Headlines Plugin

Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites


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 Jul 2015 17:54:02 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:51:49 +0000 Erin Eagan

TAPinto is a network of locally owned and operated, objective local online and mobile newspaper franchises. TAPinto provides high-quality, non-partisan, hyperlocal news and information to the public in real time in an environmentally friendly format. It is also a community resource that helps to raise awareness about towns, clubs/organizations, religious institutions and local businesses.

We recently spoke with CEO and Publisher of TAPinto, Michael Shapiro, to find out more about the franchise. Shapiro shares the secret to its success, where he sees the franchise headed and what he looks for in potential franchisees.

What's special about the franchise?

TAPinto is a network of award-winning all-online local newspaper franchises. We are the only sustainable and scalable local journalism model in the country. TAPinto is rapidly expanding and filling a void created by hardcopy newspapers that are getting thinner and thinner or going out of business altogether.


What is the idea behind the franchise?

TAPinto franchisees cover the news in their town and sell advertising to local businesses in their town. TAPinto provides the infrastructure for the franchisee, from the site and hosting to services such as invoicing and credit card processing of all advertisers, enabling the franchisees to focus on covering the news and selling advertising. Through the TAPinto network, the franchisees can share content with each other and can sell advertising into each other. Meanwhile, as the network of franchisees grows, regional and other large advertisers can advertise throughout the network of sites. By doing so, TAPinto is forming a content and advertising network that results in high readership and significant revenue for each of our franchisees.

How does it compare to its competition?

TAPinto's main competition are the traditional hardcopy newspapers, most of which have not transitioned to a significant online presence. Those that have are still stuck in their old ''bricks and mortar'' mentality. TAPinto's other competition is one-off sites that typically fail because they do not have the infrastructure, training and support TAPinto provides to its franchisees.

What do you look for in a potential franchisee?

Franchisees should have a good business head on their shoulders and should be connected in their communities. They should also be good networkers and be community-minded. Above all, they should be honest and trustworthy.

Where do you see the franchise in five years?

TAPinto will have over 200 franchises throughout the country in five years and will be a household name in most states. Our local sustainable journalism model will be taught in entrepreneurial journalism classes.

Can you describe a typical day in the life of a franchisee?

We have several models of a typical franchisee. About 70 percent of our franchisees work with a content or sales partner or both. Approximately 30 percent of our franchisees both report on the news and sell advertising to local businesses themselves. If the franchisee works with a content or sales partner or both, the time commitment can range from 5 to 25 hours per week. If the franchisee is reporting on the news and selling the advertising, the time commitment is more like 35 hours per week. So depending on the business model they choose to operate, a typical day either involves covering a local story or two or attending networking events and speaking with local businesses about how TAPinto can help market their business, or both.

What's your background?

I am an attorney. I practiced law in New York City for about five years. When my son was one, we found out he needed open heart surgery. After his successful surgery, I started TAP and a few months later, left my job in the City to work on TAP full-time.

What motivates you to keep going?

TAPinto is not only my business, it's my passion. At a time when newspapers are cutting back on coverage or going out of business, it is critically important for democracy itself for residents to be able to have an objective local newspaper that informs and involves them in their community and government.

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

I would have made better hiring decisions early on and when choosing vendors. I also would have started franchising earlier in the company's life.

Please tell us your secret to success&hellip

Thinking outside of the box. Being approachable, flexible and encouraging ideas and suggestions. Running the company from the bottom-up instead of top-down. Handling criticism constructively. And above all, empowering our people to succeed.

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

When I was in high school, I worked for my local library carting around books during the summer. The cart was really heavy and it was very hot on the upper floor of the library where I was usually working. I learned to really appreciate all of the people who have to perform back-breaking work every day and to be thankful for the opportunities I have been given to do what I'm doing.

What is one trend that really excites you?

The thirst for news, particularly on the local level, is as high as ever. Meanwhile, mobile and digital are both growing at a tremendous pace and the sky's the limit. Both of these factors are good indications for the future success of TAPinto.

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

Facebook enables to me to stay in touch with my friends while being a busy entrepreneur and keep abreast of news.

LinkedIn allows me to stay connected with all of my business contacts.

Google for Business is my email system and I couldn't live without it.

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

Yes, my mentor in high school was my photography teacher, Mr. Schwartz. He was not only hard-working, he always went above and beyond in everything he did and he was always the first to lend a helping hand.

Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster of very high highs and very low lows. Don't let it get to you. Focus on your business, take the good with the bad and always move forward and learn from your mistakes.

Where can people get more information on TAPinto franchise opportunities?

Visit the website here.

Where can people find TAPinto on social media?


Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:43:33 +0000 Erin Eagan

Franchise: Auntie Anne's Pretzels

Franchising Since: 1989

Headquarters: Lancaster, Penn.

Estimated Number of Units: 1,700

About the Franchise

In 1988, “Auntie” Anne Beiler and her husband, Jonas purchased a farmers market stand in Downingtown, Penn. and experimented with a soft pretzel recipe. The rest, as they say, is history.


Auntie Anne’s opened its first franchise location in 1989 and have added a variety of new pretzel flavors, dipping sauces and beverage products since then. Thanks to the fresh, hot, hand-rolled soft pretzels and strong business model, the company has more than 1,700 stores today.

