Replied to INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (
Ahh I think you use SemPress I am using 2016-IndieWeb I want to change the bookmark feed so the title of the post is the title of the source, needs to include link to source, and then my content. For quotes the block quote doesn’t display. I just haven’t had the time to practice making the templ...

Hi Greg,
My bookmark feeds don’t have the titles of the bookmarks. Nor link to them. Ones < 280 chars don’t have titles.

The RSS templates are not in my theme but in WordPress in wp-includes. I added only one of my own for microcasts and it goes in my theme folder. It is added as a custom feed.

I don’t think that the indieweb themes do anything with the RSS. It sounds like you are looking for daring fireball type titles/links? I think there was a plugin for that.

BTW I didn’t, yet, get a mention from your post?

Since joining I’ve been messing around with my blog and its RSS on and off. I had settled on removing the titles for status post RSS feed. This means short status posts (<280 characters) were passed over to and displayed the whole content there. Longer posts are truncated and linked.

Unfortunately this meant that microblog looks quite ugly sometimes, especially when it posts a truncated indieWeb reaction that includes a quote. So I’ve changed how it works a little to only remove titles from the RSS id there are <280 characters.

This is a status post, so hopefully it will show up on Micro.Blog as a linked title.

Details in this gist: functions that have do with and microblogging that live in my child theme’s functions.php

Before and after display of a post in


As part of my summer holiday fun with WordPress I though I might create a ‘proper’ RSS feed for my microcast.

There are quite a few podcast plugins that would do the job but I though it might be interesting to try a bit of DIY.

Back when I started a class podcast at Radio Sandaig I used to create the RSS feed by hand with a text editor and a fair bit of copy and paste. Over at Edutalk we use feedburner to massage the feed for iTunes.

I used information from How to Roll Your Own Simple WordPress Podcast Plugin | CSS-Tricks to get me started with the template.

I copied the feed-rss2.php file from the wp-includes folder to my child theme folder renaming it feed-microcast.php


I adjusted the query to get the posts from my microcast category. I also hard coded the title, link, image and a few other things to simplify the process a little.

I then used the template from CSS-Tricks as a guide to adding the various podcast tags to my template.

This ended up with a pretty broken feed, mostly due to my lack of care, but I fixed it up later I got it linked up.

I didn’t want to use the custom post type approach used in the article because that would involve editing all the old posts or converting them to the new type somehow.

My first idea was to create a feed template and switch to that when the RSS feed for my microcast category was called for.

After failing to get the template to switch for the standard category feed, /category/microcast/feed I ended up with a custom feed at /feed/microcast.

and I add

add_action('init', 'customRSS');
function customRSS(){
        add_feed('microcast', 'customRSSFunc');

function customRSSFunc(){
        get_template_part('feed', 'microcast');

to my functions.php file.

I then spent a bit of time using the W3C feed validation service until I fixed the feed up to valadate.

I’ve still got to get a link to the feed into the microcast category page head tag and I hope to do that as soon as I’ve gone a bit of research. For now I’ve a link in the sidebar.

Here is the template: WordPress RSS feed template for my microcast

I am finding a really interesting community.

From an educational POV the most positive experience and the one that I would like to see replicated (in Glow and elsewhere) is #DS106.

DS106 influences the way I think about ScotEduBlogs and the way I built two Glow Blogging Bootcamps 1.

In particular these sites aggregate participants content but encourage any comments and feedback to go on the originators site. is making me rethink this a little, there you can comment on (the same as the blog hub in DS106) and that comment gets sent as a webmention to the originators site. This makes thinks a lot easier to carry through. also provides the equivalent of the #ds106 twitter hashtag but keeps that in the same space as the hub/rss reader.

Manton recently wrote: will never be that big. What we need instead of another huge social network is a bunch of smaller platforms that are built on blogs and the open web.

from: Manton Reece – Replacing 1 billion-user platforms

Which made me think.

Firstly it reinforces how Manton really thinks hard about making a brilliant place, avoiding the pitfalls of huge silos.

Secondly it speaks to idea of multiple social networks. Imagine if DS106 and ScotEdublogs where both platforms in this sense, I could join in either or both along with others using my blog to publish. I could decide which posts of mine to send to which community, and so on.

It is the same idea I’ve had for Glow blogs since I started working with them 2.

Class blogs could join in and participate in different projects.

It would be easy to start a local or national project and pull together content and conversation from across the web into one learning space. Although I’ve spoken and blogged a lot about this idea I don’t think I’ve made it stick in the minds of many Scottish educators. I wish I could.

