in english (en)
 DEALs 
 RSS DREAMFEEDER   RSS REPLAY 
 SOCIALINK 
 ARTICLEs 
 RONs BLOG 
 SUPPORT 
 PR & MEDIA 
 CORPORATE 

 

RSS Replay Help

For RSS Replay version 1.6
Last Updated on Thu, March 6, 2009


Contents

  1. Known Issues
  2. Browser Support & AJAX
  3. Server-Side Issues
  4. RSS Format Notes
  5. Installing RSS Replay
  6. Placing RSS Content (an RSS Replay) in Your Dreamweaver Layout
  7. Inspecting an RSS Replay
  8. Defining Sources of RSS Content
  9. Methods of Retrieving RSS Content
  10. Formatting an RSS Replay
  11. Previewing/Playing an RSS Replay
  12. Advanced Formatting
  13. Tutorial
  14. Registering RSS Replay

Known Issues

The following are known errors or bugs in RSS Replay. We are steadily working on resolving these issues, but thought that RSS Replay was useful enough to be issued as it stands today. We hope to have these issues addressed in upcoming versions. If you encounter problems other than these please email us at support at rnsoft.com.

Preview in Dreamweaver.
When previewing in Dreamweaver, RSS Replay sometimes displays a Dreamweaver HTTP error even after the sources are confirmed. This can be caused by Dreamweaver deciding that it has taken too long to gather the RSS feeds. If the sources are correct addresses for remote RSS feeds Dreamweaver may still download these files and cache them. If you simply wait a moment for the downloads to complete, then turn the preview off and then back on, you may discover that the content has been properly download and is previewing correctly.

RSS Replay Inspector problems with Undo.
The property inspector of RSS Replay may not reflect the current state of the object after the user issues an Undo command. The Undo command does change the source code of the document to its previous state but the inspector does not appear to update itself. This can be corrected by changing the selection within the document, and then reselecting the RSS Replay object.

Preview in Browser with Temporary Files.
When using the Preview in Browser command, if you have your preferences set to use Temporary Files for previewing, Dreamweaver will display the RSS Replay in the same way it is displayed in your Dreamweaver Layout -- regardless of what browser you choose to use. That's because the preview is calculated by Dreamweaver, not by the browser, and the content is translated before it gets to the browser. So you should probably check the real file, and not the temporary one, in your browsers.


Browser Support & AJAX

RSS Replay relies on AJAX technology (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) to place RSS content onto your layout. AJAX doesn't work in all browsers. We've done as much as we can to make it degrade gracefully for browsers that are not supported. You should carefully consider which browsers are relevant to the market you choose to serve with your website. The following browsers have been tested and are known to work with RSS Replay.

Internet Explorer: 5.5, 6, 7, 8
Firefox: 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0
Netscape: 6.0, 7.0, 8.0
Safari: 1.2, 2.0, 3.0


Server-Side Issues

If you decide to replay feeds from another website you need to choose a method that uses a server-based proxy. This is because browsers will not request content that is outside of the current page's domain. The server-based proxies are provided in PHP and ASP. The server-based proxy (rssReplayProxy.asp/php) will cache any content into a directory (rssReplayProxyCache) in order to keep remote traffic to a minimum and to reduce server-load on RSS sources.

In previous versions of RSS Replay, Caching posed a small but real security risk in that remote system could ask to cache RSS files that are large, or from many sources, because Replay allowed bare URL passing. This also made RSS Replay incompatible with the modSecurity Apache module. With version 1.6 all URLs are stored internally in the proxy script and only those URLs may be requested by common ID. URLs are no longer passed, substantially relieving security concerns over this script.

However, if you are at all concerned about the caching risk you can change the code of the rssReplayProxy file to disable this feature.

Open the file and find a line that looks like this (it should be near the top)
neverCache=false

Change "false" to "true" so it looks like this
neverCache=true


RSS Format Notes

RSS Replay supports both of the primary formats for content syndication: RSS and Atom. We currently support the following versions of the formats and will continue to add more formats as newer versions of these tools become available.