As the world's largest soft pretzel franchise, Auntie Anne's stores can be found in malls, transportation sites, colleges and universities and non-traditional shopping and entertainment centers around the globe.

Financial Assistance

Auntie Anne’s does not offer financing for trade fixtures, opening inventory, or any other purpose. Auntie Anne’s may refer franchisees to leasing or financing companies not affiliated with it. Currently, Auntie Anne's does not guarantee a franchisee's note, lease or obligation. The franchisor has engaged an advisor who will provide consulting services to franchisees to assist them with securing financing and the franchisor will pay the advisor for this assistance to franchisees.

Term of Agreement and Renewal

The length of the initial franchise term is 20 years. The franchisee may also opt to extend the term by paying a $2,000 fee for each year the franchise is extended.

Breakdown of Costs

The following information is compiled from the Franchise Disclosure Document of Auntie Anne's (2015). The FDD will provide you with in-depth information regarding the costs and expenses you can plan to incur when developing a Auntie Anne's franchise.

Franchise Fee: $27,000 to $30,000

Real Estate: Varies

The franchisor expects that the most attractive locations for Shops will be in enclosed retail malls, airports, and travel plazas. The typical location for a Shop is in a high-traffic or retail mall area. Shops typically range in size from 400 to 600 square feet.

Leasehold Improvements, Furniture and Fixtures: $90,000 to $175,000

The costs of construction, leasehold improvements, furniture, and fixtures depend upon the size and condition of the premises, the nature and extent of leasehold improvements required, the local cost of contract work in accordance with local governing authorities, and the location of the Shop.

Equipment & SmallWares: $35,000 to $45,000

Equipment necessary for the operation of a Shop is listed on Auntie Anne's InfoSource website. These purchases are not refundable.

Business Permits and Licenses: $175 to $600

You must obtain and pay for all necessary permits and licenses required to construct and operate your Shop, and these fees are generally not refundable.

Initial Inventory: $3,300 to $4,000

Your initial inventory must be purchased from approved or designated suppliers or according to Auntie Anne's specifications. Initial inventory consists of various food products, beverages, paper products, cleaning supplies, and other supplies utilized in the operation of the Shop as well as other merchandise or products sold by the Shop.

Insurance: $2,000 to $5,000

You must obtain and maintain during the term of your Franchise Agreement, at your expense, a comprehensive business insurance program, including property, commercial general liability, automobile liability, business property, umbrella, employment practices liability, and workers' compensation insurance. This figure estimates the cost of your insurance premiums for your first year of operation based on Auntie Anne's minimum requirements. You should be aware that this cost may increase in the future if Auntie Anne's exercises its right to require you to obtain insurance with higher policy limits.

Training: $1,000 to $7,500

Auntie Anne’s requires that the franchisee sends a minimum of 3 individuals to initial training. The franchisee and initial store manager(s) must attend and successfully complete the training program prior to the opening of the Shop. The training accounts for 50 hours of classroom training and between 24 and 64 hours of on-the-job training. To facilitate the opening of the Auntie Anne’s business, Auntie Anne’s will send one or more of its representatives to the Franchised Business, at Auntie Anne’s expense, for a minimum of two days concurrent with beginning operations.

Grand Opening Advertising: $1,000 to $5,000

You must spend a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000 on a grand opening advertising program for each Shop. In some cases, the grand opening advertising requirements of your landlord may exceed those of Auntie Anne's.

Signage: $4,000 to $12,000

The range of signage costs in the table is typical for most locations; however, the cost of the signage for a kiosk could be as high as $18,000 because of the need for signs on multiple sides of the kiosk.

POS System Equipment: $8,000 to $15,000

Office Equipment and Supplies: $5,000 to $10,000

Professional Fees: $5,000 to $10,000

Auntie Anne's encourages you to, and in some cases you must, employ professionals, such as architects, attorneys, and accountants, to advice you in connection with the purchase and operation of your Shop. These fees will vary significantly depending upon the nature and extent of the advice that you seek, and the level of professional fees charged in your area. These fees are generally not refundable. 

Additional Funds (3 months): $15,000 to $51,000

ESTIMATED TOTAL: $196,475 to $370,100

These figures are estimates in setting up a Auntie Anne's franchise and operating it for three months. It is possible to exceed costs in any of the areas above.


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: © 2002-2010, Peter Thoeny, Twiki, Inc.; 2005-2007, Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v2.6 - 2010-05-16
Change History:  
2010-05-16: TWikibug:Item6433 - more doc improvements
2010-04-25: TWikibug:Item6433 - doc fix: Changing TWIKIWEB to SYSTEMWEB
2010-02-27: TWikibug:Item6313 - fixed bug in ATOM feed with <link ...></link> instead of <link ... /> -- Peter Thoeny
2009-09-30: fixed bug in lastBuildDate of feeds affecting touch parameter functionality -- Peter Thoeny
2009-08-29: 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: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginAppraisal

Related Topics: TWikiPlugins, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences

Topic revision: r1 - 2010-05-17 - TWikiContributor
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