WordPress: Storing Temporary Information

When developing plugins for WordPress, most of the time I deal with semi-permanent settings with my plugins. A user goes to the “Settings” page for the plugin, they set things up the way they want them, and they expect those settings to remain that way until they decide to change them again.

However, there are times when you need to store temporary information that needs to either expire or be updated on a regular basis. There are functions within WordPress to help you with that, too. They are part of the “transient API” in WordPress. Basically, transient options are options that have an expiration date.

RSS Feed Creation – Development Perspective Questions

This is a question for anyone that’s worked on developing their own RSS feeds, as I am preparing to do for a few items on our new Web site.

When developing or starting an RSS feed, how did you decide how much information to include in the feed?

By that, I’m actually asking two questions:

  1. How did you decide how many updates to include in the feed? Did you decide to include all updates in the feed, from the beginning all the way up to the present, or are you only including the most recent XX number of updates; or maybe even the last XX months, days or hours worth of updates?
  2. How did you decide how to summarize the updates? Are you prompting content contributors to write a separate summary of the information; only including the first paragraph; including only the first XX characters of the article, etc.

I’m curious what other people are doing with their RSS feeds. The one RSS feed I’ve developed for private testing currently only includes the last six months of updates, and truncates the article to 500 characters or less (cutting it off at the last complete word before it reaches 500 characters – stripping out any incomplete HTML tags in the process).

Does this seem like a logical way to make an RSS feed, or should I be feeding complete content? What are your thoughts?