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Weekend Project: Simple As Pie – Creating a New Portfolio Using the SimplePie plugin.

July 23, 2012

When I originally re-built the website and blog, I decided that I wanted a separate CMS to display my portfolio projects. This seemed like a great idea at the time, but quickly became hard to update along with my blog posts for two different blogs, as well as regular updates to the Squibble & Co. shop.

I already had a portfolio set up at Behance, and wondered if it would be possible to have a page on my website that integrates the RSS feed of my portfolio from my Behance profile. The answer is yes, it can be done with SimplePie!

What is SimplePie?

‘SimplePie is a very fast and easy-to-use feed parser, written in PHP, that puts the ‘simple’ back into ‘really simple syndication’. Flexible enough to suit beginners and veterans alike, SimplePie is focused on speed, ease of use, compatibility and standards compliance.’

The basic code is very easy to insert into an existing webpage, and with a bit of research you can adapt SimplePie to display only what you need. In my case, I needed to display the name, date, and also a small thumbnail of each project residing in my Behance portfolio.

One of the best things about SimplePie is that you can style your integrated feed to match the design and layout of your existing site.

If you are not comfortable playing around with the php code, there are also plugins available for many of the major blogging platforms including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Silverstripe.

I now have a portfolio site that will update automatically every time I publish a project to my Behance profile. This will save me time by only having to update my portfolio once for each project.

The only small problem I had was that SimplePie does not accept a raw xml feed. To fix this, I converted the raw xml feed using Feedburner, and then used the resulting Feedburner URL with SimplePie.

Want to try SimplePie for yourself?

Watch this Introductory screencast by Ryan Parma:

For more screencasts and Tutorials, visit the SimplePie Tips, Tricks, Tutorials, and Screencasts page. I am looking forward to improving and refining my portfolio page with SimplePie!