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:

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:00:07 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:53:31 +0000 Erin Eagan

Bubble soccer, also called bumper soccer or flopperball, is a growing trend. It's safe, hilariously entertaining to watch and even more fun to play.

Much like traditional soccer, the sport involves kicking a ball into a goal, except in bubble soccer, the players are wearing large plastic bubbles that surround their heads, arms and torso. The objective of bubble soccer is to score against your opponent's net and knock each other down while trying.


A reflection of the sport’s growth is evident in the membership of the U.S. Bubble Soccer Association, an alliance of leagues and independent operators throughout the country. The association that had five members last summer has more than 100 today.

Now, bubble soccer companies are popping up everywhere you look. As entrepreneurs, we need to try to fill gaps in the marketplace, and the following three have done just that in their communities:

Battle Balls in Chicago, Illinois - Owner Pedro Moore envisioned a bright future for bubble soccer when he first saw a video of it on Facebook. Bump N Play provides for all types of events: birthdays, bachelorette/bachelor parties, fundraisers, leagues, corporate events or team building exercises, Greek events and the list goes on.

Bump N Play in Middletown, Delaware - Owned by Pedro Moore, Bump N Play provides for all types of events: birthdays, bachelorette/bachelor parties, fundraisers, leagues, corporate events or team building exercises, Greek events and the list goes on.

Isthmus Bubble Soccer in Madison, Wisconsin - At 25, Christie Low quit her job at at Epic Systems to start Isthmus Bubble Soccer, serving Madison and its surrounding communities.


Bubble soccer is hotter than ever with no signs of slowing down. What about your community? Is there bubble soccer marketplace gap to fill in? Your success story could be next.

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:56:35 +0000 Erin Eagan

Painting With a Twist pairs instructional art with friends, wine and a lively instructor to produce individual works of art. In just five years, Painting with a Twist, along with its 236 franchise locations, has produced and owns the copyright to over 3,500 pieces of art. Each artwork was conceptualized and executed by the instructors with the idea of being an easy to follow piece of art for the inexperienced painter. 

We recently spoke with Michelle Lewis, owner of two Painting With a Twist franchises and a third one opening later this fall. Lewis dishes on the secrets to her success, what she would do differently and she shares the story of one of her most special customers.

How long have you owned a franchise?

Since September 2010. My first location was Ferndale, Mich. - 2010; second location was Farmington, Mich. - 2012; and third location in downtown Detroit coming this fall 2015.


What were you doing before becoming a franchise owner?

I was practicing architecture with several local firms. My career led me to a temporary stint in New Orleans following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster where I was involved in disaster recovery. While in New Orleans, I discovered Painting with a Twist (formally known as Corks n Canvas) with a good friend and became a frequent customer.

Why did you choose your franchise?

I enjoyed painting at the studio, so while in New Orleans it began to feel “right” for me. It felt like my destiny, I was at the right place and it was the right time for me to become this franchisee.

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

The most challenging obstacle was local municipalities/cities that were not accepting to our BYOB concept. Also, it was a challenge being the first establishment in Michigan of its kind with this concept and spreading the word to educate customers about who and what we are. 

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

Before I pursued this endeavor I was a frequent painter at the corporate studios in New Orleans. This gave me insight on what Painting with a Twist was about. Often I would chat to the wonderful studio artists who suggested I talk to one of the nearby franchisees regarding their experience.

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

I invested about $60,000 to open my doors.  

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day does not exist for me! Every day is filled with a variety of items/tasks. Some new, some old, some outrages, some fun and some not so fun and some mind-blowing (but in a very good way). But all in all; it's nothing but rewarding.

What is your secret to success? 

There are no secrets in my success, but I will say a few things that I feel contributed to my success are:

1) Being a student of the studio. Frequently painting and enjoying every minute of the experience that I possibly could before I thought about investing in a franchise.

2) Hard work, although I’m still learning how to work smarter at it. I’m willing to do whatever the studio needs to be successful, i.e. staying up all night to create a PWAT newsletter, assisting in the studio and washing brushes to even teaching a class if caught in a pinch and there is no artist available.

3) Being observant, watching and listening to customers likes, dislikes, feedback, patterns etc. Also doing the same with staff.

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

Not much. However, I would truly be more organized and would have built an early team relationship with the corporate office.

Where do you see your business in five years?

I honestly don’t have an answer for that. I hoped but never actually envisioned my business to be quite this successful. The success of my business is light years ahead of my business plan so at this point I can’t fathom what the next five years may hold.  I do hope and anticipate that within the next five years my business will help to positively change the lives of my family as it has my life.

What is one trend that really excites you? 

There are too many to just pick one.

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

1) Facebook - I love it because it is the new form of word-of-mouth. It reaches so many people in such a short period of time and allows exciting interaction that our customers seem to enjoy.

