If you've dabbled with WordPress blogging in the past or have ever subscribed to regular updates from a news site, forum, or shopping portal, you may already be familiar with RSS feeds and how they work. In short, the RSS format provides subscription functionality for sites that see frequent updates, allowing users to receive content from their favorite sites directly in their browser or feed reader.
By default, all WordPress blogs come with a variety of feed options for standard blog posts. (You can read more about the types of feeds that are available for WordPress sites, including RSS, on the WordPress Codex.) The Events Calendar comes with built-in feed functionality of its own, though we've tailored our approach to craft a feed that's more suitable for listing events. We think that you'll find it to be a useful tool for delivering the latest event content to your users!
In this tutorial, we’ll go over where to find your calendar’s RSS feed, how events are ordered in RSS, and how the calendar’s RSS differs from the default RSS feed WordPress uses for posts.
Locating Your Calendar's RSS Feed
You can access your calendar's RSS feed by simply adding /feed to the end of the URL for your main calendar page. For example, our WP Shindig demo site has its main calendar page located at http://wpshindig.com/events. Adding /feed to this URL gives us http://wpshindig.com/events/feed.
That’s it! You now know exactly where to find the RSS feed for your events calendar.
How Events are Ordered in the RSS Feed
The first thing you may notice when visiting your RSS feed URL is how ugly it looks. There’s no layout. Just a lot of funky-looking code. This is the XML code that RSS readers require to receive content. RSS feeds, as written, aren't meant to be directly human-readable. Rather, they're parsed by a compatible RSS reader application (or web browser with RSS capabilities), and updates and content are delivered to the user through this application. Adding your RSS feed to a compatible feed reader application or web app (such as Feedly) will allow you to see your feed's posts with proper formatting intact.
Example of our WP Shindig RSS feed, as seen in a feed reader application
Upon further inspection, you may also notice that there are 10 events listed in the feed. The RSS feed will show the next 10 upcoming events starting from the current day, ordered by the start date of the event. In other words, your events are ordered by the date on which they start rather than the date on which they were published.
And, on that note…
RSS Feed Order: WordPress vs. The Events Calendar
You may have already guessed it, but the big difference between the RSS feed in The Events Calendar and the RSS feeds WordPress uses for posts is how the posts are ordered. Events are ordered by the starting date of the event. Default posts are ordered by the date they are published. That’s the primary difference.
The reason we order events different than posts is that we typically think of an event’s start date when we think about the date of an event. Let’s try to illustrate this with two hypothetical events:
- Event A: Has a publish date of January 1 and a start date of January 10
- Event B: Has a publish date of January 2 and a start date of January 9
If these events were in the default WordPress RSS feed, Event B would appear before Event A in the feed, even though Event A has the latest start date. The Events Calendar RSS bases the order on the event start date instead since that is how we traditionally think about a calendar.
Combining Events and Posts in One Feed
If you'd like to unify your WordPress posts and your calendar events into a single RSS feed for your users, we have a handy little tutorial that provides the steps to make that happen. However, now that you know the difference between the RSS feeds, you can see how your events will now be displayed by the published date instead of by the start date. That’s because the WordPress RSS is going to pull the events in by the date they were published. Keep that in mind before merging your RSS feeds.
We hope that you found this tutorial helpful! Have any questions or issues with RSS feeds? Hit us up at our help desk and we’d be happy to help.