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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.


  • RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an XML standard used to publish frequently updated works such as blog entries, news headlines and audio.
  • Atom is an XML syndication format used for web feeds.
  • Syndic8.com at http://www.syndic8.com/ lists many RSS and ATOM feeds.

Syntax Rules


Parameter Explanation Default
"..." Source of RSS or ATOM 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
header="..." Header. May 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. May 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
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

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. Note that some of the variables are already used above. This is done by purpose to use different feeds with the same formatting parameters. If there's a conflict the non-dc tags have higher precedence, i.e. a <title> content </title> is preferred 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 referring 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, 15 Oct 2019 14:08:11 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:08:09 +0000 Carrol Strain

Now is a great time to start a boiler repair and plumbing business. This is because the industry is expected to grow over the next few years due to new construction.

Plus, existing homeowners are investing in remodeling homes. Many of these projects require the expertise of a plumbing contractor.

If you want to capitalize on this growth, it's time to get started. Would you like to know more about starting your own plumbing business?

Read on to learn what it takes to start your business and build it from the ground up.

Have Experience with the Plumbing Industry

How much experience do you have in the plumbing industry? Are you just getting started or have you been working for others for years?

You want to make sure you have a foundation to start with. To begin with, you need to have a high school diploma or a GED to get into a trade school or plumbing certification program. These are usually short programs that give you the knowledge and hands-on skills to work in the industry.

After the certification program, you want to get an apprenticeship so you can learn more about the industry and the day-to-day work that plumbers do. Some certification programs combine classroom work with apprenticeships. Therefore, it won't cost you years of time building up your experience.


You also need to be licensed to work as a plumber. The requirements will vary by state. However, at the beginning stages of your career, you can get a journeyman license. That usually requires at least two years of experience.

Decide on a Business Model for Your Plumbing Company

You have a few options to start up a business. You can be an independently owned business or a franchise, or you can buy out an existing plumbing business.

There are pros and cons of each. An independent business gives you complete control, but you have to do everything yourself.

With a franchise, you operate according to the franchise's rules. On the plus side, you have the marketing and brand support of a larger company.

When you buy out an existing business, you can get a steady stream of customers right away. However, you need to make sure to purchase a business with a great reputation. You don't want to buy a cheap business with a bad reputation because you won't be able to rebuild it.

Know Your Niche

Your next step is to figure out what kind of business you want to run. Do you want to have a business that focuses on small residential projects? On the other hand, you could decide that commercial plumbing projects are a better fit for you.  

You want to decide your niche early on because your marketing, branding, and business plan will be dictated by who you want to work with.

The reason why you want to limit your scope of services early on is that you will be working with few resources at the beginning. You want to use those resources wisely. If you have a broad range of services, you're going to have to hire other plumbers and buy equipment to take care of those jobs.

By having a smaller scope, your business is more focused and you're using fewer resources to serve clients. That means more profitability.

Start Planning for Future Expansion

Keep in mind that limiting your scope early on doesn't mean you're stuck with it. You can start with one area and expand into other areas as your business grows.

For example, you might start off with a business that works in small residential plumbing projects in Fort Collins, Colorado. You could later expand to boiler repair Denver, which gives you a new market and a new service.

Research the Competition

You have to know who's offering what in your niche. Therefore, take a look online at your main plumbing competitors. Pick three to five of the top ones and study them. You want to note:

  • How they market themselves
  • The services they offer
  • How they try to set themselves apart
  • Who they target

The time you spend doing research will guide you in positioning your own company. You can find areas that aren't being served by your competition. That presents a big opportunity for your new plumbing business.

Write Out a Business Plan for Your Plumbing Company

This is the thing that new business owners love to skip. However, it can go a long way to determine your success or failure. A detailed written business plan makes your business more likely to be successful than companies that don't have one.

That's because a business plan looks at every aspect of the business to determine whether or not it stands a chance to be profitable. You also know what the risks and obstacles are before you do anything else.