RSS Versions: 0.91, 0.92, 1.0, 2.0

Atom Versions: 0.3, 1.0


Installing RSS Replay

Use the Extension Manager to install the RSS Replay Extension.

RSS Replay installs several components across multiple directories in the Configuration directory for Dreamweaver (Commands, Inspectors, Objects/Media, Translators and the bulk of files in Shared). On multiuser systems each user has their own Configuration folder, and each user will have to install RSS Replay separately.

Extension Manager Issues

Several people have had problems with installing RSS Replay because of problems with Extension Manager. The problem stems from the fact that Extension Manager doesn't always recognize all the other programs that are installed, even though it is supposed to manage their extensions. If you are having this problem you will notice that the application selection popup in Extension Manager does not list your version of Dreamweaver. Because it doesn't know that it is supposed to manage Dreamweaver files it will not install the RSS Replay extension.

The solution for this problem requires following a few simple steps:

  1. Quit Extension Manager
  2. Launch Dreamweaver and leave it running
  3. Launch Extension Manager. It should now list your copy of Dreamweaver in its applications popup.
  4. Quit Dreamweaver
  5. Now you can install RSS Replay

Placing RSS Content (an RSS Replay) in Your Dreamweaver Layout

RSS Replay is a page object (translated javascript) that you may include in your pages just like you include flash movies. You can insert an RSS Replay object using the menu command or the Insert panel.

Via Menu: Insert > Media > RSS Replay

Via Insert Panel's Media Section (DW MX)

Via Insert Panel (DW 8)

The RSS Replay content is represented on the page with this icon . This icon represents a set of JavaScript commands that are placed in the source of the document. Selecting the icon displays the RSS Replay Inspector which allows you to modify the JavaScript's settings.


Inspecting an RSS Replay

The RSS Replay content is represented on the page with this icon . This icon represents a set of JavaScript commands that are placed in the source of the document. Selecting the icon displays the RSS Replay Inspector which allows you to modify the JavaScript's settings.

The RSS Replay Inspector adheres to standard Dreamweaver inspector behaviors for the small buttons on the right. These are: the circle-enclosed question mark in the top right corner displays help; the yellow tag with the pencil edits the source code; the disclosure triangle on the bottom-right hides the lower half of the inspector display (to save screen space).

  1. Object ID
    Identifier for each RSS Replay object. This is really important -- each RSS Replay must be unique on the page. So if you put multiple RSS Replays on your page make sure to give each a unique name.
  2. Number of Stories
    The maximum number of stories to display. If empty or 0, all stories are displayed. If the feed has less than that many stories, then only the number available within the feed can be displayed. I can't just make up stories to get to the number you want.
  3. Content Sources (RSS Sources)
    Define which RSS feeds to use as the source of the content you want to Replay. You may have multiple sources for a single Replay. For more on sources see the section of the FAQ on Defining Sources of RSS Content.
  4. Headline/Title CSS Class
    The headline or title of the feed can be displayed using a CSS style (if the format you specified provides it). This menu allows you to select which style to give it.
  5. Story/Description CSS Class
    The story or description of the feed can be displayed using a CSS style (if the format you specified provides it). This menu allows you to select which style to give it.
  6. Format (Control Content Display)
    Select how you want to display the content from a list of pre-built methods, or create your own formatting. For more on formatting see the section of the FAQ on Formatting or Advanced Formatting.
  7. Script Methodology
    The methodology being used to display the content on the page. For local feeds (feeds on your own website) any method will do. However, for feeds replayed from remote websites you should choose the method that is available on your webserver (ASP/PHP). For more on methods see the section of the FAQ on Methods of Retrieving RSS Content.
  8. About RSS Replay
    The about button displays a dialog with content about your version of RSS Replay, including edition, version number, and other information. When you are finished reviewing this information press the "OK" button at the right of the dialog to dismiss it.
  9. Register RSS Replay
    The register button displays a dialog with a field where you can enter and validate your registration number for RSS Replay. When you are finished entering this information press the "OK" button at the right of the dialog to dismiss it. This will confirm the registration number and unlock the JavaScript files used to create RSS Replay. For more on registering see the section of the FAQ on Registering RSS Replay.
  10. Cache the RSS Feeds
    If you are using a method that collects remote feeds you can request that the proxy cache that content. Caching is useful because it minimizes server loads and network traffic, so its a good idea to use it. If caching is enabled, RSS replay will store the cached content in a folder called rssReplayProxyCache on the server.
  11. Suppress Error Messages
    In some cases, for example when there are errors retrieving feed content, RSS Replay will display those errors within the layout of the page. These messages are useful when creating and verifying that a Replay is working. However, these messages might be distracting to your readers, so you may want to suppress them once you have confirmed that your settings are correct.
  12. Lifetime/Time to Live for Cached Files
    If you have specified caching for your Replay you might also want to specify how long the cache files can live. TTL (time to live) is measure in minutes. So if you want a fresh copy of the feed every 2 hours, you'd enter 120. If you don't enter a value, the default of 4 hours is used.
  13. Play/Preview the RSS Replay
    RSS Replay can preview the content it will generate in the Dreamweaver layout. Press this button to see the results of your settings rather than the little Replay icon.
  14. Sort Order
    RSS Replay will sort feed entries by their date and will display them based on this setting. You may choose to have the newest content at the top of the list (normal RSS content display) or the oldest content at the top (for RSS feeds of calendars/events).



