Parse Feeds With Toolbox

You can use feed parser to design templates from RSS feeds that can be inserted into messages, headers, footers, or content tags.

About this task

Note: Toolbox is not compatible with the Email Message Editor. To use Toolbox features, select the HTML (Code Editor) as the Email Message Type.
To do this:

Procedure

  1. Go to Messages > Toolbox.
  2. Click Create Parser.
  3. Enter a name in the Name box.
  4. Optional: Enter a description in the Description box.
  5. Click Create.
  6. Enter a URL for your feed in the Enter a feed URL box then hit Enter.

    The feed and entry variables for the URL are populated. Feed variables give access to top-level information about the feed, whereas entry variables provide access to information about the individual items provided by a feed such as announcements, products, blog posts, etc.). Both can be added to your template.

  7. Click the Template tab to build your template.

    The template builder is displayed. Steps 8- 12 explain how you can build a template, but do not need to be completed in the order they are provided.

  8. Optional: Click Insert Example Template to start with a basic template outline you can work from.
  9. As desired, add variables to your message by clicking on either the Feed Variables or Entry Variables tab, clicking the copy button to copy a variable or value, and pasting that variable or value into the template builder.

    Feed Variables give access to top-level information about the feed, whereas Entry Variables provide access to information about the individual items provided by a feed.

  10. Optional: Use entry loops to select a set of entries from a feed and repeat a portion of the template.
    1. Add the opening and closing {{entry_loop}} tags.
    2. Click on the Entry Variables tab, copy a variable you want to use, then add it to the entry loop.

      Make sure you copy the Variable, not the Value.

    3. Repeat the previous step until all of the entry variables you want to use are included in the loop.
    4. Optional: Include additional optional settings in the opening {{entry_loop}} tag.

      These can include:

      • skip - Specifies the number of items to skip in the feed before starting the loop.
      • limit - Specifies the maximum number of items to loop over.
      • filter-variable - Specifies the Entry Variable to use for filtering which items to include. (Requires a filter-value be set)
      • filter-value - Specifies the value of the Entry Variable set in the filter-variable setting. (Requires a filter-variable be set)
      • filter-type - Specifies how the Entry Variable set in filter-variable is compared to the filter-value. By default, if this setting is not set, it must be an exact match. The following options are supported:
        • equalsIgnoreCase - Variable value is an exact match, ignoring upper and lower case differences.
        • startsWith - Variable value begins with the filter-value text.
        • contains - Variable value contains the filter-value text.
        • matches - Variable value matches using filter-value as a Regular Expression.

      The following example of an entry loop filters items that have the entry variable {{category}} with a value of "Features". It then skips the first entry and displays a maximum of 5 items. For each item that matches, it displays the title entry variable.

      {{entry_loop filter-variable="category" filter-value="Features" skip="1" limit="5"}}
        {{title}}
      {{/entry_loop}}
  11. Optional: Apply formatting expressions to your variables.

    A formatting expression is added by placing a bar after the variable name. For example: {{pubDate|dateformat("yyyy-MM-dd")}}. The following expressions are supported:

    Formatting Expression Description Example
    trim Truncates the text of a variable at a certain length. The following example will cut off the value of the variable {{title}} at 200 characters and append an ellipsis as a suffix. {{title|trim(200, "...")}}

    The suffix is optional and defaults to an ellipsis. The following example is equivalent: {{title|trim(200)}}

    An additional third parameter may be specified. When true, it will make sure to preserve words and not split in the middle of a word. {{title|trim(200, "...", true)}}

    dateformat Formats a date from a variable using the patterns described here. The following example will convert the {{pubDate}} variable from a source format of "EEE, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z" to "yyyy-MM-dd". This would convert a date that looks like "Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:18:57 +0000" to "2014-07-25". {{pubDate|dateformat("yyyy-MM-dd", "EEE, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z")}}

    The source format is optional and defaults to "EEE, dd MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z". The following example is equivalent: {{pubDate|dateformat("yyyy-MM-dd")}}

    extract_image Strips all content except for the specified HTML image tag. This example will get the first image found in the {{description}} variable. {{description|extract_image(1)}}

    If there is only one image, or you only want the first image, you can simplify the expression {{description|extract_image}}

    An additional third parameter may be specified. When true, it will extract just the image URL from the image tag. {{description|extract_image(1, true)}}

    strip_images Removes all HTML image tags from the variable content. This example will remove all image tags from the {{description}} variable.{{description|strip_images}}
    strip_html Removes all HTML tags from the variable content. The following example will remove all tags from the {{description}} variable. {{description|strip_html}}

    Formatting expressions can be chained together using the pipe (|) character and, when chained, are applied from left to right. For example {{title|strip_html|trim(14, "...")}}.

  12. Use the buttons at the top of the template builder to style your message.

    You can hover over a button to see a brief description of what each button is.

  13. Click on the Preview tab to see a preview of the message, and click Template to continue building your template until you are satisfied with the preview.
  14. Click Settings to configure how your template will be used and updated:
    1. Select the type of message content you want to apply the template to from the first list.
    2. Select the specific message, header, footer, or content tag you want to apply the template to from the second list.

      If you selected Create New, enter a name in the box and click Create.

    3. If you wish to automatically update nightly with any changes from the feed, set Nightly Refresh to On.
  15. When finished, click Save & Close.