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Author: Manuel Lemos

Posted on:

This post announces the launch of the RSS feeds that list the latest changes made on each package.

The enhancements made on RSS feed items are also explained. The site uses HTML to format RSS feed contents in a more pleasant way that includes package screenshots and additional links of interest.

The site also provides RSS 1.0 and 2.0 feed alternative formats to please a greater audience. Details about the RSS generator class used by the site are also mentioned.




Contents

* New PHP Programming Innovation Award sponsors

* Latest package changes by RSS

* Special details in HTML formatted RSS item descriptions

* RSS 1.0 versus RSS 2.0


* New PHP Programming Innovation Award sponsors

Before getting to the main topic of this post, I would like to tell you about the latest sponsors that joined the PHPClasses innovation award.

The PHP Programming Innovation Award organized has always been a great success since it was launched in March 2004.

Every month there are always in average 10 innovative packages that are nominated to win the award. This has been attracting more and more capable developers that share very innovative work.

Fortunately, this has also been attracting more companies willing to sponsor the award. The award provides them greater visibility to the products and services that they sell to PHP developers.

Recently a couple new sponsors have joined the already long list of sponsors:

1. Packt Publishing produces many books about specific products and technologies of interest to the Open Source community.

2. IP2Location sells databases that provide geographic information about the location of IP addresses.

Additionally, Nusphere, developers of the PhpED IDE, sponsor of the award since its beginning, have resumed its sponsorship of the award after a short interruption.


* Latest package changes by RSS

One of the most useful purposes of the PHPClasses site is to let users keep track of the latest changes made on each package published in the site.

Since the site takes note of each user that downloads each package, it can send alert e-mail messages to all package users that what to be notified of package changes.

Unfortunately, it has not been viable to send alert messages only about changes on selected list of packages that the users downloaded. This circumstance made some users give up alert messages altogether, due to the excessive volume of e-mail that those users get.

To overcome this problem, the site has now implemented a long time requested feature: Per package RSS feeds

http://bugs.phpclasses.org/show_bug.cgi?id=12

From now on, you can keep track of the latest changes made to the files of any package. There is a new link on each package page with the title "Latest changes". It points to an RSS feed that lists all files of the package sorted by the last change date.

Only the last change made on each file is listed. It does not provide all the detail of package change alert messages, but it should be sufficient to keep you upto date to the latest package changes.


* Special details in HTML formatted RSS item descriptions

Since May 2002, the PHPClasses has been making available RSS feeds about the latest updates on several kinds of content provided by the site.

RSS is a great standard to let site publishers keep users upto date. Since, it is a XML based format, it can have additional fields to provide special details about the type of content being listed.

However, most RSS reader programs do not care about the special details provided those additional fields. That is a shame because such reader programs omit important information that the site users would like to know.

To make up for this deficiency in most RSS readers, the PHPClasses site RSS feeds use HTML to format the descriptions of each feed item.

HTML makes possible to present more information in a way that is pleasant for the users to read. Besides the usual description text, now you can see for instance: screenshot images of the listed packages, and links to other relevant sections about the listed content.


* RSS 1.0 versus RSS 2.0

Despite RSS is now a very popular format for syndicating content, there is more than only one "RSS format". Unfortunately, the community members that defined RSS did not agree in a single format. That makes the life of Web developers more complicated.

The original RSS 0.9 format forked to RSS 0.91. RSS 0.91 is simpler but is not compatible with 0.9 . RSS 0.9 evolved to RSS 1.0 to become more modular. RSS 0.91 had several revisions before it jumped to RSS 2.0 .

Too make things even more complicated, other people created Atom, which is also a XML based format for the same purposes of the other RSS formats.

The PHPClasses site always sticked to RSS 1.0, but now more and more sites prefer RSS 2.0. That may be either because it may be simpler, or maybe because they assume that RSS 2.0 is the newer revision of RSS 1.0, when in fact they are not even compatible.

To attempt to satisfy a greater audience, the PHPClasses site is providing both RSS 1.0 and 2.0 versions of its feeds.

The URLs of each revisions are basically the same. The only difference is in the file name extension: .xml for RSS 1.0 and .rss for RSS 2.0 . For instance:

Latest packages feed in RSS 1.0 format:
http://www.phpclasses.org/browse/latest/latest.xml

Latest packages feed in RSS 2.0 format:
http://www.phpclasses.org/browse/latest/latest.rss

All pages that link to RSS feeds show an orange icon with the XML text to point to the RSS 1.0 feed, and a blue icon with the text RSS pointing to the RSS 2.0 feed.

Both feed formats are created with the same RSS generator class. If you are interested in knowing how to generate these feeds, you may find the RSS Writer class here:

http://www.phpclasses.org/rsswriter

It is very likely the this class and the feeds will be enhanced in the future to generate RSS with more details than those that are included now.

As usual, feel free to comment to this post if you have questions, suggestions or criticisms about this topic.

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  Blog PHP Classes blog   RSS 1.0 feed RSS 2.0 feed   Blog RSS 2.0 feeds for lat...   Post a comment Post a comment   See comments See comments (0)   Trackbacks (0)