SimplePie – Easy PHP RSS

SimplePie RSS LogoI write for this and two other blogs, and I like the homepage of my personal portfolio (www.brentswisher.com) have up to date information about all of my posts.  It makes for an easy one-stop-shop of all of my online activity, and I like the idea of having a dashboard of my recent activity as a home page. The issue is that manually updating the page each time I create a new post would be a bit tedious.  Since all my blogs have built in RSS Feeds, I though that would be a great way to embed new posts.

These were the criteria I was looking for:

  • Customizable so that I could make it match my sites theme
  • The links would be visible by search engines
  • I could customize what would show (titles, date, domain, etc)

After a little searching, I found something that works great: SimplePie RSS

SimplePie is a PHP based RSS parser.  It’s a PHP class that allows you to access RSS feeds in a object oriented way.  It is really simple to customize as you specify which parts of the feed to display, and you can insert them using standard PHP code anywhere in your site that you need.  It’s fast, easy to learn, well documented, and I would recommend it for anyone looking to use RSS in their website.

Advantages:

  • It uses PHP as opposed to a scripting language, so the links are indexed by search engines and will count for SEO.
  • It uses a object oriented approach to the feed, making it easy to customize what you want to display (title, link, body, etc)
  • Easy to install, just download and include.

Tips:

  • Make sure that you have the page encoding set to utf-8.  If you forget to specify this or use another encoding, strange characters will replace items like dashes and apostrophes.
  • Be aware that SimplePie caches your feeds.  If you make changes and expect to see them in the feed right away, you might need to wait for the cache to be refreshed.
  • To make it easier to make changes, create a separate page for each feed, and then include the page wherever you want to display the feeds on your site.

I would definitely recommend SimplePie for a RSS parser, what about you? Let me know if you have another solution you enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: