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Render RSS/Atom feeds with a simple builder

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compile "org.grails.plugins:feeds:1.6"

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This plugin adds a feedType and feedVersion parameters to the render method of controllers, which if passeda valid feed type such as "rss" or "atom" and a version will expect a closure to be passed with render,which will render a feed using a custom builder. The FeedBuilder used for this accepts entry and content nodes, any propertiesof which can be set within the builder. These are beans from the ROME API so all properties thereshould work.


A plugin that renders RSS/Atom feeds, or any other formats supported by the ROME API, as well as iTunes compatible podcasts.

To install, add a dependency in your BuildConfig.groovy:

plugins {
   compile ':feeds:1.6'

It works like this - you call render() method from your controller action as normal, but instead of using a view you specify a feedType parameter and a feedVersion parameter, as well as a closure that uses a custom feed builder to define the feed. Currently, feed types "rss" and "atom" are supported.

If you are using Safari (certainly version 3) you may find that links to your feeds are rejected with a message about it not being able to get feeds from localhost. The solution is to change your link in your address bar to your local host name i.e. "http://yourmacbook.local:8080/yourfeedtest/feed" and from then on the links will work.

Using the dynamic render method and the Feed Builder DSL

class YourController {
   def feed = {
      render(feedType:"rss", feedVersion:"2.0") {
         title = "My test feed"
         link = "http://your.test.server/yourController/feed"
         description = "The funky Grails news feed"

Article.list().each { article -> entry(article.title) { link = "http://your.test.server/article/${}" article.content // return the content } } } } }

The feedType parameter is required. The feedVersion is optional and will default to 2.0 for RSS and 1.0 for Atom if not supplied. Current tested feedType values are "rss" and "atom", but any ROME supported feed type should work.

As of version 1.4 the builder has predefined node types:

  • entry - an entry in the feed
  • content - content of an entry in the feed
  • enclosure - an attachment to an entry (used for podcasts)
  • iTunes - special iTunes Music Store podcast tags at feed or entry level
The different feed types have different requirements. For example RSS 2.0 requires a "description" property in the channel (root node of the builder) whereas older versions may not. So watch out for errors relating to properties being required in certain nodes.

Commercial Support

Commercial support is available for this and other Grailsrocks plugins.

Builder semantics

Some of the feed formats have different required properties that you must set on the feed (AKA Channel) and the child nodes (entry and content). Exceptions will occur if you don't meet these constraints.

The feed builder is very forgiving. The general pattern is:

  1. set feed top-level properties i.e. link and title
  2. define entry nodes and properties of them
  3. define content for entry nodes, and properties of content
There are some smarts, namely:
  • entry nodes can take a title parameter as a shortcut.
  • content nodes can take a string parameter which is used as the text/plain content body
  • entry node bodies can just return an object, the string value of which will be used as text/plain content for the entry
  • entry and content nodes can take a map as parameter, to set any properties of the node
Common properties of entry nodes you may want to set:

Property nameDescription
publishedDatethe date the entry was published
categoriesthe list of categories
authorauthor name
linklink to the online entry

Since the entry node is based on the Interface SyndEntry you can use all field provided by it, see SyndEntryAPI

Common properties of content nodes you may want to set:

Property nameDescription
typethe mime type of the content

Descriptions are currently not directly supported by the builder but can be constructed using the ROME API directly.


Setting root node (feed) properties directly using FeedBuilder.

This section does not apply if using the render(feedType:"xxxx") mechanism, only if using the FeedBuilder directly, in the render(feedType:"xxx") case you can only set feed properties in the top level of the closure

def builder = new FeedBuilder()
builder.feed {
   title = "My title"
   link = ""    

//setting the optional RSS image tag def builderWithImage = new FeedBuilder() builderWithImage.feed { title = "My title" link = "" //import com.sun.syndication.feed.synd.SyndImageImpl image = new SyndImageImpl(url:'http://', title:'My feed', link:'') }

def feedA = builder.makeFeed('rss_2.0')

def builder2 = new FeedBuilder() builder2.feed(title: "My title", link: "") { // nodes here } def feedB = builder2.makeFeed('rss_2.0')

def builder3 = new FeedBuilder() builder3.feed("My title") { link = "" } def feedC = builder2.makeFeed('rss_2.0')

Entry nodes

entry {
   title = "Article 1"
   link = ""
   publishedDate = new Date()

//content here }

entry("Article 2") { link = "" publishedDate = new Date() //content here }

entry(title:"Title here", link:"") { publishedDate = new Date() //content here }

Content nodes

content() {
   type = "text/html"
   '<p>Hello world</p>' // can use "return" also

content('Hello world')

content(type:'text/html') { '<p>Hello world</p>' // can use "return" also }

content(type:'text/html', value:'<p>Hello world</p>')

enclosure nodes

To include an "embedded" resource such as an mp3 or video file, you use enclosure nodes that produce the equivalent enclosure concept in the feed that you produce.

The nodes have type, url and length properties, which should be self explanatory:

entry {
   title = article.title
   link = g.createLink( controller:'podcast', action:'index',, absolute: true))
   enclosure {
      type = 'audio/mp3'
      url = g.createLinkTo(dir:"podcast/episode${meta.episodeNum}", 
         file:"episode${meta.episodeNum}.mp3", absolute: true)
      length = 9999

iTunes nodes

These may be placed at the top level of the builder to set feed-specific tags, or under an entry to provide per-episode tags. You can set any properties that are valid for the entry or feed, as per the FeedInformation and EntryInformation interfaces defined in the iTunes module for ROME, javadocs of which are at

render(feedType:"rss", feedVersion:"2.0") {
   title = FEED_TITLE
   description = FEED_DESCRIPTION
   link = g.createLink(controller:'podcast', action:'index', absolute: true)
   iTunes {
      summary = FEED_DESCRIPTION
      keywords = FEED_KEYWORDS
         categories = [ "Comedy" ]
         image = new URL(some_img_url_for_cover_art_600x600)
         author = FEED_AUTHOR
         subtitle = FEED_SUBTITLE
         explicit = true 
         ownerName = "Yournamel"
         ownerEmailAddress = "You at some .com"
      articles.each { article ->
         def meta = article.meta

entry { title = article.title link = g.createLink( controller:'podcast', action:'index',, absolute: true)) enclosure(type: 'audio/mp3', url: g.createLinkTo(dir:"podcast/episode${meta.episodeNum}", file:"episode${meta.episodeNum}.mp3", absolute: true), length: 0 /* work out the length of your file here */) publishedDate = article.publishDate

// do the itunes Meta iTunes { author = FEED_AUTHOR summary = article.content durationText = meta.duration keywords = ['fun', 'grails', 'rocks'] explicit = true }

content(article.content) } } } } }

See for the detailed information about how this information is used within the iTunes music store podcast directory.

The above will also generate a non-iTunes specific podcast i.e. an RSS feed with enclosures.

Using the taglib

There is a "<feed:meta>" tag provided to generate the <link> tag correctly for use within the <head> section of your content. It sets the mime type and title of the link correctly.

<feed:meta kind="rss" version="2.0" controller="feed" action="index"/>
<feed:meta kind="atom" version="1.0" controller="feed" action="index"/>