Defining Sources of RSS Content

Click the "RSS Sources" button in the RSS Replay Inspector and you will be presented with a dialog box that allows you to enter the sources of RSS content to be replayed on your website.

An RSS Replay may have multiple sources of RSS content. All content is sorted by date (if the feed has data information) and then sorted in reverse chronological order -- so the newest content comes to the top of the display. Of course, the more sources you have the longer it will take to collect the content and display it.

To add a new source of RSS content press the Plus ("+") button. A new entry will be added to the list. Modify the content of that entry. Make sure you have the URLs correct, and for remote feeds be sure to specify the "http://" part. For now, only HTTP is supported. More protocols may be added later if you request them.


Methods of Retrieving RSS Content

There are three methods of retrieving RSS content and the one you choose depends on where the content you want to Replay resides and on what languages your web server supports.

If your feed sources are RSS feeds on your own website then they are considered local. Local content (content that has the same domain as the current page) can be requested directly. However, browsers do not allow remote content to be requested. To circumvent this limitation a proxy that is local must be used to request remote information and present it as if it were local. The proxy is a server-side script and have been provided in ASP and PHP variants (more will be provided in future versions of RSS Replay if you ask for them - send an email to support at rnsoft.com).

  1. AJAX/JavaScript (local feeds only)
    Use this option if you are Replaying only local feeds from your own website.
  2. AJAX+ASP Proxy (feeds anywhere)
    Use this option if you are Replaying remote feeds (feeds from other people's websites) and your webserver supports ASP.
  3. AJAX+PHP Proxy (feeds anywhere)
    Use this option if you are Replaying remote feeds (feeds from other people's websites) and your webserver supports PHP.



Formatting an RSS Replay

RSS content, for the most part, falls into headlines, links, and stories or descriptions that go along with those headlines. RSS Replay comes with a set of content display options that are built around those elements. Essentially, these pre-built options cover the basics of the sort of things you might want to place on your page. The Advanced option that allows you to build your own custom formatting (for more, see the section on Advanced Formatting). And of course, you could select one of the basic formats, modify it, and save it -- and it will then be added to your list of formats. The basics we've provided with this version are

