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Displaying an RSS Newsfeed on Your Site

This tutorial has only been partially updated. ~Elise Feb-22-07

One of the great things about RSS is that you can display, or "feed" in, headlines and content from other people's websites directly onto your own website. In another article, we've already covered what "syndication" is, and RSS, and how you can use a newsfeed reader to efficiently read and browse through the latest content from your favorite weblogs and news sites. The focus of this article will be on the other main use of RSS - feeding external content into your site.

How do you incorporate RSS feeds into your Movable Type website?

Here are a few ways:

  1. Timothy Appel's Feeds.App Plugin. According to Tim, with Feeds.App you can:
    • Merge multiple feeds into one listing
    • Display summaries and the full content
    • Automatically update feeds content using the built-in task manager
    • Work with extended meta data such as authors, categories, extended links, and timestamps
    • Powerful template tag controls for integrating content how you need it
    • Transparently work with any form of the RSS and Atom feed formats
  2. Open source PHP solution like zFeeder or Feedsplitter. - These solutions require that the page of your site on which the feeds will reside has a "php" rather than an "html" extension. So if you plan to place the feeds onto a sidebar of your main index page, that page needs to end with ".php". The software is automatic, works in the background, and you don't have to rebuild the page in your MT editing window in order for the content to refresh.
  3. FeedRoll is another option. You don't have as much display flexibility, and the feed comes with a "powered by feedroll" tagline, and they host it you don't. But, out of all the options, this one is the easiest to set up. All you have to do is choose the feed you want, choose some simple display attributes, and cut and paste the javascript into your MT template. Although when I first tested Feedroll it worked fine, I can't seem to get it to work recently. I recommend testing this option to see it it works on your site.

Making it easy for other sites to republish your feed

If you use the FeedBurner service to manage your RSS feed(s) you can release code to other sites to easily incorporate your feed onto their websites with FeedBurner BuzzBoost.

For example, the following code:


<script src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/elise/simplyrecipes?format=sigpro" type="text/javascript">
</script>
<noscript><p>Subscribe to RSS headline updates from: <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/elise/simplyrecipes"></a><br/>Powered by FeedBurner</p> </noscript>

will result something like this:

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

You can edit out the logo, and make other changes.

Additional Links:
RSS Specifications - "everything you need to know about RSS"
RSSxpress

Comments (2)

Robert (from France):

I used to add code to my web pages to get RSS. However, about a month ago a found a simple RSS reader under Google Gadgets

It can be customised in seconds, even if you are a non-programmer like myself. I've found this the easiest way to add RSS onto a web site. Google also has a similar feature for the desktop.

Hmm. That Google gadget shows up blank for me, no matter what feed I try. Could be a Mac issue? Doesn't display with either Safari or Mac-FireFox.

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