Headlines Plugin

Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites


This plugin displays RSS and ATOM feeds from news sites. Use it to build news portals that show headline news.

Note: Syndic8.com ( http://www.syndic8.com/ ) lists many RSS feeds.

Syntax Rules


Parameter Explanation Default
"..." source of RSS feed; this can be an url (starting with http) or a web.topic location for internal feeds None; is required
href="..." (Alternative to above) N/A
refresh="60" Refresh rate in minutes for caching feed; "0" for no caching Global REFRESH setting
limit="12" Maximum number of items shown Global LIMIT setting
touch="..." Touch (edit/save) topics if the feed has updates. Specify a comma-space delimited list of TopicNames or Web.TopicNames, such as "%TOPIC%, NewsLetter". Useful to send out newsletter using MailerContrib, showing new feeds since last newsletter. To update feeds, visit topics with feeds in regular intervals (using cron with wget or the like). N/A
header Header. Can include these variables: - $channeltitle, $title: title of channel (channel.title)
- $channellink, $link: link of channel (channel.link)
- $channeldescription, $description: description (channel.description)
- $channeldate, $date: publication date of the channel (channel.pubDate)
- $rights: copyrights of the channel (channel.copyright)
- $imagetitle: title text for site (image.title)
- $imagelink: link for site (image.link)
- $imageurl: URL of image (image.url)
- $imagedescription: description of image (image.description)
Global HEADER setting
format Format of one item. Can include these variables:
- $title: news item title (item.title)
- $link: news item link (item.link)
- $description: news item description (item.description)
- $date: the publication date (item.pubDate, item.date)
- $category: the article category (item.category)
Global FORMAT setting

The header and format parameters might also use variables rendering the dc, image and content namespace information. Note, that only bits of interest have been implemented so far and those namespaces might not be implemented fully yet.

Rendering the dc namespace

The following variables are extracting the dc namespace info, that could be used in header and format. Nnote, that some of the variables are already used above. This is done by purpose to use different feeds with the same formating parameters. If there's a conflict the non-dc tags have higher precedence, i.e. a <title> content </title> is prefered over <dc:title> content </dc:title> .

  • $title: channel/article title (dc:title)
  • $creator: channel creator (dc:creator)
  • $subject: subject text; this will also add an image according to the subject hash list, see above (dc:subject)
  • $description: ... (dc:description)
  • $publisher: the channel/article publisher (dc:publisher)
  • $contributor: ... (dc:contributor)
  • $date: ... (dc:date)
  • $type: ... (dc:type)
  • $format: ... (dc:format)
  • $identifier: ... (dc:identifier)
  • $source: ... (dc:source)
  • $language: ... (dc:language)
  • $relation: ... (dc:relation)
  • $coverage: ... (dc: coverage)
  • $rights: ... (dc: rights)

Rendering the image namespace

An image:item is converted into an <img> tag using the following mappings:

  • src: image url (rdf:about attribute of the image.item tag)
  • alt: image title (title)
  • width: image width (image:width)
  • height: image height image:height)

Rendering the content namespace

The variable $content is refering to the <content:encoding> content </content:encoding>.


Slashdot News


%HEADLINES{ "http://slashdot.org/slashdot.rdf" 
  header="*[[$link][$title]]:* $description" 
  format="$t* [[$link][$title]]"
to get the latest Slashdot news as a bullet list format:

Business Opportunities Weblog


%HEADLINES{ "http://www.business-opportunities.biz/feed" limit="2" }%

to get the latest postings on the "Business Opportunities" weblog:

Tue, 07 Apr 2020 23:25:45 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Tue, 07 Apr 2020 23:25:43 +0000 Carrol Strain
Featured Image by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash
vcita review 300w, vcita-review-768x323.png 768w, vcita-review-696x292.png 696w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" />

vcita is a suite of business management tools that enables you to take your small business online and helps you automate and improve your workflows. This post is a review of vcita, as well as a guide for taking your small business online with this tool.

Your Company Needs vcita Now More Than Ever

Companies around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led many to take their business activities online. This is precisely why business practices around the world are changing for small and medium-sized businesses. These changes include everything, from how meetings happen to how payments are made.


