecia went missing not long ago, police and searchers were dispatched to find the 82-year-old man, who suffers from dementia and hearing loss.

They searched for three days using hundreds of volunteers, search dogs, and a helicopter in heavily wooded areas and fields to no avail. Concerned for his safety as the search dragged on, Fitchburg police issued a news alert to all residents to be on the lookout for the missing man.

It took David Lesh about 20 minutes to find DeVenecia with his drone.


Video from unmanned aerial systems is being used to secure sensitive locations and areas from unwanted trespassers to detecting and documenting theft. A friend of mine was hired by a large aquaculture (captive commercial fishery) that covers some 150 acres to fly his thermal imaging camera equipped quadcopter over the grounds at night after several break-ins caused both the theft of fish but also the contamination of a grow out pond that caused much larger economic losses. The company came to the obvious conclusion that, in their specific situation, it was more cost effective to employ one security officer with an unmanned aerial surveillance system that could quickly cover a large area of difficult terrain than it is to hire five or six security officers that would be required to man posts properly distributed throughout the property. He thinks he has the best job in the world.


This is an exciting application of drones being used to capture sporting events from the air. I’ve seen UAVs being used to capture all sorts of events, from ESPN’s X Games, the Olympics, the Boston Marathon and even the Tour de France. There is no shortage of local, regional and world events that couldn’t be showcased from the air!

Structural Inspection and Construction Site Data

Not long ago my hometown was absolutely devastated by flooding of historical levels. Several UAV operators were credited for their service to public safety by volunteering their drones’ first person visual (FPV) systems (transmitting a live video feed back to a receiver) to allow law enforcement officials and structural engineers to survey roads and bridges they could not otherwise quickly and easily reach to assess damage. Consequently, at least one of these pilots now regularly sells video footage to the local news outlet and contracts with a utilities company.

Construction companies and architects handling large building projects are deploying drone operators to capture video in a way that allows them to measure and report progress. Insurance companies are employing drones to inspect and quantify things like hail damage claims to roofs rather than put adjustors at risk of falling as well.

Surveillance and Private Investigation

Very recently I read an article online in which various private investigators around New York in the United States were claiming to use drones to obtain surveillance footage of cheating spouses and claimants faking injuries to bilk insurance companies. While I think it is highly unlikely that PIs are actually using drones in this manner (due to the loud rotor noise and the focal limitations of the cameras that fit on the hobby-sized aircraft), it is possible and there certainly are practical applications for using UAVs in private investigation.

Wedding Videos

Capturing unique aerial video footage from vantage points that only small unmanned aerial systems can provide to augment traditional wedding video is becoming a popular request by brides-to-be. And why not? Outdoor wedding venues are often chosen for their spectacular location and gorgeous scenery; drones can capture more of what makes the celebration’s backdrop special than ever before.

Please note that this article is written for a worldwide audience. Some countries highly restrict, forbid or require licensing and qualification when flying UAVs or using them for commercial purposes, especially in times of disaster. Many do not. While safety issues are outside of the overall scope of this article, UAVs are definitely a cause for concern in some situations. They can cause potential injury to bystanders or collide with controlled aircraft operating in the same airspace. There is no substitute for knowing and strictly adhering to applicable laws and regulations as they apply to you and your situation. PLEASE, always fly responsibly and with public safety in mind as your first priority.

This article was originally published here, and is republished here by permission.

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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