Get RSS Feeds For Any Simple Machines Forum
Simple Machines Forum is an excellent piece of free forum-ware. However, out of the box, it’s rubbish at giving you up-to-date features like RSS feeds.
I mentioned a while back that it was possible to republish RSS feeds from your forum on your blog.
How do we achieve this? Well, it’s quite easy actually. With the WordPress RSS widget, you can display the titles from just about any RSS feed you can hook into.
Getting The RSS URL You Want
Right, so let’s look at our Simple Machines forum and see how to extract the latest posts to RSS. Here’s my forum. It’s divided into several categories, with boards for specific topics. You can fetch an RSS feed for any board or topic easily….if you know how to structure the URL.
Let’s say we want to display the latest posts in my Reality TV category. The URL looks something like this
/index.php?action=collapse;c=4;sa=collapse;#4. The key part of the querystring is
c=4, which identifies the category. Now, to get Simple Machines Forum to output the category as RSS, let’s recraft the URL a little bit:
The additional parameters tell SMF to output the category as RSS and show a maximum of 20 items.
If you wanted to use a specific topic, you can replace the
board=16.0. Your URL might look something like this:
Setting Up Your WordPress RSS Widget
Now comes the easy bit – adding the feed to WordPress. Go into your wp-admin area and browse to Presentation and then to Sidebar Widgets. Drag in a new RSS Widget to the place in the sidebar you want the widget to appear. Click the configure icon, then paste in the URL you created above.
Once you save your widget, it will instantly on the website (see below).
The only disadvantage is – as you can see from the illustration above – the RSS feed tends to display individual responses, so if you’ve got a string of replies to a thread, that title will be repeated loads of times.