For starters, social distancing measures have led many companies to make it mandatory for their employees to work from home. This is important, in order to stem the COVID-19 outbreak. Companies are also canceling events and making changes to operations (like going remote) to survive.

Organizing, managing, and running business operations remotely may seem like a lot of work at first. However, things become a lot easier if you have the right tools in your tech arsenal.

Enter vcita, a powerful client and business management platform that gives you the tools you need to effectively run your business in an online environment. In this article, we'll take a closer look at how vcita helps small and medium-sized businesses to go remote while staying on top of their core business activities.

Overview of vcita

vcita is a complete business management app built to help small and medium-sized businesses schedule meetings and appointments, while also interacting with clients. Importantly, this saves time and maximizes revenue.

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Moreover, vcita is available as a web app and a mobile app. Its online scheduling system lets you connect the vcita app to Zoom to generate a dynamic conferencing link for any of your appointments or events. It also offers integration with a number of content management systems and social media platforms. This will improve your appointment scheduling workflows and email marketing efforts.

CRM Features

This platform comes with several CRM features. These include client management, segmentation, 24/7 billing and invoicing, and a built-in client portal. In addition, it lets you manage customer relationships from a centralized location. This way, you don't have to log in and out of multiple apps or worry about transferring client data.

Marketing Tools

On the marketing side of things, vcita gives you the tools you need to reach out to your target audience. To this end, it offers built-in, customizable templates for creating and sending marketing campaigns.

You can also set up and execute SMS marketing campaigns using the app. Naturally, this will increase your customer outreach. Also, for digital marketing, vcita's website widget lets you add lead capture forms and conversion mechanisms directly to your website or landing page.

vcita is great for small and midsized businesses. Additionally, it’s excellent for solopreneurs and freelancers who need a user-friendly and automated way to manage clients, book appointments, and collect payments online.

Offer Self-Service Online Appointment Scheduling

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, you need to be able to offer clients self-service booking options. This lets you meet them halfway.

One way to do this is by giving them more control over the appointment scheduling process. This involves making it easier for clients to book their own appointments at their own time. As a result, you'll be able to automate appointment booking workflows and focus on improving the delivery of your services.

As an online business owner, you need more than just video conferencing to take your business online. Video conferencing is only one part of the equation. You also need to offer self-service, online appointment scheduling options. This will save time spent on back-and-forth communication.

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Using vcita, your clients can book appointments themselves. This because the vcita app lets you embed the client-facing scheduler on your Facebook page, client service portal, or vcita landing page. This will make it easy for them to find the booking options. What’s more, the app syncs with your existing calendar. Because it does, your clients can quickly view available time slots and make their appointments.

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vcita via Mobile

With vcita, you can access the online scheduler on the go using its mobile app. In addition, you'll be able to customize the vcita landing page, online scheduler, and website widget to match your branding color schemes and styles. This is great for delivering a coherent and memorable experience.

Further, the vcita platform integrates with Zoom. This allows you to create a dynamic conferencing link for any of your appointments and meetings. Your clients can use this integration to run scheduled appointments through vcita.

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For those unfamiliar with it, Zoom is great for one-on-one appointments as well as group events like workshops and training classes. Moreover, you can use the vcita-Zoom integration to automatically generate unique, dynamic meeting URLs for new bookings. Your clients will receive location details in the confirmation notification after they schedule. Then, the unique meeting URL also appears on the appointment and event page.

Collect Online Payments Quickly with vcita

It's important to have a business management tool that keeps payments going even during the COVID-19 pandemic so your business stays afloat.

However, running a business remotely means you'll need to send estimates, invoices, and receipts to your clients during the appointment or meeting. It's important to choose a business management solution that lets you collect payments either when the client books an appointment or after the meeting takes place.

Additionally, you need a way to let clients make payments from within the same platform without needing to use multiple apps. This helps you deliver a seamless user experience.

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To this end, vcita packs a complete billing and invoicing system that lets you create estimates, branded invoices, and receipts. Moreover, you’ll be able to complete all of these tasks instantly. This way, you can offer a consistent and coherent experience to your clients. You'll also be able to track any pending or overdue invoices. This allows you to minimize the time-to-payment by leveraging the platform's automated payment reminders.

