An RSS box is basically an RSS reader widget – a rectangular area on your web page that displays text from news feeds. Displaying RSS feeds from other sites (e.g. BBC or Daring Fireball) on your own site enables you to automatically show constantly updated content – a practical service for both you and your visitors, as it allows them to view the latest headlines, without leaving your page.

For the novice web developer, however, setting up an RSS feed can be daunting, it requires both knowledge (yours) and often requires your server’s ability to host remote files. There are a couple of services online that will help generate the code necessary, but when creating a new RSS box you probably want to influence the layout and design – most online services won’t allow this. The next problem then arises when your visitors use mobile devices. An RSS feed is of no use at all, if half the  content is cut off.

Feed from Yuzool is a new RSS stack that will help simplify matters. It is one of a number of RSS stacks available for RapidWeaver, but is probably the most straightforward to set up. Simply drop the stack onto your RapidWeaver page and add the feed’s URL. The design aspect is controlled via the HUD. First of all, the number of reports that your feed should contain and the width of your RSS box.  Michael has set the stack up to use your theme font, as such the height of the RSS box is set accordingly. This also means that your reports blend in seamlessly with the rest of the page.

The key to  Feed is simplicity. The other settings that the HUD contains, are settings for alternating background colours, for the text display and for the text display on hover. Your headlines may be displayed with a shadow, and upper case can be set. Feed is so simple to set up that Michael’s “How to use” page contains just three lines of text – that’s all.You may have noticed that some RSS feeds don’t load in some RSS readers or RSS widgets.

Michael has obviously noticed this too – and found the solution. Feed’s HUD has a checkbox that is simply entitled ‘If jQuery needed’. Once clicked, even stubborn feeds (such as Will Woodgate’s feed) will appear on your page.

Feed is animated. When you open the page it is on, the feed ‘rolls’ down the page as it collects reports and then appears as a vertical list. As it is not PHP-based, your feed can be previewed in RapidWeaver.

Feed was obviously built with smartphones in mind. It is 100% responsive and looks great on mobile devices.

Marten Claridge

Founder of RapidWeaver Central, Developer of WeaverThings, Author of Books, Marten's highly unique skillset has established him as a leading RapidWeaver, Web Design and Wordpress consultant with a worldwide client-list and highly dysfunctional sense of modesty.

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