What Others Are Saying

Latest Version: 1.7
Works on: Version 2.07 – 3.2.1
Last Update: 21st July 2011

This plugin allows you to display the most recent post of your favourite blogs somewhere on your site. It utilises the RSS link field from the blogroll for each of your links. If the RSS link exists it attempts to get the last post from it. It then displays the most recent X number of posts depending on your settings. Each blog can have one post in the list.

See Update Information

Requirements

I’ve checked this down to WordPress version 2.0.7 without problem and this works up to the latest version 3.2.1.

Instructions

  1. Download the Plugin and unzip it.
  2. Upload the file to your plugins folder then activate it via the WordPress admin panel.
  3. Go to Options – What Others Say and make changes to the defaults if you wish See Figure 1
  4. Add RSS feed links to the links in your Blogroll that you want to display in the list (The RSS link goes in the Advanced section on the Add/Edit link page) See Figure 2
  5. Add the code below to wherever you want the list to display (non-widget sidebar) or go into your Widgets admin page and add the widget version.
PHP Code Excerpt
  1. <?php if (function_exists(‘what_others_are_saying’)) {
  2. what_others_are_saying();
  3. } ?>
Figure 1: The Options page in the Admin
What Others Are Saying Plugin Options
Figure 2: Adding an RSS Feed in Manage – Links
Manage Link Screenshot

The plugin simply outputs the post and site name wrapped in a list item, so you would need to insert the above code into either an unordered or ordered list, and also give it a header. I’ve done it this way so that people don’t need to edit the plugin file to change their markup.

Suggested markup would be:
  1. <h3>What Others Are Saying</h3>
  2. <ul>
  3. <?php if (function_exists(‘what_others_are_saying’)) what_others_are_saying(); ?>
  4. </ul>

If you have any comments or problems with installation let me know πŸ™‚

Download the plugin.

Updates (Newest First)

  • 21/07/2011: Discovered the widget was missing an opening and closing ul. Also updated a few standard WordPress functions
  • 02/03/2009: Fixed the widget title problem, plus updated a couple of WordPress functions that are being deprecated.
  • 02/11/2008: Added the option to set the external links to have rel=”nofollow” added. Also added code to make this version work as both a function and a widget.
  • 08/05/2008: Updated the admin page to fit in with the new WordPress 2.5 look.
  • 17/03/2008: Cleaned up the code to use WordPress API code entirely, removed the need for a cachetime.txt file and set up the cache timing in the options table instead. Added a readme.txt file and screenshot in the zip file.
  • 19/10/2007: Cleaned up the code, fixed invalid ampisands in titles and added the option to display either most recent posts or a randomised list of all the latest posts.
  • 14/10/2007: The admin page has landed! You can now update the options via an admin page under your Options menu, rather than editing the file directly.
  • 08/10/2007: After finding people having problems with modifying the output I realised that perhaps I should just output the list and nothing more, allowing people to write their own header and markup. So I’ve removed this.
  • 03/10/2007: The script now checks for a database connection and reconnects if it needs to. Added support for another type of RSS feed. Option to have the site name linked as well as the post title.
  • 27/09/2007: Added in extra variable to allow people to set the header title above the list. Defaults to ‘What Others Are Saying’
  • 25/09/2007: Found a database table without the prefix on correctly, plus added in code to prevent duplicates being displayed. I think it occurs if two visitors hit during the update at the same time.
  • 25/09/2007: The code now pulls in the table prefix from WordPress settings so this will avoid errors where someone has changed the table prefix from the standard wp_ and not updated the file. Also one less thing to set!
  • 25/09/2007: Added in a couple of error print outs for if/when errors do occur as it’s easier to determine the cause then.

189 Responses

  1. Frans says:

    Thanks, Sarah. I’ll be checking for updates… πŸ˜‰

  2. Krissi says:

    Is there an easy way to insert the date for the latest entry?

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Krissi, the date is stored in the database table, I’ve just yet to get the updates done on the plugin. I hope to do these at christmas when I’ve got a few days off work, so if you can wait a couple of weeks then that plus other options should be available to you πŸ™‚

  4. Pete Myers says:

    Hi Sarah,

    You said in your comments that you’d implement the option to post a small summary of the post feed. Have you done that? I’d really appreciate that.

    I’d also like to be able to format the output so that the link to the Website looks different than the link to the post title, which also looks different to the post summary. This could be done by giving the different elements ids, that I can stylise using css.

    And I’d like to be able to choose what order they’re outputting.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Pete, all of the hoped for changes should be done over Christmas, and this plugin will be priority. I’ll be putting in a template system so you can use any markup that you wish.