Also, with vcita, you can add a payment button to your invoices. This will allow your clients to quickly pay your invoice using their credit card or PayPal. They can also use the client portal to manage estimates, pay invoices, and generate receipts. vcita also supports integration with Zapier and Quickbooks to help you automate accounting-related tasks.

Strengthen Client Relationships Using vcita

When running your business in a remote environment or on-the-go, you need a way to quickly get a bird’s eye view of your client's past interactions with your business. This typically includes any past meetings they scheduled, when they scheduled them, and the outcome of the interaction.

Having all of this information available to you on a centralized dashboard means that you can easily and quickly make informed decisions and take action. This way, you'll be able to easily assign clients to team members, thus boosting work productivity.

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vcita comes with a built-in self-service portal for clients where they can schedule appointments and services from an online calendar, share documents, and make payments.

This tool allows you to stay accessible to your clients around the clock. Moreover, it gives you all the tools you need to better manage client relationships. For example, it's flexible enough to help you configure automated meeting reminders in order to reduce no shows and focus on core business tasks.

Moreover, vcita's custom follow-ups feature helps you bring in more returning business by sending post-meeting follow-ups. These are great for encouraging clients to book their next appointment.

Stay on Top of Your Marketing Efforts

It goes without saying that you can't ignore your marketing efforts when taking your business online. For starters, you need to communicate to your clients about how you're dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and any policies you've put into place.

Ideally, you need a tool that offers cross-channel marketing capabilities for both email and SMS marketing channels. This will allow you to effectively increase your customer outreach. Also, your remote business management platform should allow your clients to schedule appointments directly from emails to help you boost your bottom line. It should also enable you to send personalized emails to clients so you don't have to pay for tons of apps or worry about integrations.

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Speaking of which, vcita offers powerful client segmentation and personalization features. These will make it easy for you to send out tailored marketing messages to your clients. Its library of pre-built, mobile-friendly templates are designed to get clients to take action, engage with your business, and act on your conversion goal. It's also worth mentioning that vcita has created free COVID-19-related templates for all vcita users.

vcita lets you schedule and send automated campaigns-both individual and drip campaigns-helping you engage and retain your clients. In addition, you'll be able to track client activity to gauge campaign success.

Plans and Pricing

Here's a quick look at vcita's pricing plans:

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If you're a freelancer or solopreneur, you might consider opting for one of vcita's solo pricing plans-Essentials, Business, or Platinum-depending on the features you're looking for.

If you're just starting out and don't need a ton of marketing features (like automated campaigns), the Essentials plan ($19/month) is worth checking out. But if you're an established business with an email list, we recommend going with the Business plan ($45/month) instead. And if you'd like to have access to the client portal along with the ability to customize automated campaigns, then the Platinum plan ($75/month) is right for you.

vcita pricing plans 300w, vcita-9-768x649.png 768w, vcita-9-696x588.png 696w, vcita-9-497x420.png 497w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" />

vcita offers four different team pricing plans-Business, Platinum, Platinum 10, and Platinum 20.

The Business plan ($45/month) is great for small-sized businesses (such as consultancy agencies) that need basic business management, automation, and marketing features. However, if you need more users to have access to the online scheduling features (such as design and development agencies), you'd be better off going with the Platinum plan ($75/month).

And for growing SMBs and larger businesses, the Platinum 10 ($117/month) and Platinum 20 ($196/month) are both solid options, depending upon the team size.


vcita is a suite of business management tools that enables you to take your small business online, helping you automate and improve your workflows.

It also comes with useful features like online scheduling, client management, marketing capabilities, and online payment handling. This is particularly useful for companies looking for a way to run their business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The post Review: How to Bring Your Small Business Online with vcita appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Tue, 07 Apr 2020 17:52:40 +0000 Carrol Strain
Featured image by IAMSUTHICHA on Shutterstock

Barcodes now permeate almost every area of life. Artists use barcodes to inspire masterworks, and architects design buildings based on barcode technology. This post explores the use of barcodes in the media industry.

Barcodes in the Media: Movies

There are countless movies that are based on the use of barcodes. For example, in Alien 3 (1992), the convicts all have barcodes encoded into their necks. In fact, the hero, Ellen Ripley, realizes that the doctor who works there is a convict too, when she notices that he also has a barcode on his neck.