  1. Headlines (Paragraphs)
    Display just headlines with each headline as a new paragraph.
  2. Headlines (Line Breaks)
    Display just headlines with each headline as a new line (BR tags between).
  3. Headlines (40 Characters w BRs)
    Display just headlines with each headline on a new line and trimmed to 40 characters.
  4. Headlines (Bullet List)
    Display just headlines with each headline as a bulleted list entry.
  5. Headlines w Stories
    Display full headlines and stories.
  6. Headlines w Stories (Remove HTML form Stories)
    Display headlines and stories, but remove any HTML tags from the stories.
  7. Headlines w Stories (Definition List)
    Display full headlines and stories with the story indented underneath the headline (accomplished using a definition list / DL tag).
  8. Headlines w Stories (25 Word Stories w UL)
    Display the headline and the first 25 words of the story as a bulleted list entry.
  9. Podcast Entries
    Display just headlines with each headline linked to the enclosed podcast entry (MP3 file).
  10. Photocast Thumbnails (64px)
    Display just thumbnails from Apple's iPhoto Photocasts. Sorry this one is so specific. We plan to include flickr thumbnails and other sources soon, but for now this is a start.
  11. No Settings
    No Settings -- this is where all RSS Replays begin.
  12. Custom
    If you have modified a format using Advanced, but have not saved that format with a name.
  13. Advanced...
    Displays a dialog so that you can modify the HTML code used to display the Replay (for more, see the section on Advanced Formatting).
  14. Manage Formats...
    Displays a dialog so that you can remove custom formats you have created.

Beyond the basics of selecting from these pre-built options, you can also customize these options by selecting the CSS style to attach to the headline/title or story content. The Title Class and Story Class popups will display a list of CSS styles that you can choose from to control your formatting with even more precision.


Previewing/Playing an RSS Replay

To see what the results of your settings will look like in the browsers press the "Play" button on the right side of the RSS Replay Inspector. This will use Dreamweaver to go out and download the remote RSS content you have specified and apply the formatting you selected. When previewing, the RSS Replay icon in the layout will be replaced with the content that will be visible in the web browsers that support RSS Replay. There are some known issues with larger files or slow downloads that can cause preview problems (see the section on Known Issues) but otherwise it works well with most RSS content preview.


Advanced Formatting

When selecting "Advanced..." from the Format menu in the RSS Replay Inspector you will be presented with the RSS Replay Format dialog. If you select an existing form first, and then select "Advanced..." the Format dialog will be pre-loaded with the existing configuration.

Formatting entries contain the simple HTML codes, along with a few special codes, to be entered into the web page when the content is rendered by RSS Replay. The formatting is broken into 4 segments:

  1. Prefix
    Elements to enter before the content is displayed
  2. Headline
    The formatting for each headline/title to be repeated with each entry in the feed
  3. Story
    The formatting for each story/description to be repeated with each entry in the feed
  4. Suffix
    Elements to enter after the list of entries has been displayed

You can save a feed with a given name. This will add it to your list and store the settings so you can use them across multiple documents or websites without having to come to advanced and change everything manually each time so its a big time-saver.

Content Codes

RSS Replay replaces codes with content from RSS feeds and then places this compiled content into your layout. To control this you need to learn these codes. Not all RSS feeds necessarily have all of this content. You'll have to pick the correct elements for the feeds you want to display. Content codes all adhere to the double-tag format common to database applications -- that is all special content placement is identified by tags that look like <<format>>. For additional control underscores ("_") are used to add additional commands.