  1. Blogging Bootcamp spring 2015 & Blogging Bootcamp #2 Autumn 2015 . I believe the potential for these sorts of educational activity is much underused in primary and secondary education. I wish I was in the position to organise and design more of these…
  2. For example:

I signed up for the kickstarter of, it went live earlier this week. is a new social network for independent microblogs.
Start a microblog today. Easy to publish, own your content, great cross-posting.

The service is very new and so far has changed and developed every day.

The idea is, you publish short posts, these are mirrored on via RSS. The posts can be from any RSS feed. You can get a hosted blog at or use your own hosting.

The iOS app will post to your blog or your own WordPress blog. Or you can use your own system. There is a microblog bot that will post your posts on to Twitter too.

The difference between the hosted blog and your stream is a mite confusing at the moment. I wonder if a different domain name might have helped.

Both the hosted blog and the twitter bot are paid for options. The docs make it clear that you can host your own and point to IFTTT as an alternative to the bot.

The system follows the indieweb principle of controlling your own content and sending it on to other spaces.

Replies on to your posts are sent as webmentions to your own blog and show up as comments if you have the webmention plugin installed. I had that already to get twitter replies as comments.

My setup

I’ve added a new category here, micro. I’ve edited the blog to not have posts with this category show on the home page, they show on micro instead.

I set the app to create posts with the status format in the micro category.

I turned off the jetpack social posting to Twitter function. I’ll manually post normal posts. I’ve set up a bot to post to Twitter.

The service is very much a work in progress, and I’ve not really read the docs but I’ve noticed a few interesting things.


On is that the posts on consist of descriptions with no titles. When you post form the app, you get a post on your blog without a title. A post with a title on your blog is posted as a link to With a post without out a title the description becomes the content of the post.

That means you get lots of posts listed in your dashboard as ‘no title’. Since I didn’t like this I tried to auto add titles to posts without titles with a little Google-fu and some WordPress coding.

This worked out fine, except the posts on consist of a title and a link, the tweet posted by the twitter bot is the same.

I am now looking to create a custom RSS feed without title. More googling ahead.

Alternatively I could use the code from Tweaks for that adds dates as titles, ignore these.

Or just learn to live with ‘no title’ posts in the dashboard.

Me on

Preparing for the microblog is a lot more coherent than this post if you are looking for setup advice.

I’ll post the code I’ve mentioned above at some point, it is pretty simple stuff.

I just read this on OLDaily ~ by Stephen Downes in my RSS reader.

Points to

apparently YouTube has decided to allow users to follow channels via RSS again,

from: YouTube has (apparently) reinstated RSS feeds – BiteofanApple

It seems to work, I’ve aded my own channel to my RSS reader, Inoreader, and it worked fine. Tested in a WordPress sidebar widget and here using the RSS Via Shortcode for Page & Post WordPress Plugins

[rssonpage rss="" feeds="4" excerpt="summary" target="_blank"]

Gives me links to my last 4 videos.

The feeds seem to lack description, inoreader (and I’d guess other RSS readers) pick up the video from the media:content tag (I’d guess).

This could be useful for bringing content together with other feeds. Perhaps YouTube will bring back tags too…

Image cropped from public domain flickr image: Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) ...

I’ve been following the work of Dave Winer for a while now. His pioneering work with RSS, blogging and podcasting is central to my use of the web. I’ve even dipped my toes into and blogged about Fargo his outliner tool a few times, I tried a couple too.

The product I am most interested in was the Rivers project. This is a take on RSS readers, where you view collections of RSS in a stream, rather than a folder structure.

In the past I set up River3 and River4. These products really need a server that goes a bit further than web hosting. I had some working locally but this was not ideal. The instructions for using the previous version of River tended to involve Amazon Web Services and a server elsewhere.


River5 changes all of this, it is designed to keep everything in the same place, one server. The only difficulty is that it requires a server running node.

This is pretty simple to set up locally on a mac. You need to use the terminal. You install node. Then you follow the instructions on the River5 github page and you are away.

What is very nice indeed is that you can add feeds you want to read in several different formats opml (handy for export from other RSS readers), json and plain text. There is a set of example feeds provided that will let you see everything is working.

I wanted to be able to have the rivers running all the time and be accessible from other computers. For that I need a server that I could install and run node on. Turns out I have one, john’s pi server. That sits on my window sill mostly taking pictures of the sky. It was running a twitter bot but that is broken at the moment.

Setting up River5 on a Raspberry Pi

I do most things on my pi via the terminal on a mac or iPad, suing ssh to logon.

I had installed node on the pi a while back.

Download the latest:

then install:

sudo dpkg -i node_latest_armhf.deb

I seem to have done that a while back when I was failing to get something else up and running.

