Muschamp Rd

Thumbnails in RSS feeds proves non-trivial in WordPress

September 7th, 2013
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I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to thumbnails with a proper enclosure in my RSS 2.0 feeds. Other blogs have this, why doesn’t mine? I enabled featured images in my theme, I got them to appear on my blog’s homepage, in the archives, even in the posts themselves if I wanted. I followed tutorials, I installed plugins, I consulted support forums. Still no thumbnails in my RSS feeds.

People seemed to doubt my veracity or my competence, but despite doing much, I still do not have thumbnails, I wrote some code using SimplePie and my RSS 2.0 feed has an enclosure but that enclosure does not have a thumbnail. I retroactively added featured images to my most recent 20 posts.  This post will not only have a featured image, but I may include the “featured image” inline in the content.

In my theme I do not include the featured image in the post itself automatically in thumbnail form, this is because I published over 1000 posts prior to adding thumbnails to my WordPress theme. Automatically including another image at the start of every blog will definitely mess up the formatting of some of my image heavy posts. Now that the weekend is here I can devote a little more time to this, but what I really need to do is find a full time job.

I made my default thumbnail size rather large, 200 pixels square, but not trusting WordPress to do a good job resizing them I personally resized all the images I selected to be featured images before uploading them to WordPress. I had a lot of time getting WordPress’s image uploading feature to work in my slightly customized install. For eight years I just used FTP to upload all the images to Muschamp.ca I wanted to use in my posts. I even had to fight off bandwidth thieves.

I think I eventually switched to 192 pixels at least in the RSS feed because of Pinterest and my redesigned homepage.

As part of my attempt to get thumbnails to work in my RSS feeds I updated to the latest greatest version of WordPress. I even updated most of my plugins. I jettisoned a few plugins but also added a few more as part of my semi-regular sprucing up of my blog. Not all WordPress plugins get along and some of them like Jetpack seem to have added a host of new features I neither need nor want. All I really want from JetPack is stats and maybe some other minor integration with WordPress.com. I have plenty of other plugins that can do sharing or comments or add meta data.

I really don’t like duplicate meta data in my blog source. I also don’t like multiple calls to Google to load multiple different versions of jQuery. I’ve made a lot of little changes behind the scenes to add white space and prevent the wrong images from being ‘Pin-able’. There are one or two more tweaks I plan to do to my CSS file, but what I really wanted out of all of this was thumbnails in my RSS feed that SimplePie can find and display.

Any suggestions? I think I found some StackOverflow threads dealing with this, maybe I’ll have to start my own…


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