“The Swiss Army Knife of RSS Scripts” – 2 New Plugins for CaRP Evolution
On the 26th and 27th, I released two new plugins for CaRP Evolution (both of which you get free with your purchase). As I was adding them to the ever-growing list of plugins, a new phrase came to mind: "The Swiss Army Knife of RSS Scripts".
As recently as March, CaRP Evolution version 3 had 8 plugins. CaRP Evolution version 4 now has 19 plugins! New since March are "Click" (redirect clicks through your tracker script), "Group Date" (group items from each date under a common date header), "Numeric Entitites" (convert numeric HTML entities like Ӓ to characters for export to email, for example), "Podcast" (display podcasts in an on-page Flash-powered audio player), "Processed Data" (get the parsed feed data in a multidimensional PHP array), "QuickTime" (play QuickTime and MPEG movies on-page), "Sort" (sort feeds in all sorts of ways), "XML Encode" (prepare data for output in an XML document -- for example, to create mashup RSS feeds), "YouTube" (display YouTube video feeds on your site), and the two new ones.
The first is "Page", which displays a "page" of items from a feed and generates links to the previous and next pages for you. It even works with aggregations from multiple feeds (which can get very long if you want to display more than a few items from each feed). I'm already using this on several of my sites.
The second is "Expander", which enables you to display just a summary of each item with a "show more" link. When the user clicks it, the rest of the description is dynamically displayed without refreshing the page. This has got to be one of my favorite plugins yet. It enables you to pack a lot of feed items into a small space and keep the display attractive without making the summaries so short that they're not informative -- or at least if they are too short but the reader wants to read more, they can very quickly and easily get the rest without having to leave your page. I'm using this one in even more places than the "Page" plugin.
I revamped the examples on the CaRP homepage today to better hilight some of the things you can do with these plugins, including one example showing 4 plugins working together to do some really nice stuff. Check it out.