The main components of a business plan tell the story about the business, such as the founders, the business structure, the daily operations, and the financials. The financials are the most time-consuming, but the most important.

Get Good People Around You

There's a lot you know about plumbing, but it's likely that you don't know much about running a business. Everyone starts with little knowledge, but the difference for successful people is that they know where they need help.

For starters, you probably don't know much about the different types of corporate structures for your plumbing business. You're not an expert in tax law, either.


That's why a good team is critical to your success. You'll want to start with a business attorney who can tell you how you should structure your business. You'll also want to have a great bookkeeper and accountant on hand.

As your business grows, you may decide to outsource things like marketing and sales to people with these skill sets.

Obtain Your Licenses and Approvals 

Now it's time to make your business official. You'll need to register your business with the secretary of state's office in your state. You may need to obtain local business licenses, depending on where you operate.

You may also need to make sure you have a contractor's license in your state. That allows you to hire subcontractors and employees for jobs. Many plumbing contractors are licensed to take on large projects, such as septic tank replacements.

If that's not confusing enough, some local jurisdictions like New York City have their own licensing requirements. If you have questions about getting the proper licenses in your city and state, contact your state's board of plumbing contractors for guidance.

Finance and Buy Equipment

You're inching closer to getting your business started. You'll need to have proper plumbing equipment to take care of your customers.

Some of this should have been addressed in your business plan. For example, you should have outlined what you need to get started and how much it costs.

You can take your business plan to the bank and get a small business loan to pay for the equipment. Of course, they're going to want to make sure that you have good credit, too.

Build Your Brand

Building your brand is where the fun part of business begins. This just means working to get new clients. Especially if you decided to start an independently owned business, you need to define your brand.

That doesn't mean create a logo. Instead, your brand is the first thing customers think of when they hear about your company.

In the case of a plumbing business, professionalism and reliability are two things your customers might think of when they think about your business. Moreover, your brand will be the foundation of all of your marketing efforts. It will dictate the messaging on your website and the colors in your logo.

Start Marketing Your Plumbing Business

There are countless ways to market your business. You can invest in search engine optimization, blogging, social media, and networking.

What’s more, you want to do a mix of online and offline activities to get started. You'll be able to see what works well for your business and invest more resources to what's working.

No matter what you do to market your business, you have to be out there consistently and give your strategies time to work. 

Devote Time to Self-Improvement

You need to think of yourself as someone more than a plumber. Additionally, you're a business owner with a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. There's a lot that you need to know to run a profitable business.

It's also your responsibility to stay up-to-date with changes in the plumbing industry. This allows you to deliver better services to your customers.

For these reasons, you should devote a little time each day to self-improvement. To do this, you can take a course on business financials or read books about leadership.

Start Your Plumbing Business Today

Starting a business is tough in the beginning stages. This is because you need to get the right clients and deliver outstanding service. It's long hours, up and down income, and a bit more stress than you're used to.

It does take patience and attention to detail to build your business. However, remember that you're much more than a plumbing contractor. You're a plumbing business owner. You need to know a little bit about everything from marketing to sales to accounting.

Do you want more business tips that will help you get your business up and running? Take a look at our Marketing section for helpful articles.

The post Start Your Own Boiler Repair and Plumbing Business appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Mon, 14 Oct 2019 22:50:21 +0000 Carrol Strain

Are you thinking about hiring security personnel for your business? Are you wondering if you really need it and if the outlay is worth it to your business?

According to crime comparison stats, the United States is roughly three times as dangerous as the EU. Moreover, it ranks considerably closer to the countries with the highest crime rates than to countries with low crime rates.

Therefore, depending on your industry and needs, it can never hurt to put safety first and get bring a security guard on board to help. 

At the same time, there a number of often-disregarded benefits that come with hiring a security guard which you can take advantage of. Want to know what these are? Read on to find out.

