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/ ) is a good site listing 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
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


  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="3"}%

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

Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:41:26 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:41:26 +0000 Erin Eagan

Rockin' Jump is a family-friendly, indoor trampoline park with over with arenas for open jumping, dodgeball, basketball, a foam pit and private party rooms. Aaron Bakken has been Franchise Sales Director for Rockin' Jump since 2010, and as of the last year, he is also a co-owner of a Rockin' Jump in Madison, WI.

We recently spoke with Bakken about his experience in starting a franchise. We learned how he went about location selection, what he would do differently if given the chance and how potential competitors eventually became his business partners. This one is a must-read for potential franchisees.

How long have you owned a franchise?

One year.


What were you doing before becoming a franchise owner?

Selling franchises.

Why did you choose your franchise?

I've been working with Rockin' Jump since its inception in 2010. I eventually moved into a role as their Franchise Sales Director and began to realize that I would be a much better advocate for the brand if I owned a park of my own (not to mention I wanted to get in on the potential long-term return on investment I'd been pitching to and seeing my franchisees earning).

What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your franchise?

Getting everything organized. There are so many moving parts to getting one of these parks opened successfully. Also, I have business partners, and we haven't always seen eye to eye on how to manage everything. It's taken some time for us to settle in to a routine and a process for making decisions on how to run the park.

Where did you research or get advice about starting a franchise?

Well, my situation is unique since I'm part of the brand already. While I understood the marketing and operations pieces well, I really needed to understand the financing and operating financials at a deeper level. I worked with my local bank and a couple of mentors to create and assess my pro forma financial projections and to understand how to best leverage my financing options. My partners and I also had to look hard at my local market area and assess the real estate options available to me for a park. Our market has a population that is just big enough that a competitor might think they could make a go of it despite my park already being in place. However, the economic realities of the region would result in both parks generating average results at best - the region just isn't big enough for two parks. So my location selection had to be strategic and the type and size of park needed to be very competitor unfriendly. We received a lot of advice from the Rockin' Jump corporate team and our local real estate agent. Ultimately, we chose to build a brand new structure in order to best leverage a centralized location that would make it difficult for future competitors to put adequate distance between our respective parks without being way outside of the city limits and therefore inconvenient for a majority of Madison's residents.

How much did you spend before your doors were officially opened?

$1.7 million.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I handle the marketing functions of our franchise location and serve as a back-up operations manager to my majority ownership partner, who is currently serving as our general manager. I spend a lot of time searching for marketing opportunities that are cost-effective and that will get us in front of as many locals as possible. Many of the offsite promotional events available to us are on weekends, so despite being a behind the scenes partner, I still have a number of responsibilities on nights and weekends - which is inherent to the main operation of the business (something franchisees need to be aware of - this is a nights and weekends business during the school year). I also spend a good amount of time at the park talking with our guests in an effort to develop more ideas on how to reach our community of potential guests.

What is your secret to success?

Organization and regular meetings with my partners. As stated previously, there are a lot of moving parts to running a 25,000+ square-foot park with 90 part-time employees. Creating a schedule, staying organized and having clear set responsibilities between our three partners has been a key part of keeping this park a success. The same can be said if I were a sole owner and have a few managers vs. partners. Clear communication and expectation setting/follow through with our staff is also essential.

What would you do differently if you had to do it all over?

Partnerships are difficult if the partners don't see eye to eye on key matters of operations, financing and marketing. While going it alone would be a lot more work, I some days wonder if it would have been a better choice (and I'm sure my partners sometimes feel the same way). In the end, our occasional divergence of opinions has also been an asset and helped us avoid some potentially bad decisions/investments in the business. So it's a double-edged sword, I suppose.

Where do you see your business in five years?

I anticipate our debt will be paid off in 3-3.5 years and we will be through our first partial remodel/brand update at that point. We'll have well-established local partnerships and will be primarily focused more on retaining our existing guest list than building awareness of our existence. I also would like to be involved in a second and perhaps a third regional park by then.

What is one trend that really excites you?

The evolution of social media as a communications and promotional platform for local businesses.

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

  • Facebook is our primary online/social media tool to interact with our guests. I find Facebook to be very easy to leverage via boosting posts and setting up easy ad campaigns. Facebook makes geo-targeted marketing a cinch.
  • Our website is an ever-evolving online resource and I continue to search for ways to make our site's content more useful.
  • We have over 10,000 people coming through our doors monthly, 60% of which are new customers (on average). As a result, our list of email subscribers has grown quickly. We send out a bi-weekly newsletter and have found that our engagement levels are huge when compared to industry averages. So we put a lot of thought into the offers and info we put into our email campaigns.

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

I do indeed. I have a few. You need impartial advice when making big decisions. Friends and family are usually too close to the situation to give you objective suggestions.

What advice do you have for others looking to own a franchise?

Pick something you really want to do and don't limit yourself to only concepts you can afford. Just because a quick food, dry cleaning, pest inspection or froyo concept might be a lower investment entry point, and therefore seem like the only options available to you given your personal finances, doesn't necessarily mean one of them is the right choice for you or the only choice available. I've been amazed at how many people are interested in investing in a smart business concept, but have no interest in being involved in the operations. Think big, think outside of your comfort zone and work your network of potential investors. Don't settle for a dull concept. Do something you really want to do and find people to back you in the venture if you need extra $$ in order to do so. You're going to work hard regardless of the franchise you choose, so it may as well be something you really have a passion for.

Would you recommend others be franchisees? Why?

