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RSS and Calendar Feeds

Create an RSS/XML feed

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based format that can be accessed with “news reader” applications, embedded in blogs, and used in other ways. Our Events at Stanford RSS feeds currently use RSS 2.0.

You’ll use the Widget Builder to create your custom RSS feed. The filtering controls in that tool allow you to get very fine-grained to display exactly what you need on your site. A couple of settings to take note of:

  • It does not matter which template you choose at the top of the form. RSS feeds do not make use of widget templates. You can leave that setting at Default.
  • By default, feeds only include the next instance for recurring events. If you’d like to include all instances within a date range then you can select the Include All Matching Instances option.

At the bottom of the form, click Preview Widget to make sure you’re displaying your desired results. This will open a new tab and show you your result in Widget form. In order to change the display from the HTML widget to an RSS feed, you’ll have to make a small change to the URL in your address bar. Look for format=html and change it to format=rss, then hit the enter or return on your keyboard to refresh the page.

Select and copy the URL. You’ll use this in your RSS reader, widget, or wherever else you’d like to display your custom feed.

You can further customize the URL; see Localist’s documentation for widgets for filter and output parameters.

A Note for Drupal 7 Users

To avoid breaking D7 sites, we are going to leave the legacy system up and running for a minimum of six months. You’ll have to make one change to avoid breakage: instead of referencing your feed at events.stanford.edu, you’ll use events-legacy.stanford.edu.

This will work in the short term. Keep in mind that we are replacing the legacy system because it is undocumented and we have no knowledge of how to fix it if it breaks. So we’re advising everyone to start looking at new solutions. In our opinion, your best course of action is to accelerate any planned migration to Drupal 9. We understand this can be a large project and could be in your queue behind other, higher priority work.

Something to keep in mind if you continue pulling from legacy: if your feed includes events entered by other organizations, and those organizations have moved to Localist, their events will not show in your XML feed. We are not syncing events from Localist back to the legacy system.

Create and subscribe to a calendar feed

The Stanford Events calendar has tools that allow you to add a custom event feed to your own calendar, with support for Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and iCal, which is supported by several different calendar apps.

To build your custom calendar feed, click the Filter button found on the events homepage. You will find a list of filters you can use to narrow your selections: choose from Date range, Experiences, Event Types, Audience, and Subject. To test your results, you can click the Apply Filters button at the bottom. Adjust the filters as needed. Just above the Apply Filters button, you will see an area labeled Subscribe to Displayed Results. To build your calendar feed, click the calendar icon that corresponds to your app; when you hover over each you will see a tooltip telling you which app it is for. Clicking the icon will open a browser window or your calendar app, depending on how your system and apps are configured.