1. A Guard at Your Business Makes People Feel Safe

As a business owner, you want your place of business to be welcoming and inviting to customers. One way to do this is to provide customers with a sense of security.

Having security personnel on site will go a long way to reassuring customers that they are safe at your place of business. This is especially true for the elderly and mothers with small children.

Moreover, if you operate a business that is involved in the financial industry or any other sector that can attract higher rates of crime, it is doubly important that you make your customers feel safe and protected.

Businesses like fast-food restaurants and bistros are also increasingly hiring security guards to make customers feel secure. This helps to prevent disturbances and maintain order.

2. The Presence of Security Personnel Makes Customers Feel You Care

Having a security guard on your premises makes customers and clients feel secure. Additionally, it demonstrates to them that you care about their safety. 

Besides, having security on hand indicates your company is organized and responsible. Plus, it shows that you are willing to devote resources to maintaining high levels of safety.

3. A Guard Adds a Human Element to Security

Security cameras and other security tech can increase safety and surveillance levels. However, these safety measures tend to have a cold feeling to them.

A security guard, on the other hand, adds a human element that is reassuring and comforting to people. Having a physical human presence in charge of maintaining security is also a more visual sign of security than cameras.

Also, having onsite security personnel can act as an effective crime deterrent.

4. The Presence of Security Guards Is a Crime Deterrent

One of the reasons many businesses take advantage of security guards is that the sight of armed security personnel is often enough to stop crime before it even happens. In fact, studies have shown that private security can substantially prevent crimes by creating a general deterrent effect.

This can be of great benefit to your business. A reduction of disruptive and potentially dangerous incidents can save time. Also, it can reduce the negative effects of distress on your employees and customers. Most of all, fewer unwanted incidents mean that your business is less likely to be associated with security breaches.

5. When an Unwanted Incident Happens, Security Personnel Know Exactly What to Do

The presence of armed and trained security personnel prevents unwanted incidents from happening in the first place. Additionally, when something unwanted does happen, a trained guard will be able to handle the situation in a professional and effective way.

Incidents of theft and violence can throw even the most level-headed employees into a state of fear. However, an armed trained guard has been trained and prepared for these incidents. He or she has on-the-ground experience of how to handle them effectively and without panicking. 

This is one of the biggest reasons to hire an armed guard.

In addition, a security guard can also professionally assist with police inquiries. Moreover, they can act as a valuable eyewitness in most situations.

6. Security Personnel Can Save You Money, Property Loss, and Complications

It’s true that hiring security personnel is an expense for your business. On the other hand, in some cases, your investment in additional security can end up saving you money. It can also guard against loss of property and help to avoid legal complications.

Having a hired guard on site means there is less chance of theft within your business. This can save you significant amounts of money. This is thanks to the fact that security personnel conduct constant surveillance.

7. With Security Personnel You Have Constant Surveillance

One of the reasons why having a security guard is so beneficial for a business is that hired guards are responsible for maintaining constant surveillance. 

For example, having security cameras in place is a waste unless somebody is monitoring the footage in detail. However, what often tends to happen in businesses is that nobody has the time to devote to going through and monitoring all of the security footage. But this is precisely what makes footage useful for stopping crime as it happens. 

If you have security personnel on your premises, one of their roles is to maintain vigilant monitoring of all security footage. Besides this, security guards are trained to keep their eyes and ears open for any discrepancies, in any area.

This continual surveillance will heighten security not only on your business’s public front but also within its internal workings. If discrepancies or irregularities come to light, some firms can also utilize professional investigative services to resolve the issue.

8. Security Personnel Can Ensure That Strikes Are Safe

If you are in charge of a large organization or business, there is a chance that you will have to deal with industry strikes or demonstrations. While most strikes and demonstrations start out with a peaceful resolution in mind, a handful of troublemakers can easily steer a strike into a destructive and chaotic affair. 

However, having armed security personnel present can ensure that any strikes that involve your employees remain controlled and safe for those participating and anybody else who’s in the vicinity. The presence of security guards can also minimize any potential damage to property or other unforeseen circumstances.