  • <<headline>> or <<title>>
    Places the headline content -- title and headline are interchangeable identifiers of the same RSS content
  • <<story>> or <<description>>
    Places the story content -- story and description are interchangeable identifiers of the same RSS content
  • <<link>>
    Places the URL of the link to the content (or a link to the full resolution image when photocasting)
  • <<enclosure>>
    Places the URL of the enclosed content -- typically used for podcasting, photocasting, etc
  • <<enclosureorlink>>
    Places the URL of the enclosure if there is one, of if not, then it uses the link
  • <<thumbnail>>
    Places the URL of the thumbnail used when photocasting -- currently only works with Photocasts from Apple's iPhoto (but we plan to add more soon)
  • <<firstimage>>
    Places the URL of the first image from the story, so if you want to use the image but not the rest of the formatting you can. As it turns out, this is where Flickr and Google News put their images so its pretty handy.
  • <<thumbnailorfirstimage>>
    Places the URL of the thumbnail or the first image.
  • <<strip_IDENTIFIER>> (like <<strip_story>>)
    Strip removes HTML tags from the identified content -- useful for displaying stories without their formatting
  • <<trim_#?_IDENTIFIER>> (like <<trim_25w_story>>)
    Trims content of the identified to the defined size measured in words (w) or characters (c). Content is first stripped of any HTML and then trimmed.
  • <<date>> (like <<strip_story>>)
    Displays the date of the feed content -- of course you'll want to control the format for the date so
  • <<date_DATEFORMAT>> (like <<strip_story>>)
    Displays the date of feed content with a particular format (see the next section on Date Formatting)

Date Formatting

Date formatting for RSS Replay is very similar to date formatting in PHP. The codes are not always easy to remember so I like to be able to look them up. Here's the list of date codes that are to be combined with <<date_>> to get the date display you are after.

For example: <<date_l dS of F Y>> should produce something that looks like "Monday 15th of August 2006".

format characterDescriptionExample returned values
Day------
dDay of the month, 2 digits with leading zeros01 to 31
DA textual representation of a day, three lettersMon through Sun
jDay of the month without leading zeros1 to 31
l (lowercase 'L')A full textual representation of the day of the weekSunday through Saturday
NISO-8601 numeric representation of the day of the week (added in PHP 5.1.0)1 (for Monday) through 7 (for Sunday)
SEnglish ordinal suffix for the day of the month, 2 characters st, nd, rd or th. Works well with j
wNumeric representation of the day of the week0 (for Sunday) through 6 (for Saturday)
Month------
FA full textual representation of a month, such as January or MarchJanuary through December
mNumeric representation of a month, with leading zeros01 through 12
MA short textual representation of a month, three lettersJan through Dec
nNumeric representation of a month, without leading zeros1 through 12
Year------
YA full numeric representation of a year, 4 digitsExamples: 1999 or 2003
yA two digit representation of a yearExamples: 99 or 03
Time------
aLowercase Ante meridiem and Post meridiemam or pm
AUppercase Ante meridiem and Post meridiemAM or PM
g12-hour format of an hour without leading zeros1 through 12
G24-hour format of an hour without leading zeros0 through 23
h12-hour format of an hour with leading zeros01 through 12
H24-hour format of an hour with leading zeros00 through 23
iMinutes with leading zeros00 to 59
sSeconds, with leading zeros00 through 59
Timezone------
ODifference to Greenwich time (GMT) in hoursExample: +0200
PDifference to Greenwich time (GMT) with colon between hours and minutes (added in PHP 5.1.3)Example: +02:00
ZTimezone offset in seconds. The offset for timezones west of UTC is always negative, and for those east of UTC is always positive.-43200 through 43200
USeconds since the Unix Epoch (January 1 1970 00:00:00 GMT)
Copied and modified from the PHP documentation for date().



Tutorial

There is an extensive tutorial available on the RNSoft website at http://www.rnsoft.com/en/products/rssreplay/content/tutorial/



Registering RSS Replay

It is very important to register your version of RSS Replay, not just because you should pay for the software if you want to use it, but because it directly effects the content of your pages. All RSS Replays generated from an unregistered version of RSS Replay will only display "RSS Replay is Unregistered" outside of Dreamweaver. To unlock RSS Replay outside of Dreamweaver you must enter your registration number in the text field in the Register dialog and click the OK button.

Access the Register dialog by clicking on the Register button at the bottom-left of the RSS Replay Inspector. If the inspector is not already visible, you will have to select an RSS Replay object on the layout.

Get your registration code from the RNSoft website at http://www.rnsoft.com.

Unregistered versions will have a red Register button on the bottom of the panel. This button turns white with a green key when a valid registration code is entered.