The FeedSlider uses some quite complicated code behind the scenes, which can be used to read a raw feed and convert the Atom or RSS code into reusable HTML code. FeedSlider can be used with most common types of Atom or RSS feeds, however those which contain invalid XML code are less likely to work. If you plan on using the FeedSlider stack in conjunction with a specific feed, it would certainly be worthwhile downloading and trying the free demo version first. From tests done by other users, it was found that the FeedSlider stack has about a half-and-half success rate.

Examples

Recent articles from a blog

A Flickr photostream

 

Setup

  1. Once installed, drag and drop a FeedSlider stack into your page.
  2. In the settings panel on the righthand side, enter the URL of the feed you wish to use.
  3. Any of the other settings presented relating to style and layout can be changed as well (if required).
Important You will not be able to preview the FeedSlider stack in RapidWeaver. Instead you should either export your site locally to a server environment (e.g. MAMP) or publish the website online to see it working. If the feed cannot be found, the word 'null' will flash in the FeedSlider stack.

You can safely use more than one FeedSlider stack on the same page, and it is also possible to @import the FeedSlider stack into another page, a slider or a header region. The page file extension can be left as .html in the RapidWeaver Site Setup window. Generally the FeedStack will parse and present each item with a title, date and content. You have options to switch any of these items off, if they are surplus to requirements. A basic array of style settings are provided - these override any styles the RapidWeaver theme you're using may be trying to apply. You can style the FeedSlider yourself using the .feedSlider selector name. If you want to apply styling to individual feed items, the .feedItemWrapper selector name can be used in your code.

When a page using FeedSlider is printed, all of the cycling items within FeedSlider will be shown on the print or PDF output.

System requirements

This stack makes use of a PHP proxy to enable you to pull in feeds from an outside website (normally Javascript is sandboxed and cannot access content from other domains). Therefore you will need to have a server with support for PHP5 or later. Most hosting companies do support PHP, however MobileMe does not, and you may find that cheaper hosts like GoDaddy, NamesCo or 1&1 use odd configurations of PHP or charge you extra for PHP. If in doubt, contact your hosting company to find out if they support PHP, and if so, which version.

Getting an RSS feed URL

Getting a URL for a feed sounds easy, but it is slightly difficult, depending on how you have got your computer configured to handle XML feeds like RSS. Often clicking a feed link in a web browser will automatically subscribe you to the feed or open it in an external viewer (ultimately hiding the URL from you). In such instances, you may need to try a different web browser like Firefox or Opera which handle feeds differently. Some RSS software like NetNewsWire will display a feed URL when you are about to subscribe to a new feed.

To get the URL of an existing feed you have already subscribed to in NetNewsWire, select the feed name from the sidebar on the left. Click the Show Info button in the top toolbar (or CMD + i). In the new window which opens, click on the URL disclosure triangle and then copy the feed URL presented (CMD + C). Here are two feed URL's you can experiment with:

RapidWeaver Central Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/228745141.rss
A Flickr photostream: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/geo/?g=1657175@N23&lang=en-us

An important note about copyright

In effect, the FeedSlider is lifting content from another website, modifying it, and then embedding it within your website. So you would be wise to always get permission from the website generating the feed, and seek their approval that it's OK to reuse the feed in your website. That will safeguard against any copyright disputes arising and allow the original author to know where his or her content is being displayed. Likewise many feeds which you think are public (such as news or travel information) are actually copyright-protected and you may be prevented from re-transmitting this information. Of course if you are just going to reuse your own content in the FeedSlider, then you have nothing to fear from the copyright police ;-)
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