Headlines Plugin

Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites


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


  • RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an XML standard used to publish frequently updated works such as blog entries, news headlines and audio.
  • Atom is an XML syndication format used for web feeds.
  • Syndic8.com at http://www.syndic8.com/ lists many RSS and ATOM feeds.

Syntax Rules


Parameter Explanation Default
"..." Source of RSS or ATOM 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. May 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. May 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
touch="..." Touch (edit/save) topics if the feed has updates. Specify a comma-space delimited list of TopicNames or Web.TopicNames, such as "%TOPIC%, NewsLetter". Useful to send out newsletter using MailerContrib, showing new feeds since last newsletter. To update feeds, visit topics with feeds in regular intervals (using cron with wget or the like). N/A

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. Note that some of the variables are already used above. This is done by purpose to use different feeds with the same formatting parameters. If there's a conflict the non-dc tags have higher precedence, i.e. a <title> content </title> is preferred 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 referring to the <content:encoding> content </content:encoding>.


Slashdot News


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

HeadlinesPlugin ERROR: 501 Protocol scheme 'https' is not supported (LWP::Protocol::https not installed)

Business Opportunities Weblog


%HEADLINES{ "http://www.business-opportunities.biz/feed" limit="2" }%

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

Thu, 21 Jun 2018 20:13:25 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Mon, 18 Jun 2018 08:52:59 +0000 Bizop Team
Image Credit: Luis Osorio on Flickr

When you first start to grapple with it, search engine optimization (SEO) seems like the most difficult thing in the internet marketing sphere. However, once you understand how it works, it's one of the easiest solutions for marketing your business. What’s more, if you want to succeed in business these days, you need to master an SEO marketing strategy that will get your business the traffic it needs.

Whether you are just starting out with your SEO setup or you have been struggling with it for a while, here are five steps anyone can take to achieve a superior SEO marketing strategy.




Understand Your Target Audience

It can be challenging to formulate any marketing strategy if you don't understand who you are targeting. Therefore, when you’re coming up with an SEO marketing strategy, you must factor in the behavior and location of your audience.

Learn about your customers’ demographics, their search preferences, and so on. Your Google Analytics account will help you to interpret the responses of visitors to your site. You can then set objectives using your understanding of this data.


Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is extremely important when you’re establishing your SEO marketing strategy.

Analyze your target audience to determine which keywords they are likely to use while searching for your business online. Then use an excel sheet to organize keywords into categories based on the personas in your target audience.

The Google Keyword Planner is a great resource for researching keywords. It shows the competitiveness of various keywords as well as their search volume. This will help you to understand which keywords are viable.

Other advanced tools will provide you with information about your competitors and their backlinks. For example, this list of the best backlink checkers from SEOJet will give you suggestions for excellent research tools. Use tools like these to come up with strong keywords.


Plan Your on-Page SEO/Site Structure

The next thing you need to consider is on-page SEO. This important component helps search engines to understand what your website is about. Valuable, well written content is key here.

Use the keywords you collected to build your content. Additionally, be sure to include internal linking and ensure your pages load quickly.

Set different keywords for different pages to avoid keyword cannibalization. This occurs when you use the same keyword on different pages.



Develop Your off-Page SEO Link Building

You also need to seek referrals and mentions by other sites in your niche, especially authority sites with good reputations. This is what is meant by “off-site SEO.”

There are different tactics you can use to get sites to link back to yours. For example, you can make connections in your industry. If people know about you, they are more likely to link back to you. Also, write great content that will encourage people to share.

Another great tactic is to reach out to owners of authority websites in your industry and offer to write blog posts for them as a guest.


Track Results with Hard Data

SEO does not end with posting content and getting links. You also need to ensure that your content is working as you expected.

This is where performance monitoring comes in. In your Google Analytics account, monitor traffic daily, weekly, and monthly. Keep a spreadsheet where you record on-page changes. This will help you to understand what is happening. You can also use rank checking services to check search positions.


A Good SEO Marketing Strategy Requires Persistence and Patience

Although it can take some time before results begin to appear, having a robust SEO marketing strategy will elevate your business’s search visibility.

What’s more, with good SEO your website will get more traffic, which will lead to more sales. The tactics we suggest here will help you to get started with SEO. Put them to work and you will soon have an SEO marketing strategy that will open doors for your business.

The post 5 Steps to Having the Best SEO Marketing Strategy for Your Business appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:49:51 +0000 Bizop Team

As the sun starts to shine, many employees start thinking about a summer break. But for business owners, staff time off during the summer can be fraught with difficulty.

That’s because summer can be a busy and profitable time for many businesses. However, it's also the time most staff want to take a sizable chunk of their annual leave allowance.

Banning or restricting leave at busy times is legally possible. However, that will do little to nurture a positive culture. More likely it will lead to disgruntled staff. Some good employees might even decide to leave. But letting too many employees take holidays at the same time will almost certainly leave your business flagging.

This could mean delays in meeting customer orders and less efficient customer service. Moreover, disgruntled staff will have to work harder and longer hours to take up the slack.

Therefore, managing staff time off during the summer holiday season needs to be fair. Here are our five top tips for fair and efficient holiday management. Implement these tips to keep your staff happy and your business on track.




1. Develop a Clear and Fair Annual Leave Policy

Annual leave during the summer, especially during the school holidays, can be a contentious issue. This can be especially true if you have several staff with school-aged children. In that case, they might all be jockeying for the same few weeks off.

How you manage staff time off will depend on your business. If summer is your busiest time, you will have to factor that in to your annual leave policy.

Conversely, is your business is able to operate with minimum staff during the summer holiday season? If so, use that to your advantage. As a matter of fact, some manufacturing industries shut down for two weeks in summer.