In Fortress (1992), the opening scene involves a barcode scanner scanning a code on John Brennick's forearm. The movie 12 Monkeys (1993) also involves codes on the necks of convicts.  In The Philadelphia Experiment II (1993), the Nazis tattoo barcodes onto Americans as a means of identification.

Barcodes in the Media: Television Series That Make Use of Barcodes

A look at TV series reveals more examples of barcodes in the media. For example, Dark Angel (2000) is a TV series starring Jessica Alba. Her character, Max, is a genetically engineered human who was carried to term in a human body, and she has a barcode on the back of her neck.

In The Island (2003), clones all have barcodes on their wrists. Another example of barcodes in the media is a movie called The Hitman (2007). Its hero, a man called Agent 47, has a barcode permanently tattooed onto the back of his head. This code holds the date of his creation and other identifiers.

The popular Star Trek (2009) gives another example of the use of barcodes in the media, as it has barcode scanners as joy sticks at the front desk, the same scanners currently used by retailers across the United States.

In Pandorum (2009) the crew members all have a special tattoo which, when scanned by a computer system, allows them to access certain areas. Lastly, Repo Man (2010) is an excellent example of the use of barcodes in the media, as the plot of the movie is about selling fake organs via barcode scanning.

In fact, the media have been using barcodes since 1992. Since that time, movie makers have helped to make them a part of the public psyche, as all of the movies we mention here were hugely popular and made many millions of dollars.

Online Games

Online games also reveal multiple instances of the use of barcodes in the media. For example, an entire series of games called Skannerz involves the use of barcodes. Some of those games are about racing in cars or destroying monsters by scanning their barcodes.


Another series based on barcodes is called Barcode Battler. In it, each player creates a character using barcodes. Then the players try to defeat each other in battle while competing also to collect the most barcodes.

Then there is Codemon, which uses elements from Barcode Battler, Pet Collection, and Pokemon. The aim of this instance of barcodes in the media is for gamers to collect codemons, auras, and spells.

Where to Find Your Own Barcodes

But you don’t have to remain a mere spectator of barcodes in the media. In fact, Barcodes SA will be proud to help you join the barcode revolution.


You can buy top quality GS1 registered barcodes for your business needs from Barcodes SA at affordable prices. So whether you need EAN or UPC barcodes, box barcodes, QR codes, or even ISSN and ISBN numbers, they will assist you. What’s more, their customer service is fantastic.

In fact, you will receive your barcode package within a mere 24 hours. This is because they are passionate about barcodes, and they would love to inspire you and your business to further success by providing you with your very own barcodes.

The post Barcodes in the Media Industry appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Plugin Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences variables. To reference a plugin setting write %<plugin>_<setting>%, for example, %HEADLINESPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION%. Note: Don't modify the settings here; copy and customize the settings in Main.TWikiPreferences. For example, to customize the USERAGENTNAME setting, create a HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting in Main.TWikiPreferences.

  • One line description, shown in the TextFormattingRules topic:
    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites

  • Refresh rate in minutes for cached feeds. Disable caching: 0, default: 60
    • Set REFRESH = 60

  • Maximum number of items shown. Default: 100
    • Set LIMIT = 100

  • Use LWP::UserAgent, or fallback to TWiki's internal getUrl() method. Default: yes

  • Timeout fetching a feed using the LWP::UserAgent. Default: 20

  • Name of user agent. Default: TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21
      * Set USERAGENTNAME = TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21

  • Default header: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set HEADER = <div class="headlinesChannel"><div class="headlinesLogo"><img src="$imageurl" alt="$imagetitle" border="0" />%BR%</div><div class="headlinesTitle">$n---+!! <a href="$link">$title</a></div><div class="headlinesDate">$date</div><div class="headlinesDescription">$description</div><div class="headlinesRight">$rights</div></div>

  • Default format of one item: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set FORMAT = <div class="headlinesArticle"><div class="headlinesTitle"><a href="$link">$title</a></div>$n<span class="headlinesDate">$date</span> <span class="headlinesCreator"> $creator</span> <span class="headlinesSubject"> $subject </span>$n<div class="headlinesText"> $description</div></div>

  • Values taken from configure: (only supported if CPAN:LWP is installed)
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{HOST} - proxy host, such as "proxy.example.com";
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{PORT} - proxy port, such as "8080";
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} - domains excluded from proxy, such as "intra.example.com, bugs.example.com";

Style Sheets

The default HEADER and FORMAT settings use the following styles. See the style.css file defining the default CSS properties (indentation illustrates enclosure).