  5. Pete Myers says:

    Sarah,

    That’s great… thanks! One little note, I’m having some trouble getting it to update properly. I added a new rss yesterday (a WordPress.com one), and it hasn’t appeared… although it has a post that’s more recent than some that are displaying on my page.

    Other little requests – the ability to choose only a particular category of links to display.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Pete. If the feed link has worked in the past, then you need to check your update time in the settings, which is by default set to 3 hours, so check you’ve not added an extra zero by mistake. Then if that’s fine, the only other potential reason is the site’s feed isn’t working correctly. If you can let me know the feed URL then I can check on it myself.

      As for category grouping. The plugin only displays links/feeds from links that have feeds set so for now, don’t add feed links for sites you don’t want displaying. I will add the category option as a parameter of the plugin, so that it can potentially be used differently across the site.

  6. Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for the nice work on this, it really works well.

    I am using the Cutline 3-Column Split 1.2 for my theme. It is styling the text at about 8 pts which is a little on the small side. I have not been able to find in your code any of the style classes you are using so that I could control that better. Could you share?

    Thank You

    Merrill Guice
    Valdosta, GA

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Merill, if you’re using the function version then you can give your list a class or id and target that. If you’re using the widget version then there isn’t a specific class, however I’m updating the plugin to allow you to customise the code used regardless of version used (ie. widget or function), so this should be available at some point this week πŸ™‚

  7. Jeremy says:

    Hey Sarah – Great plugin! It does almost exactly what I was looking for. I added the plugin to my blog however I wanted a few more things – so I updated your code. These are the changes I made:

    * Display the age of each post, similar to blogspot (# minutes/hours/days old)
    * Processes timezones correctly (this was a pain)
    * Don’t show private/invisible links
    * My page-load time was really slow because it was checking some 30 blogs… so I made it do the updates from a cron job instead of during the page load. This was a one-line change that you could skip; there’s probably a better way that doesn’t require host-side config.

    I’d be happy to email you the updates that I made so that you can make them available on the wordpress site (along with the changes you’re planning to make) – just drop me an email so I can send it over. Thanks again for such a useful plugin!!

    -Jeremy

  8. Jeremy says:

    Almost forgot; I made one other update too:
    * occasionally the plugin can’t load feeds. By default this resulted in the feed disappearing. I updated it to assume that the most recent post hadn’t changed if it couldn’t access the feed. It still removes the feed if you delete it from wordpress.

    • Sarah says:

      @Jeremy, a few of your changes won’t work for everyone (a cron isn’t always available for example), however I’ll see if I can fit in some of the additions you’ve added as optional, so that those who can make use of them can do so.

      @Pete There is a caching system naturally built into the RSS parser, and this is why you set a time limit before the list updates, however I’ll be adding in a couple of other options. The template system is already on the list.

      I’ve been off this week so have made a start but will continue with this and my other plugins next week once I’m home after Christmas. Cheers for the suggestions πŸ™‚

  9. Pete Myers says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Really looking forward to the update this week. Don’t want to be an irritating fan, but, thought I’d list the features I’m really hoping will be in it:

    1) Some kind of caching – as it can take up to 20 secs to load on my site.
    2) Template system.
    3) The ability to display feeds from only one category, there are many, many uses to this!

    Thanks – it’s a great plugin πŸ™‚

  10. Julie says:

    Hi Sarah !

    What a great plugin!! It is exactly what I was looking for !
    It’s really simple but I got a problem which I didn’t manage to solve by reading all the comments of this post ^^

    So I did everything you said :
    – installed the plugin
    – configured the plugin options
    – insert your code in my theme
    – added all the RSS I wanted in my links

    Problem is, it only shows the first one. I checked the other RSS but they’re ok (I tried with yours and still doesn’t appear). So I tried to delete the only RSS that was displayed. And.. it still there although I deleted the link…

    I checked almost everything and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with my theme or my links or the way I configured your plugin.

    I’m using WordPress 2.7 and I really don’t know where the problem comes from, so if you got any ideas to help me, it would be great!

    Cheers !

  11. Julie says:

    oooki, well, suddenly it works. guess it was just a matter of time. Sorry I bothered ^^

    Thanks anyway !!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Julie, glad to hear it’s working finally! Sounds like you added one RSS link in, then added in the function to the sidebar which would have cached the one link, then added the others in afterwards, so yes it was just a matter of time to wait for the next update (around 3 hours by default – you can change this in the options page). Glad it’s working now for you πŸ˜€

  12. John Willis says:

    So my problem is similar to Julie. I added What others… turned it on, added it as a widget to the sidebar, and started adding feeds. The first one worked, but after that nothing. I tried turning the update interval to 10 sec, tried turning What others off and on, but no dice. I get only the one feed listed. Using WordPress 2.7

    • Sarah says:

      Hi John, the things to check are
      1. Are the feed URLs definitely in the right place on the edit link page?
      2. Have you set the plugin to only display 1 link at a time (check under the Settings page)
      3. Are the feed URLs standard RSS feeds. Some feeds don’t work, but those from WordPress, Blogger and Feedburner should be fine.