Some Questions to Consider About Staff Time Off

You will need to consider the following questions:

  • Do you prioritize leave requests for those with children who need to take their leave during the school holidays?
  • Should you adopt a first-come, first-served annual leave policy?
  • Do you prioritize leave for special events?
  • Will you enforce any restrictions on staff time off at your busiest times?

Prioritizing one group of staff over another group isn't generally conducive to good employee relations. A first-come, first-served policy is probably the fairest option. However, that option works in favor of those who are more organized.

No Right or Wrong Answer

There isn't a right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The fact remains, however, that not everyone can have their leave request approved for exactly the same weeks of holiday.

How you handle holiday requests will depend on the size of your business. A small business with just a few staff can't afford to have more than one or two people off at the same time. Bigger businesses can be more flexible.

Developing a rotation system for key holiday periods, like school holidays, is probably the fairest option. ACAS (the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) offers good guidance on managing staff time off, including rights and responsibilities.


2. Plan Ahead with Staff Rotation Software

Understanding your staffing requirements and planning ahead are key. The best way to ensure you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to annual leave and staff cover is to invest in decent staff rotation software.

Good staff rotation software (such as Planday) will enable you to manage rotations and deal with leave requests much more efficiently. You can also set a limit on the number of staff who can be off at the same time. Choose software that has an app so staff can see their schedule at any time, check leave availability, and make leave requests.



3. Learn from the Past and Forecast

If last summer was your busiest time, then you know to plan ahead. You may have to limit leave requests. You might also need to offer flexible working arrangements to those with childcare issues. Perhaps you’ll even employ temporary staff to get you through the holiday season. Learn from the past and forecast so you don't make any of the mistakes you made in previous summers.


4. Maintain Good Communication

Whatever your approach to staff time off during the summer months, good communication and transparency are paramount. Staff rotation software can help. If all staff have access to a digital holiday calendar, they can plan accordingly. When summer holiday leave booking is problematic, get your team to sit down and discuss the options.


staff time off 300w, managing-staff-summer-holiday-2-768x502.jpg 768w, managing-staff-summer-holiday-2-600x392.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" />


Involving your staff in the decision-making process will make them feel like they have a say in the solutions. Be prepared to think of alternative solutions. For example, if one member of staff gets priority on leave booking, make it clear that someone else gets priority next time.


5. Be Flexible About Cover

Consider hiring in temporary staff during your busiest times. This will ensure you have full cover when some employees are away on holiday. You may also want to consider offering more flexible working arrangements to anyone who has drawn the short straw and has to cover.



Plan, be clear on your annual leave policy, communicate, offer transparency, and be flexible. When you do, you will avoid the pitfalls of efficiently and fairly managing staff time off during the summer holiday season.

The post Managing Staff Time off During the Summer Holiday Season appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Plugin Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences settings. Do not change the settings here, they are here only for illustration purposes showing the default values. Define the settings in Main.TWikiPreferences. For example, to customize the HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting, add a * Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME = ... bullet in Main.TWikiPreferences.

  • Refresh rate in minutes for cached feeds. Set to 0 to disable caching:

  • Maximum number of items shown:

  • Use LWP::UserAgent if set to 1, or fallback to TWiki's internal getUrl() method if set to 0:

  • Timeout fetching a feed using the LWP::UserAgent:

  • Name of user agent:
    • Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME = TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2011-07-08

  • Default header: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_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 HEADLINESPLUGIN_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)
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{HOST} - proxy host, such as "proxy.example.com";
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{PORT} - proxy port, such as "8080";
    • $TWiki::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

Note: You do not need to install anything on the browser to use this plugin. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the plugin on the TWiki server.

  • For an automated installation, run the configure script and follow "Find More Extensions" in the in the Extensions section.

  • Or, follow these manual installation steps:
    • Download the ZIP file from the Plugins home (see below).
    • Unzip HeadlinesPlugin.zip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
      File: Description:
      data/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.txt Plugin topic
      pub/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css Default CSS
      lib/TWiki/Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin.pm Plugin Perl module
      lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm Plugin core
    • Set the ownership of the extracted directories and files to the webserver user.
    • 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 configuration and testing:
    • Run the configure script, enable the plugin in the Plugins section
    • Configure the plugin: See plugin settings above.
    • Test if the installation was successful: See example above.

Plugin Info

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

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2002-2012 Peter Thoeny, TWiki.org
© 2005-2007 Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: 2012-09-05
Change History:  
2012-09-05: TWikibug:Item6837: Doc fixes
2011-07-17: TWikibug:Item6764: Add VarHEADLINES variable documentation; doc improvements; setting NO_PREFS_IN_TOPIC
2011-07-08: TWikibug:Item6725: Change global package variables from "use vars" to "our"
2010-05-16: TWikibug:Item6433: More doc improvements
2010-04-25: TWikibug:Item6433: Doc fix: Changing TWIKIWEB to SYSTEMWEB
2010-02-27: TWikibug:Item6313: Fixed bug in ATOM feed with <link ...></link> instead of <link ... /> -- Peter Thoeny
2009-09-30: fixed bug in lastBuildDate of feeds affecting touch parameter functionality -- Peter Thoeny
2009-08-29: added touch parameter -- Peter Thoeny
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: 5.8
TWiki:Plugins/Benchmark: GoodStyle 100%, FormattedSearch 99.5%, HeadlinesPlugin 94%
Plugin Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginAppraisal

Related Topics: VarHEADLINES, TWikiPlugins, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences

Topic revision: r6 - 2012-09-05 - TWikiContributor
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