All I need to do to get River5 installed was to download the files from github and upload them to the pi with scp.
I then unzipped them went into the folder and ran these two commands:

npm install

node river5.js

This set everything up, a plie of stuff streams by in the terminal and all looked ok. (I had problems the first time I tried but an update came out immediately that fixed things for Linux servers. I got a very quick response on the River5 Forum).

My Pi already has a sub domain so I visited and could see the rivers flowing with Dave’s Feeds.

I’ve now removed the original ones and replace them with lists of feeds of my own.

Rivers Forever

After that I went to bed, next morning I tried the link and it was down. The problem is I need to keep the application up and running even when I am not logged onto the server. I recalled reading on Dave’s blog about Forever. As usual google found the instructions to install and use: Keep a node.js server up with Forever.

This is pretty simple you install Forever with:

sudo npm install forever

npm is a package manager for JavaScript so it installs stuff.

After it is installed we can start up the river5 with:
forever start river5.js and it keeps going.

Mine has been running for a few days now on the pi without any problems.I’ve been enjoying an alternative view of some of my RSS feeds. My next steps are probably to move things around a bit so that I don’t relay on the built in node server, and can pull the river json over to here.

I am pretty amazed by the ease of doing this. The software has been made to be very easy to install and the Raspberry Pi turns out to be a very capable wee box.

Also on:

Last evening I noticed on twitter:

And jumped in without thinking too much.

Rich (@richardtape) was providing drop in support on a Google Hangout. Rich works at University of British Columbia which is, of course, organizing the Teaching with WordPress course I am trying to follow.

I had, for a short while, the floor to myself. Unfortunately I made poor use of the time, my teacup was too full. Rich was extremely patient and told me the answer to my problem several times, I just didn’t notice. Hopefully I’ve learned a lesson for the next time I have a similar opportunity (hoping against experience here).

The problem is the one described in the previous post. To display a question/assignment/challenge post along with responses to that post. Christina solved it with the loop shortcode plugin. We do not have that plugin on GlowBlogs.

Five Thirty am Enlightenment

After mulling over the problem in bed this morning I suddenly listened to Rich again. He had repeatedly told me the best way to do this would be RSS but I had focused on plugins and facilities we do not have (yet?) in GlowBlogs.

So the way I would solve this in Glow blogs would be to use RSS widgets, to pull in responses. These responses would be on the same blog as the questions (but could be pulled in with the syndication plugin, or on another blog that does the aggregation). The widget would only be displayed on the post with the question as it would have a unique category. The responses would have a unique category or tag.

Here is a quick example: Challenge 2 Red.

On that post you can see the challenge (show something red). In the sidebar there is a widget showing a list of posts tagged red. This only shows up on the challenge page. I’ve added some information to the post to give more details.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this method.

  1. It is a bit fiddly for the person setting up the challenge. They need to create a widget per challenge and a category per challenge.
  2. The RSS update is not immediate. A WordPress query would be better.

I would be interested in using it for something like the bootcamp and see how it goes.


The new Syndication plugin gives Glow Blogs the ability to bring content in from other sources aggregating content into one space.

For example a School site could aggregate several department or class blogs. This gives the classes/departments a degree of autonomy and control. Schools could decide to only pull in posts with a particular category or tag onto the mothership site.

I’ve been a big fan of aggregation of information ever since I started blogging. Blogs provide a stream of their posts as RSS. This can be used to keep on top of a lot of content through an RSS reader and RSS can be used to distribute information. For example you can show posts from one blog on the sidebar of another with the RSS widget.

Going further than that usually takes a bit more work and either a plugin, specialised software or a workaround. For example on the Blogging Bootcamp I am pulling in links from over 50 blogs through one aggregate RSS feed. The aggregation is being done by an external site inoreader. The only option was to display this in the blog sidebar. I hope to be able to do similar projects from now on with the syndication plugin and displaying posts.

The Syndication Plugin

In phase 2.2 of the Glow Blogs project we added the syndication plugin. This is a simplified version of a more complex plugin being developed by Automattic. The plugin allows you to add RSS feeds so that their posts appear on the syndicating blog. Once you have activated the plugin you can create a group, add sites to it via their RSS feeds and pull that content onto your blog where it is published. Importantly you can set it so that the source link for the post is the original blog and commentators will be redirected there, you do not need to steal the content.

This is what we do on ScotEduBlogs where over 100 blogs are aggregated for easy reading. Until now it would not  be possible to do this in Glow.

It is also how the best, in my opinion, course on the internet is run DS106.. There the course activities are posted and participants responses, published on their own sites are pulled in. the syndication plugin will give us a chance to do this inside Glow Blogs.

I’ve started a guide to using the plugin on the Glow Help Blog (Syndication Plugin | Glow Blog Help) and am starting to use the plugin for a couple of projects (#ShareOurLearning | Gathering Learning from around Scotland).