      Check on those and let me know.

  13. John Willis says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks for following up. The links are all under the heading RSS Address under Edit Link and as I said works for the first one of the links. The settings are still at default 5 links at a time except that I changed to time between updates to 1080 to see if I could trigger a change. Three of the links are Feedburner and the rest WordPress, other or none.

  14. John Willis says:

    ok, I found my problem. I had copied the feeds as they came up when I clicked on the various sites which for one of them was http://etc but for the others was feed://etc. Apparently only http: works. I changed the feed address to be the normal http convention and they seem to work fine.

  15. Sarah says:

    Hi John, thanks for getting back to me. I see what the problem was now. Yes the feed:// isn’t conventional, some WordPress sites put that in by default, others don’t. It’s not an issue that occured to me so I’ll add it into the user notes so that others don’t get stuck at the same point.

    Thanks for letting me know.

  16. talksina says:

    Hi, What others are saying seems not to work on a server with PHP5.
    That is: if I have just one link, it seems to go straight on
    but if I fill in a collection of links and RSS feeds, then the plugin (or also widget) on sidebar just interrupts and does not display anything, cutting also the rest of sidebar and footer off. I switched back to php4 and it seems to work now

    • Sarah says:

      Hi there. My site runs on PHP5 and I’ve not encountered any problems, plus the code isn’t PHP version specific (besides PHP 4+, but that goes for WordPress).

      It sounds like you’re getting an error so if you can post that up then I can possibly work out what’s wrong for you. The error will either display on screen, in the markup or in your error log on the server.

  17. John Willis says:

    Ok, yet another question. How would I change the display to differentiate between site I’m getting info from and the most recent post. I notice that on your site the font color is different but I don’t see where that can be changed in the WOAS plugin. In my case both referenced site and most recent post are the same color and it’s a bit hard to read.

  18. Sarah says:

    Hi John, I only have the post linked and not the site (this is an option under the settings). If you have both linked then they will take the default colour of your links. If you hover over the site name in my list you’ll see it isn’t linked.

  19. John Willis says:

    Ok, you are quite right. I should have thought of that. I unlinked the sites and it looks fine now. Thanks again.

  20. Sam says:

    Hi Sarah. Finally installed this plugin as a widget on my site and think it’s great. Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Sarah says:

      No problem Sam. I’m still working on some updates, work has just got in the way (as usual!), but let me know if there’s anything extra you can think of πŸ™‚

  21. Mike says:

    Hi Sarah,

    thanks for the great plugin..it works fine for me. One suggestion: is there any way to add the time and date of the feed? Or some other indicator, such as “posted N hours ago”.

    Thanks again!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Mike, the date (and possibly time) is taken out of the feed and stored in the database table. Once I get my new version finished (soon I hope!) you’ll have the option to add this to it.

  22. Mike says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I added the “$issued” string to the display line and the time and date shows up. But the weird thing is that the postdate does not seem to reflect the original time and date of the post. Instead, I think it shows the time and date when the post is retrieved by the plugin. Thus, older feeds have their dates “reset” to match later feeds. Just thought you might like to know for your next update… so far I haven’t figured out how to solve this.

  23. Sarah says:

    Hi Mike, the issued field in the db table is pulled from the feed. I have correct issued dates on the posts in my table pulled from other sites, otherwise there’d be no way of telling which posts are the most recent πŸ™‚

    As I mentioned, I’m working this as a template tag into the next version. Client work has just got in the way a little! I’ll see if I can add the date and time as an option tonight if I get my work finished πŸ™‚

  24. Jason says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for this great plugin. You can see how I’ve implemented it at http://www.mesmerlab.com. The ‘Other Talk’ block on the bottom right sidebar is where I’m using it.

    My problem comes with one of my blogroll feeds. In the footer you’ll see 4 links under ‘More Links’. The feed that isn’t showing up is from http://www.zeldman.com/.

    I’ve tried using…
    http://feedvalidator.org/check?url=http://www.zeldman.com/rss/
    …and also simply…
    http://www.zeldman.com/rss/
    …with no luck.

    I have the default plugin settings. Not sure what is going on here. Any thoughts?

  25. Jason says:

    Sarah, sorry for the double post but all 4 feeds work now. Feel free to take out everything in my previous comment about the problem.

    Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jason, Cheers for your comments. Glad to hear it’s all working now for you. I’m guessing the problem was just the feed hadn’t updated and then did in the next update? Would be good just to know for certain πŸ™‚

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