[pmwiki-users] WebFeeds does not seem to work properly

Daniel Roesler diafygi at gmail.com
Tue Oct 5 16:14:03 CDT 2010

Patience my friend, you'll get there! Remember that it's not the page
with the ?action=rss that is used for the description of the items in
a feed. It's the item pages themselves that are used as sources for
the descriptions.

Perhaps you should think about this from the server's point of view.
Say you type in the url:

The server is going to get that url request and say, "Ok! I need to
make an RSS feed!"

Next the server is going to ask itself, "Is there anything on this
page that I can make an RSS feed out of?" It's going to look for a
list on that page to make a feed out of. Specifically, it's going to
look for a WikiTrail index. A WikiTrail index is just a bullet list of
wiki pages. Check out the PmWiki/WikiTrails documentation for
formatting a WikiTrail index.

So for this example, take a look at the Cookbook/Callout page and see
if you can find any WikiTrail indexes. Any bullet lists of wiki pages
here? Down at the bottom under "See also" there is! The bullet list is
made up of three wiki pages:
* Cookbook.CalloutCustomization
* PmWiki/WikiStyles
* Cookbook.WikiStylesPlus

So the server says, "Here's a list of wiki pages that I can use to
make a feed!" It builds the RSS feed using these pages as items for
the feed.

Next the server says, "What do I know about these items that I can use
to describe them?" Depending on how you've told the server to describe
the items (let's just say the default), the server will get
information from each page and include it with the item entry on the
RSS feed. It will grab things like the link for the page, the most
recent edit date, and the description (if it has one). The final RSS
feed is that list of items with their added info.

So for this example, the first item (CalloutCustomization) has a
description on its page using the (:Description:) tag. Go and check!
That is the description used for that item on the RSS feed. The second
item (WikiStyles) doesn't have a description tag on its page, so
there's nothing for the RSS feed to use. The same for the third item
(WikiStylesPlus), no description tag so no description in the RSS feed
(see P.S. below).

If you wanted to, you could change what info the server adds to the
items in the feed from the default. That's what the "Configuring feed
content" section on PmWiki/WebFeeds explains how to do.

So to recap, here's the steps the server took for this example:
1) Get a request for an RSS feed on page Cookbook/Callout (?action=rss)
2) Look for a WikiTrail index on page Cookbook/Callout (found one
under "See also")
3) Make RSS feed items out of the WikiTrail index
(CalloutCustomization, WikiStyles, and WikiStylesPlus)
4) Add info for each item from its respective page (link, most recent
edit date, description, etc.)
5) Done! You have an RSS feed!

diafygi at gmail.com

P.S. The WikiStylesPlus item originally didn't populate in the RSS
feed because it used a colon ":" for the link, which is apparently not
recognized in a WikiTrail index. I updated the link to use a period
"." so it would be recognized. Is this a bug? I would think a colon
":" should be recognized in a WikiTrail index since it makes a valid
internal page link.

On Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM, kirpi at kirpi.it <kirpi at kirpi.it> wrote:
> Thank Daniel and Patrick for you helpful and detailed explanation.
> These days I attempted to understand the subject.
> Patrick said that Rss (at least the standard set in pmwiki) grabs the
> description part of the page, among other things.
> So I went to a random pmwiki.org page
> http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Callout
> made sure that there is a clear and explicit description in the page,
> which I found
> (:Description Callouts are separately styled areas of a page,
> typically used to break up long text, or to visually separate elements
> of the page. Pm's Cookbook:WikiStylesPlus recipe provides callouts for
> tips, warnings, and important messages. This recipe gives you more
> choices:)
> Then I tried to get the rss out of that page but I got something quite
> unexpected:
> PmWiki | Cookbook / Callout
> Cookbook.Callout
> Cookbook / CalloutCustomization
> 05/24/2010 01:37 AM
> This page explains how to create and use custom callouts, and is a
> place to share and request new ones
> PmWiki / WikiStyles
> 05/11/2010 08:04 AM
> I'm really too puzzled, cannot find the reason. And, which is more, I
> personally feel guilty for spoiling your kindness and efforts.
> This all certainly means that Rss is something beyond my ability to
> understand, even at its most basic level.
> There must be a jargon, and a knowledge, behind it, which is too
> advanced for me.
> So, while it seems more and more important for the future of part of
> the internet, I'm bound to accept that my small website will have to
> survive without rss.
> Thank you all the same, really!
> :-)
> Luigi

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