Herself's Webtools

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Magpierss allows you to easily build portals

TimesToCome was once a bleeding edge website. The splash page had a black starry background with a javascript ufo flying around as any self respecting cool website did in the 1990s. Times changed, and animations fell from favor so it went static. Over time the designs changed but the splash page remained just a link list to various sections of the website. TimesToCome was late moving to a blog setup. It is even later in becoming a portal, but better late than never.

RSS feeds can be used to create portals or to being live, current information to your blogs. Magpierss is built into WordPress. So you can easily use it to bring your other blogs rss feeds into your main blog, or to bring breaking news in your subject area to your blog with a custom rss.

TimesToCome was broken up and spread across eight blogs when I modernized it. The portal grabs the rss feeds from all eight blogs using magpierss.

If you need to install magpierss download it and follow the directions in the “INSTALL” file. It was the simplest install of any web software I’ve look at yet.

Be very sure to follow the directions to set up the cache. If you do not then every time the page loads it will grab fresh copies of the feeds slowing it down as well as any sites it is pulling rss feeds from.

Included in magpie are a README file and a cookbook file. Both contain examples of how to use magpierss. You can just cut and paste the examples and change the names to protect the innocent.

If you are pulling a bunch of feeds and using more than the links, be sure to leave lots of white space in your layout. I’m not a design person. The design took me about four times as long to put together as did the code. But it is simple to remember to use large margins and lots and lots of white space to make things legible. I also used the Coppermine script I wrote as a WordPress plugin to bring in three feeds of latest photos to the portal. It breaks up all the text.

So in summery, if you want to build a portal or incorporate live rss into your site use magpierss. If you are using WordPress it is already installed you just need to read the directions.

TimesToCome portal splash page. I refer to it as ‘The Wonder of me page’. ;D

Herself’s Green Things carries just the garden and houseplant blog rss feeds and photos.