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Plugin Review: Feed Reading Blogroll

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March 8th, 2009
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Weekly Plugin Review, WordPress Plugins

Do you display a list of links a.k.a. blogroll in your sidebar? If you do, then Feed Reading Blogroll is one must have plugin on your WordPress blog.

Description

This plugin provides a sidebar-widget and a template-tag that add an enhanced blogroll to your sidebar. It checks on all your linked sites, when the most recent update has occurred.

The check is performed by reading the date of the most recent feed-item. The feeds must be valid RSS2 or ATOM-feeds, otherwise the plugin cannot read the date-information provided by the feed. The Plugin uses the Google AJAX Feed API to access the feeds.

Demo

Feed Reading Blogroll

Check out the sidebar of the author’s site.

Review

For starters, what I love about the plugin is that the author has made an excellent effort to create a complete plugin page on his site. The page contains detailed information about the plugin, including instructions on installation, usage and customization.

Installing Feed Reading Blogroll is just as you would any other plugin. However, you would require to get hold of Google API Key.

You’ll need to navigate to the Settings page of the plugin and start configuring all the options, mainly entering the Google API key. There are tonnes of other configuration options available as well like option to group by category, or to sort by last updated, choose which style to use for the blogroll etc.

Adding links is through WordPress’ inbuilt Links Manager, so you don’t need to worry in case you choose to install the plugin after this review.

You can specify the feed URL that each link uses, which is recommended. If you’re just lazy, the plugin will try to fetch the correct URL using Google’s Feed Fetcher (that’s why you need the API key) and then use this URL.

Once you’ve got everything setup, you’ll want to display the blogroll on your site. For that you can either use the sidebar widget or the template tag. What I’d like to see is some shortcode that I can use to insert the same on a separate page that will house my blogroll, since I don’t display the same in my sidebar.

The plugin comes with internationalization support and is currently available in five languages. If you’re a translator and are willing to translate the plugin, do let the author know. I’m sure he would like that.

A slight warning on using this plugin. It relies heavily on external sites especially for feed fetching and discovering the latest updated time of the feed. As a result, you may encounter some performance issues. I recommend turning off the JavaScript sorting feature and using a caching plugin if you face major problems.

Are you an existing user of Feed Reading Blogroll? If so, do let us know your experience with the plugin. What are your suggestions for the same?

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16
Responses

 

Comments

  1. Nehemoth (21 comments.) says:

    Thank you.

    Just installed, working like a charm.

  2. Matt Algren (4 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using this one for a while, and it quickly became one of my favorite plugins. I’m using it with the classic style (it looks a bit cleaner to only have one link per site) and with icons turned off.

    I wouldn’t worry about the javascript sorting; the plugin has an automatic timeout feature, which defaults to 20 seconds but can be set longer. If you hover over the title of a blog on the list, you’ll see that it blinks until it has updated information.

    The best feature is the bookmark preview. Turn it on on the configuration page by ticking the last box, “Enable bookmark preview”. When a reader clicks on the time of a blog’s last update, the list expands downward, revealing the last four posts from that blog, with a link to each entry. Click again and the list closes back up.

    All in all, an exceptional plugin that is a must-have for my blog.

  3. Gazzer (1 comments.) says:

    I am new to WordPress and it’s format. Just transferred my blog over and installed this on my blog. I wish the blogs in the blogroll would have bolder titles and the latest articles wouldn’t be bold. I am aware that you can personally change this but I am new to the system and not an expert at this and since I had some trouble getting it started don’t want to have to move the files and rewrite the code. At this point I am just happy it is working. Also some of the blogs I have on my list don’t update and they did in Blogger so I am not sure why they are not updating on this system. I love the widget but it is hard for the newbie.

  4. Patricia says:

    EL ARDUO TRABAJO DEL EQUIPO DE CAMPAÑA DE RODRIGO AVILA, ESTA LLEGANDO A SU FIN Y CON ELLO LA VICTORIA ENMINENTE DE LOS AMANTES DE LA LIBERTAD Y LA DEMOCRACIA, QUE NO ENTREGAREMOS “NUNCA” EL SALVADOR.

  5. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    Hi all,

    I would like to encourage everyone, who has problems with the plugin to come to my support forum. There, we will try to solve them. You can register at my blog to create a new forum-account.

  6. Synergy Articles (6 comments.) says:

    Wow, that’s pretty snazzy.

  7. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    Ajay wrote:

    What I’d like to see is some shortcode that I can use to insert the same on a separate page that will house my blogroll, since I don’t display the same in my sidebar.

    I agree, it is necessary to explain better, how the plugin’s template-tag can be used.

    So I wrote a little tutorial about how to create a linkpage.

  8. olivia says:

    I’d like a sidebar blogroll/feedroll which allows you to only list say five blogs at a time or the five most recently updated. Those long blogroll columns are a real space sucker.

  9. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    @olivia: agreed, I will add this feature to the next version.

  10. BGR (1 comments.) says:

    C Heck out Linked List. It does same and lets you limit number of posts. I used it without cookies for some time and hope to create a “content” page for a categorized blog roll instead of using space in side bar and causing slower page load.

  11. Jan (15 comments.) says:

    Feed Reading Blogroll version 1.2 has the feature of limiting the number of bookmarks (e.g. “only show the five freshest bookmarks in my blogroll”).


Tweetbacks

  1. JorgeMudry (JorgeMudry) (24 comments.) says:

    Plugin Review: Feed Reading Blogroll http://tinyurl.com/bj77y5


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] As you know, every Sunday we pick one plugin to review. e.g. last Sunday, i.e. March 8, we reviewed the Feed Reading Blogroll plugin. […]

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  4. […] reviewed Feed Reading Blog Roll last week. This plugin provides a sidebar-widget and a template-tag that add an enhanced blogroll […]

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