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How to Import and Export RSS Feeds

Wednesday 20 August 2008 9:14:00 pm

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This article is a step-by-step guide on setting up RSS imports and exports in eZ Publish. In addition to providing detailed, illustrated walk-throughs, this article also provides a basis for understanding what RSS is about, why it is used, and how it may be of value for your website or business clients.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML web standard used to distribute information about a website's content to other websites and Internet users. This involves the process shown below.

An overview of how RSS is used

RSS feeds are usually accessed and processed automatically at set time intervals, such as each hour or each day. In this way, they can deliver a constant stream of changing and up-to-date information.

With eZ Publish, you can import RSS feeds from other websites and include them on your eZ Publish site. You can also create RSS feeds of any of your site content – such as articles, blog entries, and forum entries – to be included on other sites, accessible to RSS readers, and more.

Getting the most out of RSS

There is a large number of RSS feeds available via the Internet. However, the fact that RSS is technically possible does not automatically mean it will be valuable for your business, clients, or website visitors. Some useful things to do include:

  • Asking website visitors what other websites they find useful (then check if these have RSS feeds worth importing to your site)
  • Checking similar or competitor websites to see how they use RSS
  • Thinking about what evidence there would be that RSS feeds are useful for your business and visitors. For examples consider concrete metrics such as leads, hits, and in-bound and out-bound clicks.

If it is not clear why and how particular RSS imports or exports are of value, then chances are, your clients and visitors will not be either. In a nutshell, it is worth considering the “why” questions before getting on to the “how to” questions.

Article prerequisites

Note that this article assumes that you have administrator-like permissions in order to access the Setup tab in the Administration Interface. For information about the general layout of the Administration Interface, see this article or the eZ Publish Content Management Basics book. You should also have some basic experience with eZ Publish templates, configuration files, and the object-oriented content model.

This article uses examples with eZ Publish version 4.0, but is also relevant for earlier versions.

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