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/ ) lists 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
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
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]]:* $description" 
  format="$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="2" }%

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

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:39:16 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
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 <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>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 <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2 we sent you to review? We need you to send it back, and we’re not going to pay you. Because 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 <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>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.

Final Note: Since this is a paid review, I feel that it is only right and necessary that I share with you what I don’t like about the <a href=”http://ooh.li/547c4f4″ rel=nofollow”>WD My Cloud EX2: the name. I can’t imagine a worse example of a named-by-committee product in the history of “local cloud-based storage.” And yes, this kind of storage is new. So there haven’t been many opportunities for bad product names, yet. But mark my words, this product will be remembered for its name long after it’s been surpassed technologically. But until it is, 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.

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:57:09 +0000 Dane Carlson

TGA operates the leading after school golf and tennis program in the United States. Their franchised school-based sports model, gets kids off the couch and introduces PreK to 8th graders to sports and sportsmanship. TGA currently has 77 franchise locations in the United States, Canada and Spain.

I recently spoke with the founder and CEO, Joshua Jacobs.

My questions are below in bold. Enjoy!


Hi Joshua. Where did the idea for franchising TGA come from?

The idea came from people calling us for our advice on how to bring golf to schools. After 4 years of honing the model, creating enrichment curriculums and growing the business to over 50 schools, a couple thousand participants a year and four summer camp locations throughout Los Angeles, it hit us like a ton of bricks after researching it didn’t exist across the U.S. We had no vision to franchise the school based model after starting the company in 2003.

How did you bring it to life?

The franchised model was brought to life by identifying the needs of our customers. Schools needed before, during and after school programs that were extensions of the classroom, education and character development based, not just sports. Parents wanted the convenience of programs at schools and the ability to drop off or pick up their kids an hour before or after school. Students wanted to be able to experience and be introduced to new sports at their school and participate with their friends. We put together a business and program that satisfied these three needs in the community.

Where do you see your franchise in five years?

Continuing to be the strongest school based model in the country leading to growth in additional golf and tennis markets, as well as adding other sports. The great companies concentrate on what they are best at, what their single economic driver is and what their passion is. For TGA, it’s school based programs impacting youth through sports.

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

Be more selective with awarding franchises and create a more disciplined and results oriented culture sooner.

What does your typical day look like?

Exercise early in the morning or early evening. Office hours between 7:45am and 5pm picking work back up between 9pm and 11pm. If I’m traveling, which is a decent amount the days usually run between 8am and 1am between working with a partner or franchise along with the normal day to day.

What is one trend that really excites you?

Using technology to educate parents and customers on programs children participate in.

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

I wouldn’t classify any of my four jobs that I’ve had as the worst. The job I learned most from was my first job at Fox Sports straight out of Emory University. It taught me that corporate life at the time was not for me. Apparently being too ambitious in a large corporation isn’t always the best frame of mind.

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

Constantly move things forward. After you or the company pick a direction to head in or set a goal, keep things heading in that direction. Don’t stray or stay stagnant.

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

One failure of many is that we didn’t put the right people on the bus or the right people on the bus in the right seats. We overcame it by learning to quickly identify if employees were right for TGA’s bus and if they were in the right places in the company. It also helps to get to know your employees and speak to them at least quarterly about their goals at the company and for their career.

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

Think of everything as real-estate and look to own it.

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

For people say hello to each other when walking down the street. We’ve gotten away from the simple social interactions. I try and change it by saying hello, even if they are looking down, away or at their phone. Ironically, we apply similar thinking to TGA programs.

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

  • Twitter – Love that its short and concise keeping me informed of the industry we are in as well as the world in a timely manner.
  • Listen 360 – Allows us to learn daily what our customers think of our programs.
  • My Custom Event – Provides a stop solution for every business aspect of our model to be run efficiently.

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

Good to Great. It simplifies a very complex business world while helping you create a clear vision and direction you or your company need to head.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  • Alan Shipnuck (@alanshipnuck) – Brutally honest and sarcastic twist on the truth behind the golf industry.
  • Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) – Great reads and a solid inside look to the sport of tennis.
  • Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) – If you love sports, they always find the best video to show.

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

During the scene in The Skeleton Twins movie when Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader lip-synced “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. It cut the tension of a somber and serious movie and brought us back to remembering the best of times even in the worst of times.

Who is your hero?

Every entrepreneur who started from scratch turning their passion into a business.

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

Not one specific mentor.

I have tried to emulate the best traits from many people who have influenced me over the years. Steve Tanner (PGA of America), Darrell Crall (PGA of America), Scott Schultz (USTA), Lee Warner (Mission Pak), Michael Jacobs (Pacific Fruit Processors), Joe Hollday (Hollday and Associates), Jason Friedman (Drive Safer) to name a few.

Where can we find out more about your franchise?


Where can we find your TGA on social media?

@TGAJuniorGolf and @TGAyouthtennis

Thanks for participating Joshua!

Thanks again for the opportunity!


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 Main.TWikiPreferences. For example, to customize the USERAGENTNAME setting, create a HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting in Main.TWikiPreferences.

  • 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

  • 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 TWiki's internal getUrl() method. Default: yes

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

  • Name of user agent. Default: TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21
      * Set USERAGENTNAME = TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21

  • 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)
    • $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

  • Download the ZIP file.
  • Unzip it in your twiki installation directory. Content:
    File: Description:
    data/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.txt plugin topic
    pub/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css default css
    lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.pm plugin perl module
    lib/TWiki/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 TWiki 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, TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2002-2009, Peter Thoeny, TWIKI.NET; 2005-2007, Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v2.3 - 29 Aug 2009
Change History:  
29 Aug 2009: 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: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPluginDev
Appraisal: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPluginAppraisal

-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 29 Aug 2009

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Topic revision: r2 - 2009-08-29 - 21:55:14 - TWikiContributor

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