9. Security Guards’ Roles Can Be Extended to Provide Customer Service

Although a hired security guard needs to constantly be on watch, they also often have time to help customers who just need to be pointed in the right direction. 

This is because most people instinctively trust security personnel. They will often approach them with problems, from locating the bathroom to finding out if they are on the right floor or tracking down somebody they have lost.


If a security guard is present to assist customers and point them in the right direction, this solidifies the impression that your business is a safe place. Moreover, it shows your clients and customers that the people in your business are reliable, trustworthy, and friendly.

Another role that security personnel can handle with ease is crowd control. If you run a business that sees a lot of foot traffic, a security guard can manage any crowd issues that develop.

This skill is very useful for occasions in any business where a crowd may form, such as in the event of a fire or some other emergency.

10. You Don’t Have to Worry About Any HR-Related Hassles

Another considerable perk that comes with hiring a security guard is that you can skip all of the HR hassles. If you choose to hire security personnel from a security firm, they handle all of these issues for you. This can dramatically save on costs, time, and resources. It also increases efficiency.

Security guards from reputable firms-such as TSE-are rigorously trained. And they also come to the job with hands-on experience.

This means you won’t have to waste time on any training or calling up references to see if a potential security guard is as experienced as he or she says they are.

In fact, you won’t have to devote any HR resources to the hiring process. Nor will you have to handle additional payroll and other employer duties.

Now You Know Why Security Personnel Can Be So Valuable to a Business

If you thought security personnel might be an unjustifiable business expenditure, think again. The presence of security guards stops crime before it happens. Plus, it ensures that any incidents that do take place get handled professionally. 

Having security guards in place also demonstrates that your business takes its security and the safety of employees and customers seriously.

If you want more great tips for your business, be sure to bookmark our blog.

The post 10 Benefits of Hiring Security Personnel appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Plugin Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences settings. Do not change the settings here, they are here only for illustration purposes showing the default values. Define the settings in Main.TWikiPreferences. For example, to customize the HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting, add a * Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME = ... bullet in Main.TWikiPreferences.

  • Refresh rate in minutes for cached feeds. Set to 0 to disable caching:

  • Maximum number of items shown:

  • Use LWP::UserAgent if set to 1, or fallback to TWiki's internal getUrl() method if set to 0:

  • Timeout fetching a feed using the LWP::UserAgent:

  • Name of user agent:
    • Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME = TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2011-07-08

  • Default header: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set HEADLINESPLUGIN_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 HEADLINESPLUGIN_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

Note: You do not need to install anything on the browser to use this plugin. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the plugin on the TWiki server.

  • For an automated installation, run the configure script and follow "Find More Extensions" in the in the Extensions section.

  • Or, follow these manual installation steps:
    • Download the ZIP file from the Plugins home (see below).
    • Unzip HeadlinesPlugin.zip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
      File: Description:
      data/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.txt Plugin topic
      pub/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css Default CSS
      lib/TWiki/Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin.pm Plugin Perl module
      lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm Plugin core
    • Set the ownership of the extracted directories and files to the webserver user.
    • 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 configuration and testing:
    • Run the configure script, enable the plugin in the Plugins section
    • Configure the plugin: See plugin settings above.
    • Test if the installation was successful: See example above.

Plugin Info

  • 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

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2002-2012 Peter Thoeny, TWiki.org
© 2005-2007 Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: 2012-09-05
Change History:  
2012-09-05: TWikibug:Item6837: Doc fixes
2011-07-17: TWikibug:Item6764: Add VarHEADLINES variable documentation; doc improvements; setting NO_PREFS_IN_TOPIC
2011-07-08: TWikibug:Item6725: Change global package variables from "use vars" to "our"
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: VarHEADLINES, TWikiPlugins, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences

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Topic revision: r6 - 2012-09-05 - 07:38:59 - TWikiContributor
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