PennPortal: Using RSS code in channels

 

RSS (rich site summary) files allow channel content to be updated dynamically from an external web site you control. Authorization to use RSS code is given to channel managers on an individual basis, not by default. Channel managers who wish to request RSS authorization should contact the portal administrator at pennportal@pobox.upenn.edu.

For an introduction to and tutorial on RSS, see this article from WebReview. For further information see the RSS 0.91 specification and the RSS 1.0 specification.

PennPortal uses a subset of the RSS 0.91 standard tag set so follow these instructions carefully.

 

Preparing RSS files on the source site 
 
 

 

Note: you must type all RSS tags in lower case.

The following list shows the RSS tags currently recognized by PennPortal, their syntax and restrictions:

<rss>
<channel>
<title>[text for title: recommended maximum of 50 characters]</title>
<item>
<title>[text for item title: recommended maximum of 600 characters]</title>
<link>[. . .]</link>
<description>[. . .]</description>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

Here is sample RSS code for a channel with only one item of dynamic content specified:

<rss>
<channel>
<title>Announcements</title>
<item>
<title>Penn Portal Coming!</title>
<link>http://www.upenn.edu/penn_portal</link>
<description>Try out PennPortal, starting Monday 10/21</description>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

 

Inserting RSS code in a channel 
 

Step 1

 

If you are a channel manager authorized to use RSS, the "Insert:" dropdown menu will include an item type called "RSS content." Select it and choose an insertion point as for other types of channel content.

 

 

Step 2  

Enter the URL of the RSS source site. Then choose from the dropdown menu how often you want your channel to reload content from the source site. Choose the longest interval that meets your needs. For example, if your source site is only updated once a day, choose "24 hours" from the menu, not "15 minutes."

You may also, if you wish, specify a title to be displayed in your channel in addition to, or instead of, any title included in the RSS content from the source site.

Click "Save" to preview the display of your code. Note that content must exist on the source web site for PennPortal to incorporate it into your channel.


 

Step 3  

Review the display of your code. If the result is correct, click on the "Commit my Changes" button at the upper right of the channel editor. If not, click on "Edit" beside the displayed item to return to the RSS editor. If you want to start over, click on "Reload from Database" to return your channel to its state when you last committed changes.

From this screen you may choose to insert another item, to edit or create story pages by clicking on "manage stories for this channel", to return to the list of channels to preview your formatted channel, or to click on a tab to return to the user's view of PennPortal.

Note that at this time, RSS feeds cannot be incorporated in PennPortal "story" pages.