RSS reader modules

RSSIn this edition, I’m going to be talking about RSS reader modules for Joomla.

RSS Readers allow you to display articles or news reports that appear on someone else’s website on your Web pages. RSS reader modules let you display this content in a module position.

You’ll get free and fresh content from another site; the RSS feed provider gets freetraffic, exposure and incoming links that are great for SEO. Everyone wins.

The RSS feed itself is essentially the URL of an XML file. How the URL looks will depend on the feed but it usually looks something like this:

But how the feed URL appears isn’t important. What is important is that it can look like any old URL and that you need to copy and paste it into the text box where you are asked to enter “RSS Feed URL”.

There are two ways to insert an RSS feed module into your site:

1. Using core Joomla

2. Using third party modules

Using core Joomla:

To place an RSS feed on your site using core Joomla:

  1. Go to modules->site modules.
  2. Click New.
  3. Give your module a title.
  4. Scroll down the page until you see “RSS URL” and enter the RSS URL here.
  5. Select your settings. (For example, if you only want to show the
    title of the article and not the description, choose NO on “Feed
  6. Save… you’re done.

You can place this newly created module in any module position, or even inside an article using iJoomla SideBars.

And of course, you can also use this module in any of the three module positions available on iJoomla News Portal. Take a look here under “iJoomla News” zone and you’ll l see news from Cool, eh? (View Tutorial)

Using third party modules:

You can find a number of free RSS modules on iJoomla for download. We also encourage you to visit the creators of these modules to see what else they are working on and to discover more information about them.

1. MagpieRSS module for Joomla

View Demo

MagpieRSS doesn’t seem to offer any significant advantages over core Joomla although it might support more RSS formats. If the core Joomla module doesn’t work for you, it could be a good back-up.


  • Works with more RSS types.


  • Very basic with few features.

2. TARR Version 1.0 RC 1


Live Demo

While MagpieRSS offers little, Tarr Versions 1.0 comes packed with a number of useful goodies. These include a tab for each feed and a preview window for the feed description.

This module is quite large so you probably won’t be able to use it in the left or right position. However, you can use it inside a content item, like this example.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Create a new content item;
  • Add this tag to the intro or full text: {loadposition advert3};
  • Open the module and change its position to advert3 (or any other position not already being used by your template);
  • Finally, create a menu item that links to this content item.


  • Lets you to enter up to ten feeds and generate a tab for each.
  • Click to preview feeds.
  • Specify “favorites” tabs.
  • Users can close feed tabs…
  • …and specify their own feed URL.


  • No control over the number of items displayed.
  • Slow loading.

3. Simple RSS Feed Reader


Live Demo

The Simple RSS Feeder is similar to core Joomla’s RSS feature but packs a few neat extras:


  • Lets you to add multiple feeds and mix them up.
  • Supports additional RSS types.


  • On the TELINE template, the bullet point is displayed twice. Do other templates have formatting problems too?

4. Slick RSS


Live Demo

Slick RSS is a very cool RSS module with plenty of customizable features. For example, when you place your mouse over the title of the feed, you can see a description of the article in a tool tip — and you can even set the color of the tool tip background. Some of the features

  • Show up to 5 RSS feeds at once.
  • Display a set number of items.
  • Include titles and descriptions for items and tooltips — with limited word counts.
  • Enable/ disable images.
  • Easily customize tooltip color.
  • Set link target in a new window or the same window.
  • Supports Utf-8 and international character sets as well as embedded media files such as podcasts in the newsfeed.
  • Caching and module class suffix supported.


  • Many parameters.
  • Works great.


  • There are probably some… but I haven’t found one yet!

5. Thick RSS Browser 1.7


Live Demo

Thick RSS Browser 1.7 also has customizable tool tips, and they let you add as many RSS feeds as you want (although you shouldn’t really put more than 20). They also have one unique — and odd — feature. Install the ThickBox mambot and when you click on the title, the page will gray out and the destination URL will appear in a special zone that is neither a pop-up nor a regular browser window. And it doesn’t work very well. It takes time to load and you can’t close it. When you try to return, it takes you two pages back. You could just unpublish to mambot which will take you to the destination URL without the ThickBox but then you can’t open it in a new window, which isn’t good. Here’s an extra tip: whenever you send people outside your site, make sure it
opens in a new window.

Conclusion: If you want tool tips, go with the Slick RSS.


  • Customizable tool tips
  • Unlimited RSS feeds


  • ThickBox feature
  • No option to open in a new window if not using ThickBox




Merav Knafo is the founder and CEO of iJoomla, Inc. She loves writing about Joomla, usability and Social Networking.

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