2) Constant Contact - This is an effective advertising tool that also reaches many people in a short period of time.

3) My handy-dandy picture collage app from my iPhone. I don’t even recall the exact name of it. It is very useful for putting together an ad or creative image when you need it quickly and you are a little technically challenged with all of the apps, programs and technology out today. It’s simple, fast and easy.

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

Formally, I did not have a mentor. However, I have since been fortunate to come into contact with individuals that I can look up to and hopefully become part of their professional/business circle.

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

Make realistic goals; make unrealistic goals. By doing this now you have a gauge to measure yourself. Determine what you want out of the franchise, determine if you’re willing to give what it takes to the franchise.

Would you recommend others be franchisees? Why?

Yes, there are still untapped markets waiting to explode with the PWAT concept. Similar to my market when I first opened, it could be very successful if someone is willing to put in the work.

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

Since opening my studio doors it has been heartwarming to see how we have touched so many people in such a special way. I hoped but never imagined that our studio would create such joyful and awesome experiences with our customers. It’s almost like my customers are a reflection of me and feel the special things that I felt when I always painted in the New Orleans studio. This makes me feel a special connection with my customers that paint with us.

I remember one Halloween when we had a small group painting in our studio for an open class and there was a mother with her son and daughter painting together near the front of the room. They were very quiet and a bit reserved. I was a bit silly this day as I had on my Halloween costume and tried to engage them in the class. Following this day the mother enrolled in future classes sometimes with her mother, children, husband or even by herself. My staff and I got to know her well. She became a frequent painter and has even held several fundraising events at our studios. One day she wrote a lengthy message on Facebook that is one of the most touching stories of all our customers. She had been very depressed and withdrawn because of her recent diagnosis with breast cancer. Her first visit to our studio was like a breath of fresh air for her. It was the start of her coming out of her depression. She came back to our studio for more and what she found was happiness, solitude, friends, fun times and laughter. This made a positive change in her personal life with her husband and entire family. Now our staff considers her a part of our PWAT family.

Where can people get more information on Painting With a Twist franchise opportunities?

Visit the website here.

Where can people find Painting With a Twist on social media?


Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:01:28 +0000 Erin Eagan

No matter how long you have been a franchise operator or have been following the industry, franchising continues to change. The lists of the most profitable franchises, the fastest-growing and the trendiest are different every year. Additionally, the common wisdom regarding how to choose a franchise and how to successfully operate one continues to update and change as well. Staying on top of all of these developments can be difficult, but in the end it's worth it. One thing that hasn't changed - opening a franchise can be a tremendously profitable business decision.


Multi-Concept Franchisees

In the past, franchisors typically preferred franchisees that did not have other types of franchises already. They wanted new operators who they could mold in their own image, and they wanted people who would focus exclusively on their franchise and brand. This has largely changed in the last decade or so. Franchises want new franchisees that have experience operating a franchise, even if it's a competing franchise or something completely unrelated. The experience and business skills gained from operating another franchise are highly sought after for new franchisees.

Calorie Counting

The Food and Drug Administration will require restaurants with 20 or more locations to provide nutritional information starting in November 2015. All establishments that qualify will have to provide accurate and detailed nutritional information, and it will have to be prominently displayed on menus and displays. It's still hard to say how this will affect consumer choices. Will customers who have been eating french fries for years suddenly start getting salads? The new rule's effect on restaurants will largely depend on the healthfulness of individual items and the type of customer base they have.

Is Crowdfunding the Next Frontier?

One of the oldest and most common challenges facing franchisors and franchisees is in raising enough funding to start up or expand the business. In recent years, crowdfunding has started to get interested in the franchise space, and many franchises are now benefitting from the funding they are receiving from part-time entrepreneurs on the Internet. Many of the biggest crowdfunding sites have already started working with franchises including: TopLine, LiftForward, ApplePie Capital, and DealStruck. Using crowdfunding could help franchisees and franchisors grow much more rapidly than was possible in the past, but what are the new risks from tapping into this funding?

Targeting the Next Generation

As we move into a new cohort of consumers, it always shakes up the market in unexpected ways. The top franchises of today are very different from those from 20 years ago, and the top franchises in 10 years will depend on how consumer tastes change and stay the same. Recent examples include the frozen yogurt fad and the sharp rise in fitness centers and gyms.


At the same time, franchisors are doing their best to update their images and their marketing, so that they can attract the young entrepreneurs that can help them grow their businesses. Operator experience will be crucial for franchise growth in the future, but so will an understanding of new trends and modern technologies.

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
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platformCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback
Note: Please contribute updates to this topic on TWiki.org at TWiki:TWiki.HeadlinesPlugin