Repeat Signage V4 help

Control - RSS feed

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RSS feed control

 

Supported file types RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 (without HTML) files  *.rss, *.xml
Playlist support Yes
Scheduler support No
Scrolling support No
Rotation support 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees
File locations Local RSS files or website based feeds
   


Note - This control has now been replaced with the Flash RSS control

It will remain available for compatibility with older versions of Repeat Signage.  This control doesn't support RSS feeds that contain HTML formatting or the character scrolling of RSS that is seen on many website.  However it does have the advantage over the Flash RSS control in that it can display RSS feed text vertically and supports gradient fonts and fonts made of images.


Description

This control allows Repeat Signage to use Internet RSS feeds and also ones that you create yourself on a network drive for your organisation.   Although we usually think of RSS feeds as coming from Internet news sites, such as the BBC, these can be used to display information in your presentation that can be updated via a computer network drive.  This allows the screen in reception area, etc, to be updated whilst playing from anywhere on your network.

For more technical background information on RSS feeds, then please read the information on RSS feeds for more information.


Simple RSS feed displaying one news item after another from an Internet RSS feed


To do this:

- On the designer screen menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Old controls' then 'Insert RSS feed'. 

- This defaults to 'On a website' as the location of the RSS feed.  You could enter http://www.repeatsoftware.com/RepeatSignageNews.xml to view the latest news on Repeat Signage, or browse and find another RSS feed page.  It is easiest to find the address of the RSS feed in your computer's browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, and then copy and paste the address in here. 

- Click on OK when you selected your site to insert the new RSS feed control onto the designer screen. 

You can then position and size your RSS feed control as required.  Double click the control to view the properties and change the font, colours, etc. 


Simple RSS feed scrolling news items

To do this:

- Add an RSS feed control as per the instructions for 'Simple RSS feed displaying one news item after another' above.

- Double click the RSS feed control to open the properties.

- Click on the 'Scrolling' tab and change the 'Scroll direction' drop down box to 'RIGHT TO LEFT' and then click on the OK button.

This will scroll the text horizontally, right to left, across the screen. You may want to resize the control so that you can see each news item correctly, or double click the control to see it's properties and alter the text size.


Scrolling an RSS feed vertically

You can either scroll horizontal text up or down the screen, or change the text to be vertical and then scroll it. To try both methods:

- Add an RSS feed control as per the information in 'Simple RSS feed scrolling news items' above so that you have a horizontal scrolling RSS feed control.

- Double click the RSS feed control to open the properties.

- Click on the 'Scrolling' tab and change the 'Scroll direction' drop down box to 'BOTTOM TO TOP' and then click on the OK button.

This scrolls the text up the screen, but the text is still horizontal. To change to make the text vertical:

- Double click the RSS feed control to open the properties.

- Click on the 'Rotate/flip' tab and select the '270 DEGREES' option then click on the OK button.

You now need to move and resize the control so that the control is in the top left corner of the screen and resized to be the screen height:

- Click on the RSS control and then right mouse click and select 'Position' then 'Top left'

- Click on the RSS control again and then right mouse click and select 'Size' then 'Screen height'

- You will also need to alter the width of the control to say 50 pixels which you can either do by resizing using the control's resizer handles or on the menu change the 'Size in pixels' section.


Creating RSS feeds free with RepeatServer.com

You can create a free RepeatServer.com account and this will allow you to create and host RSS feeds on the Internet free of charge.  This is a free service to Repeat Signage customers and evaluators.


Creating RSS feeds for use internally within your organisation

You may have a staff cafeteria in your building and decide to put in a large LCD monitor and computer to display Repeat Signage presentations on with the aim of keeping all members of staff up to date with the latest company news.  You could split the screen into areas to display general information, but also decide to put a scrolling RSS feed control along the bottom of the screen to display news that changes on a daily basis.   For the first presentation you have the following items of news:

- John Smith has been promoted to Sales Manager after Fred Bloggs retirement
- Fred Bloggs leaving presentation today in the cafeteria at 5pm today
- Staff discount has been increased to 15%

The receptionist has been tasked with updating the presentations.   The first thing to do is to get the IT Department to make a folder on a network drive that only the receptionist and the computer in the cafeteria playing presentations have full access to.   This is so that some practical joker within your organisation cannot then edit the RSS feed file with Windows Notepad and change the news items displayed on screen.  The IT Department can do this by creating a new network folder located at:

n:\CaferteriaScreen

A note about Repeat Signage licensing.  When you purchase any version of Repeat Signage, you will receive a serial number that will allow you to activate the software.  This gives you a licence to play Repeat Signage presentations (and play lists In the Standard and above editions) without trial version messages being displayed.  Designing presentations can be done on a trial version of the software and you just need a licence for computers playing your presentations.   In this example, this organisation would need to buy just 1 licence for Repeat Signage Standard Edition, which would need to be activated on the reception computer. 