  • headlinesRss: output of the HeadlinesPlugin (div)
    • headlinesChannel: channel header (div)
      • headlinesLogo: channel logo (div)
      • headlinesTitle: channel title (div)
      • headlinesDate: channel date (div)
      • headlinesDescription: channel description (div)
      • headlinesRight: channel copyright (div)
    • headlinesArticle: one news item (div)
      • headlinesTitle: article title (div)
      • headlinesDate: article date (span)
      • headlinesCreator: author of article (span)
      • headlinesSubject: subect category of the article (span)
      • headlinesText: article text (div)

Plugin Installation Instructions

  • Download the ZIP file.
  • Unzip it in your twiki installation directory. Content:
    File: Description:
    data/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.txt plugin topic
    pub/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css default css
    lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.pm plugin perl module
    lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm plugin core
    Check if above examples show a news feed instead of variable.
  • Optionally, run HeadlinesPlugin_installer.pl to automatically check and install other TWiki modules that this module depends on. You can also do this step manually.
  • Alternatively, manually make sure the dependencies listed in the table below are resolved.
    Digest::MD5>=2.33Required. Download from CPAN:Digest::MD5
    LWP::UserAgent>=5.803Optional. Download from CPAN:LWP::UserAgent

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2002-2010, Peter Thoeny, Twiki, Inc.; 2005-2007, Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v2.6 - 2010-05-16
Change History:  
2010-05-16: TWikibug:Item6433 - more doc improvements
2010-04-25: TWikibug:Item6433 - doc fix: Changing TWIKIWEB to SYSTEMWEB
2010-02-27: TWikibug:Item6313 - fixed bug in ATOM feed with <link ...></link> instead of <link ... /> -- Peter Thoeny
2009-09-30: fixed bug in lastBuildDate of feeds affecting touch parameter functionality -- Peter Thoeny
2009-08-29: added touch parameter -- Peter Thoeny
12 Feb 2009: {PROXY}{HOST} supports domain with and without protocol -- Peter Thoeny
06 Feb 2009: added {PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} configure setting, added USERAGENTNAME plugin setting -- Peter Thoeny
11 Dec 2008: added {PROXY}{HOST} and {PROXY}{PORT} configure settings -- Peter Thoeny
13 Sep 2007: fixed parsing of content:encoded
23 Jul 2006: improved atom parser; if a posting has no title default to 'Untitled'
26 Apr 2006: added lazy compilation
10 Feb 2006: packaged using the TWiki:Plugins/BuildContrib; minor fixes
03 Feb 2006: off-by-one: limit="n" returned n+1 articles; make FORMAT and HEADER format strings more robust
23 Jan 2006: released v2.00
05 Dec 2005: internal feed urls must be absolute
02 Dec 2005: added web.topic shorthand for internal feeds
29 Nov 2005: fixed CDATA handling
21 Nov 2005: added ATOM support; extended RSS support; added dublin core support; added content support; optionally using LWP to fetch feeds to follow redirections; corrected CPAN dependencies ; recoding special chars from html integer to entity encoding to increase browser compatibility; added css support; use getWorkArea() if available
11 May 2005: TWiki:Main.WillNorris: added DevelopBranch compatability
31 Oct 2004: Fixed taint issue by TWiki:Main.AdrianWeiler; small performance improvement
29 Oct 2004: Fixed issue of external caching if mod_perl or SpeedyCGI is used
02 Aug 2002: Implemented caching of feeds, thanks to TWiki:Main/RobDuarte
11 Jun 2002: Initial version (V1.000)
Perl Version: 5.8
TWiki:Plugins/Benchmark: GoodStyle 100%, FormattedSearch 99.5%, HeadlinesPlugin 94%
Plugin Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/HeadlinesPluginAppraisal

Related Topics: TWikiPlugins, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences

Topic revision: r1 - 2010.05.17 - TWikiContributor
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