WPTopics: A WordPress Content Filter

WPTavern had a discussion last week about the huge number of WP developer blogs that have sprung up. At a point, the quantity can overcome the quality and knowing where to look for the top articles and tutorials can be a chore, especially for someone just getting started with WordPress.

As an experiment, I decided to build WPTopics which aggregates from established blogs that are providing useful, influential content on a regular basis. The format is a lot like AllTop, but with a voting plugin that lets the community decide which sources they value most:

wptopics

(Note: the feeds do cache, but the loading can be a bit slow while they’re being called. I’m still working to find the best way to optimize things)

Ultimately, I’d like to be picky about the feeds displayed and keep the number < 50, but there is also a suggestion form for sites I may have neglected. Obviously the content could be consumed by via RSS reader, but aggregating it publicly and fine-tuning it with voting has its advantages. Again, it's all kind of an experiment.

I'm going to add some more features and design touches in the next few weeks, but until then, I'd love some feedback on how the idea may or may not be useful, what it needs and what it doesn't.

Big thanks to Ben and Bill for helping get the caching and character encoding issues sorted out.

  • http://www.tarrask.com/blog Alex Luna

    Will you release the theme? It looks fantastic.

    • Darren

      Do you mean releasing an aggregator theme? Not sure, it requires a fair amount of custom code and fields, plus a few plugins. I will think about that.

      • http://chilligavva.com Lakshmi Mareddy

        While I am a big believer in GNU and pro bono, it does pain me when i see hacks of freethemes, being sold for money.. In my opinion, Darren, if you have worked hard, you need to be looking at a consulting angle here.. So hang in there a bit..

  • http://www.positivespaceblog.com Zinni

    You should run a cron job every 15 minutes to pull in the updates, that way it doesn’t do it when one unlucky visitor happens to be the cache visit. I was able to set up a cron for a similar idea I had, and it wasn’t too difficult.

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  • http://www.werewp.com hd-J

    Nice! One remark tough: why including wpazo when it is already aggregating content from the other websites you included?

    • Darren

      There may be some redundancy, but WPazo features a lot of stuff not aggregated at WPTopics. Plus, it’s a very good handpicked site by Ian, so it definitely qualifies for what WPTopics is all about.

  • http://www.socialnerdia.com socialnerdia

    Very cool!

  • http://www.chris-wallace.com Chris Wallace

    Darren, if you’d like to chat about feed aggregation, just let me know, I run MashedJobs.com which aggregates jobs from quite a few sources around the web, cached every 15 minutes (by cron). I’d love to help out if you feel it would be beneficial.

    • Darren

      Thanks Chris, I may take you up on that.

  • http://godrops.com Jason

    Slick! I’ve been running http://themetracker.com for my personal use that covers new themes — very similar to yours. I’ve also added the latest tweet at the top of mine for those blog authors that do use twitter…

    • Darren

      Interesting, I had wondered if similar aggregators were out there. The Twitter idea is great.

  • Lisa

    You are pure genius – and it is so awesome that you share it!
    This will help me out a ton – since I have gobs of bookmarks and feeds and end up in a chasm of waste sometimes.

    • Darren

      Thanks Lisa! I’m on overload a lot of days keeping up with feeds too, so even if it’s just me using the site a month from now, it will still be worth it.

  • http://www.themelab.com Leland

    Great site Darren. Very easy to use, and everything is organized nicely.

    And of course, thanks for including Theme Lab!

  • http://blogthememachine.com Mike Smith

    Awesome site. Definitely going to be making use of it. Thanks for building it. I can promise you won’t be the only one using it after a month ;)

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  • http://www.diletante.net Calítoe.:.

    Good idea. I was using wpthemesnews.com for themes as well.

  • http://www.wptavern.com Jeffro

    Will certainly be interesting to see how many more personal or open ended WordPress content aggregators spring up. Thanks for placing WPTavern.com as one of the sites featured on this site.

  • http://xuroqflash.com Parsons

    I have to give it to you the website is looking good. And the aggregator is even better. Thanks

  • http://arturs.jaffa.lv Arturs Mednis

    You should release the theme, there is a market for it.

  • http://www.mindmoviesreview.info James

    Great Site, Voting feature is the best

  • ConradH

    Hi Darren -

    Thanks so much for setting this up. It quickly became my favorite WP news and info aggregator.

    I’ve been thinking about setting up an aggregator site for some local topics (not WP) and using WordPress. I’ve looked at just coding something manually using the RSS functions, or a plugin like FeedWordPress but have not decided yet what would be best. I would love it if you released something based on wp-topics but short of that, can you give use some direction in how to best get moving toward creating something similar ourselves. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Darren

      Thanks Conrad. I’ve actually have a lot of questions and request for this kind of theme. I think once my current project is out of the way, I’ll try to make that happen.

      If you were to try your own version, I’d just say that I used custom fields for the URL, Feed URL and favicons and used Posts to publish all the feeds. But, some people have done the same thing using SimplePie which is a great RSS/XML parser. If I had to rethink it, I might consider using it.

  • http://oldschoolscholar.com Q Ball, The 800lb Gorilla

    Out standing aggregator page for WP. It is one of my primary bookmarks now! Keep up the excellent work, Darren!

  • http://twitter.com/mikeontv MikeonTV

    When will this theme be available for purchase/download?

    • Darren

      Ben and I are releasing a new theme in the next week or so, and the RSS/Aggregator theme will be next on my list. I’d love to get it out toward the end of the month.

  • Mark

    I am one who is waiting for this to come out. Are their going to be any new features? I am ready to purchase– I was so close to the another news aggregator that was built in 07, but this I would like to consider. I noticed you mentioned it will be ready at the end of the month. Please confirm and if there will be any new functionality?

    Cheers!

    • Darren

      It will include all the same custom templates as my other themes (Archives, Contact, etc), plus a couple widgetized areas, localization, seo stuff, search highlighting, animated dropdowns and nav, and a few other bits. I’m also streamlining the design a bit more!

      • Mark

        Okay. I have put off purchasing a competitive product because I believe this has much more potential. I am still assuming this is coming out at the end of the month. We run a Law Journal and we are using this for breaking news.

      • Ella

        Hello Darren, how is the development of the RSS/Aggregator theme coming along.? Any news as to when would it be available for purchase?

  • Mark

    Darren, I am actually willing to be a PAID Beta Tester for this. Please email me if you would consider this.

  • Mark

    LOL.. I just read what I said.. Not only am I will to be PAID, but more importantly, we are willing to PAY. LOL!!

  • Tony

    I think it should be free

  • http://www.davieslim.com Davies Lim

    This is a very interesting idea. I like the design, very clean interface. Would like to see more of it in the future!

  • http://mazyoyo.co.cc bangyoyo

    nice themes brother, i like it.

  • Linda

    How is your webpage made?

  • Mark

    Darren -

    Is this theme ready yet? If you recall several months ago we were interested in purchasing this theme. Please let us know.

    Blessings,
    Mark

    • Darren

      We’re actually wrapping this up right after the holiday. Due to some personal issues and other projects that got shoehorned in front of this one, we waited a bit to release it, but the final touches will be done soon.

  • Darren

    For everyone asking about creating a theme from WPTopics – it is now available!

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  • Amjad

    Nice theme! Will you be releasing the voting plugin? I don’t think the released theme has that?
    And if I want to add more features like a subscribe button, tweet button, facebook like button .. where do i do that? Which file should I be modifying?

    Thanks!

    • Darren

      It uses the WP-Vote plugin and the rest can be done with existing plugins. No plans right now to build all that stuff in.

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