The receptionist, on his/her computer in the reception area, now needs to create an RSS feed that the Repeat Signage player in the cafeteria can collect and play.  An RSS feed is really just a text file and to create one in the correct RSS format then you need to use the Repeat RSS Feed Manager.   To create a new RSS feed:

1.  Open Repeat Signage and on the menu click on 'Utilities' then 'RSS feed manager'.  This opens the RSS feed manager

2.  Click on the 'Add' button to create a brand new RSS feed

3.  Enter a feed name of 'Cafeteria'

4.  Enter a title of 'Company News'

5.  Enter a description of 'Company News in the Cafeteria'

Note - The title and description would only be seen if you were publishing an RSS feed to your website

6.  Click on the 'Browse for location' button to choose where to publish your RSS feed file to.  In the case of this example it would be n:\CaferteriaScreen.  Choose a location on a local or network drive just for testing.  On the screen that appears, click on the 'Browse' button and select a folder and when you are happy with the location, then click on the OK screen to return to the RSS feed record page.

7.  Now we need to add the items of news that will be displayed.  To do this, click on the 'Add' button

8.  Enter the first news item title 'John Smith has been promoted to Sales Manager after Fred Bloggs retirement'.  Note - The 'Summary' and 'URL of full story' fields are only needed if you are publishing to your organisation's website with the Standard and above editions.  Press the OK screen to add the first new item.

9.  Use the 'Add' button again to add the next news item of 'Fred Bloggs leaving presentation today in the cafeteria at 5pm today' then click on OK.

10.  Use the 'Add' button again to add the last news item of 'Staff discount has been increased to 15%' then click on OK.

11.  Click on the 'OK' button to save your completed RSS feed.  It then returns you to the RSS Feed Manager page.

12.  Select the 'Cafeteria' news feed in the list and then click on the 'Preview' button.  This will open Internet Explorer and display your news feed in XML format which is what RSS feeds use to encode the feed title, description plus all the news items.

13.  With the 'Cafeteria' news feed still selected, click on the 'Publish' button.   This then creates a file called News.xml in your folder.  In the example, the file created is N:\CaferteriaScreen\News.xml.

Whenever the receptionist needs to update the RSS feed, they can use the RSS feed machine to open the feed record and add/edit/delete news items as necessary.  When they has made changes, they can then click on the 'Publish' button to update the :\CaferteriaScreen\News.xml file again.

Now we are ready to display the RSS feed on the computer in the cafeteria.  The receptionists uses the organisation's logo, some pictures, text, etc to build a new Repeat Signage Presentation called 'Presentation.rsp' on her machine and then saves this presentation again to the network drive in the folder:

n:\CaferteriaScreen\Presentation.rsp

The receptionist then needs to add the new N:\CaferteriaScreen\News.xml news feed file to the presentation.  This is done as follows:

1.  Open the presentation

2.  On the designer screen menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert RSS feed'.  This screen defaults to collecting RSS feeds from a website.  Click on 'In a local or network file' and then use the 'Browser' button to find your RSS feed or in this case N:\CaferteriaScreen\News.xml.  Then click on the 'OK' button to insert the RSS feed onto the screen.

It will then display the RSS feed, in play list mode, showing news one item after the other every 3 seconds.  We need to widen this control otherwise you cannot see all the text.

3.  Click on your RSS feed control, then right mouse click and from the menu select 'Size' then 'Screen width' to make the control the same width as the screen.

4.  Drag the RSS feed control to the bottom of the screen.

5.  We now want to make the text scroll.  So double click the RSS feed control to open the properties.  Click on the 'Scrolling' tab and change the 'Scroll direction' drop down box to 'RIGHT TO LEFT' and then click on the OK button.

The news items will start scrolling.  You can put bigger gaps between items if you like by double clicking the control again, then on the 'Scrolling' tab, change the 'Gap between items' drop down to 'TEXT' and then add a load of spaces into the box that appears below.  Click OK when finished.

6.  You now need to tell Repeat Signage to monitor the RSS feed file so that as soon as the receptionist updates this file, then the Repeat Signage player computer will automatically display the new news items.  To do this, double click the RSS feed control and click on the 'Refresh' tab.  Make sure there is a tick in both the 'Check for updated control' and 'For local/network files - monitor file .....' tick boxes and click on the 'OK' button.

The control's properties also allow you to specify font's, colours, and even use pictures as the colours for the text.  All the formatting options of the Text label control are also available to the text on the RSS control.

On the cafeteria player computer, the IT Department will need to configure the player to play the presentation, n:\CaferteriaScreen\Presentation.rsp, when that computer starts.  See First presentation - Playing on load on how to do this.  They may also need do things like disable the Disable Windows screen saver and monitor standby and Windows start up - Removing the log on screen.

Because the RSS feed file is now 'monitored' by Repeat Signage, as soon as the receptionist changes the feed in the RSS feed manager and publishes, then the new news will display on the screen in the cafeteria immediately.  Also, since the presentation is also on the network drive, the receptionist can also alter the presentation and when the computer is turned on in the morning the new presentation will be displayed.


A word about fonts

This control uses fonts installed on your computer.  These fonts need to also be installed on the computers playing your presentations for your presentation to look correct.  See Fonts in Repeat Signage for more information.


RSS news feeds on the Internet

See our RSS feed list for RSS news website.