I have been playing pretty intently with WordPress these days in an attempt to develop out a UMW Division of Teaching & Learning Technologies site that features our projects, aggregates our blog posts & del.iciou.us feeds, while also acting as a resource for faculty, students, and the whole world wide web. It has been a really enjoyable project because I am finally creating the time to sit down and push WordPress as far as my paltry imagination will let me. I have already blogged the BDP RSS plugin -which provides the basis for some inspired WordPress eduglu. Another plugin I came across recently for WordPress is Optimal. The description on the Yabfog blog of this dynamic plugin is as follows:
Optimal renders valid OPML from any source in a tree-like view ideal for browsing. Links to external OPML files as well as RSS, RDF, and Atom feeds are expanded in place.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with an OPML file, it is a file written in Extensible Mark-up Language (xml) that aggregates disparate feeds from various sources (in this case RSS feeds from blogs) into one file. Optimal allows you to link externally to this file and display the links to various sources (in my case blogs -but it can also be podcasts, mediawiki articles, forum threads, or anything else with an RSS feed). None of these features makes the Optimal plugin particularly special, what does, however, is that this plugin allows you to browse the most recent content from these various feeds right in the page where you have added the simple script.
An example might make this a bit clearer. A while back Darcy Norman “published” an OPML file of all the eduTech blogs he reads for anyone else out there to take advantage of (he’s a giver!). Using the Optimal plugin, all I need to do is get the address of the OPML file and plugin it into a little code that comes with the plugin and BOOM! -I have my own eduTech bloglines right within bavatuesdays that everyone else also has access to. Take a look at bavafeeds to see this plugin hard at work.