I've started five other businesses in the past 15 years. Some were successful for a time, and some not at all. All of them were from the ground up - no template, no support, just hard work and trial and error. That process has proven to be exhausting and at times heart wrenching when it doesn't work out. Franchising makes starting a business so much easier. It's no guarantee you'll be successful, but I can say that having a franchisor/franchisee network of support, paired with the upfront intellectual property and project management provided by the franchisor, will make your chances infinitely greater than striking out on your own.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I mentioned earlier the strategic nature of my real estate and location search process. Why this ended up being so important was proven to me near the end of my search for a location. I was a day or two from signing a lease for a property and launching my own park - I had no operating partners. I received a call from our trampoline equipment manufacturer indicating that he'd been contacted by a duo that were planning to bring an independently branded park to Madison. And their preferred location was only five miles away. Bad news for both of us.

Fearing that our respective year-plus of planning was about to be seriously jeopardized, I agreed to meet with this independent park team to discuss the market and our plans. There was some proverbial chest pounding about who was going to have a better park, but ultimately we came to the same conclusion: Madison isn't a big enough market for two parks. We began talking in detail about how we could work together, and tried to quickly get to know one another. I agreed to come in as a 20% investor and manage our marketing, while one member of the duo would be the primary owner (62%) and the main operating partner, with the third partner (at 18%) serving as our construction and facilities manager. They agreed to join me in my franchise program and I agreed to open a park at their preferred location and to follow some of their property layout and interior design plans.

In the end, it hasn't been a perfect marriage, but we're all going to benefit far more financially, with less risk, by having pooled our resources and our experience. Ultimately, we've built a bigger and better park than any competitor would be prudent to consider trying to out do. 

Where can people get more information on Rockin' Jump franchise opportunities?

Visit the website here.

Where can people find your Rockin' Jump on social media?



Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:49:38 +0000 Erin Eagan

Every year sees new trends in franchise development and marketing. Corporate leaders are constantly on the lookout for new technologies and strategies that can improve marketing for local franchisees while saving money for everyone involved. This year is no different, and many franchises are instituting new measures to streamline marketing. This applies both to the newer franchises with less than 100 locations, and the larger franchises with as many as 500 locations.


Marketing is crucial for every franchisee and potential franchisee. A franchisor that provides marketing help and assistance can dramatically lower the time and money it takes to advertise your business, helping you find a steady supply of customers in a short amount of time. Many who are just starting out as franchisees have little experience with marketing and come from a management or operations background. For these people it's especially important that they understand how the franchise provides marketing support and assistance.

Local Franchise Marketing Software

Many of the largest franchises are utilizing special software that allows them to keep the corporate marketing team very small. With this software, the franchisor can create all kinds of marketing elements and materials. These documents and products are then sent to franchisees that can use the software to easily customize the messaging, so that it fits the local market. This software is becoming more and more common because it helps franchises maintain some brand consistency while also letting local franchisees create targeted and effective marketing materials.

Franchisee Outreach is Increasing, But It's Increasing Slowly

Before selecting a franchise, you should always research how the corporate offices provide marketing support to local franchises and what type of support it is. Even now, about 25% of franchisors offer little or no marketing assistance to local franchisees. They have no local marketing plans, and this means franchisees basically have to fend for themselves. Many of these franchisors are realizing why this puts them at a disadvantage, and this is slowly changing. If you want a franchisor that provides marketing plans for you, make sure you select one that has local marketing strategies and resources.

Moving Towards More Measurement of ROI

Another problem with many franchises' marketing plans is that they are not measured for their value and effectiveness. More than one-third of franchisors do not measure ROI of local marketing efforts, and this makes it impossible to find out if franchisees are doing a good job. The franchises that are providing more comprehensive marketing and analysis are helping their franchisees advertise more effectively.


Reducing Lead Generation of Franchisees

Did you know that about 25% of franchisees spend half of their time on marketing and lead generation? This is an incredible number, and it is shocking people across the franchising industry. Many of these individuals have little experience with local marketing, and instead of spending time providing goods and services, they have to devote all of their time to finding new customers. With all of the improvements and changes going on with franchise marketing, this number will hopefully start to go down. Franchises are trying to provide more support, so that their franchisees can focus on what they do best - serve customers.

Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:43:59 +0000 Erin Eagan

Recently at CVX Live in Utah, crowds of YouTube fans flocked to see all of their favorite celebrities, including the creators of VidAngel.

Four brothers - Neal, Jeffrey, Daniel and Jordan Harmon - are the brains behind VidAngel, filtering software that helps families choose what they filter in movies and television shows.


If you haven't heard of them or of VidAngel, maybe you've seen the promo commercial they created for VidAngel that has over 1.3 million views. The commercial uses paintballs splattering on a family to represent the rise of the use of swearing in movies - from 1939's Gone With the Wind and one splatter for the use of the word ''damn'' to 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street's over 700 paint splatters.

VidAngel, which boasts ''Movies Minus The Bosoms, Blood and Bad Words,” works with current TV shows and movies that users through VidAngel's website. They can then use the filters that VidAngel provides to cut out all the swearing, violence and sex, truly customizing their experience. Or they can watch a video purchased through VidAngel that is fully unfiltered. The choice is up to the consumer. The software has advanced features such as, for swearing, it will just mute the one channel of audio that contains the swearing, and not the other sounds or dialogue.


VidAngel hopes to grow until the point where the company is able to stream their own content like Netflix and continue improving the user experience, including being able to tag films and become part of the filtering process.

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: v2.21 - 12 Feb 2009
Change History:  
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 - 12 Jan 2009
-- TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum - 13 Sep 2007

Topic revision: r1 - 2009-02-13 - 03:55:45 - TWikiContributor
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