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Crawling a news article wih a Tweet from CNN into your site

How to show Tweets in crawled posts

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Tweets... They are everywhere. When sent by an influential person, a 280-char post can go so viral such that the site you crawl can include the Tweet in one of its posts. But, how do you show that Tweet in your WordPress site? We will see how to do that in this article.


A Tweet, i.e. a post created on Twitter, contains more information than just a 280-char text. It can have likes, replies, images, videos, and links as well. Among these, likes and replies can change any time. So, just copying a Tweet with its current state and pasting it into your site is not enough to capture the future changes. Twitter's solution to this problem is embedding. A Tweet's embed code contains just the basic information about a Tweet, such as the text content, publish date, name and username of the owner of the Tweet, and a link to the Tweet. An example embed code, retrieved from publish.twitter.com can be seen below:

1 2 3 4 5 <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Oh the irony lol</p>&mdash; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1546980241494745100?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 12, 2022</a> </blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The code above also contains a script element. This script takes care of styling the Tweet, as well as retrieving the dynamic parts and media, such as likes, replies, links, images, and videos, from Twitter. To understand what the script does, let's see the Tweet before and after the script is executed. Here is before:

Not-rendered Tweet

Here is the same Tweet after the script does its job:

Rendered Tweet

So, the script is the part that renders the Tweet, and we need to add that script into our WordPress post. However, WordPress does not like script elements in the post content, because these elements pose a security risk. One needs to be careful about what scripts are executed in their website. For example, a bad actor's script can steal the cookies of the users. Then, the bad actor can use them to log into your site. If an admin account's cookies are stolen, the bad actor can log in as an admin. So, we need to include only the scripts we trust in our website. The rest of this post assumes that you trust Twitter's script code.

We are going to crawl this news article from CNN via WP Content Crawler. If you do not have the plugin, you can use the demo to follow the steps below. OK! Let's get started.

1. Create a new site

Site title and URL

Create a new site by clicking to "Content Crawler > Add New" link from the admin panel's sidebar, write CNN as the name of the site, and enter https://edition.cnn.com/ as the Site URL.

2. Enter a category URL

Enter category URL

Enter "/" into "Category Tab > Category URLs" setting. Because we will not crawl the post URLs from the category pages in this guide, and the plugin requires this setting to be filled, we enter a dummy URL to trick the plugin.

3. Enter a test post URL

Enter category URL

Enter the URL of the post that contains the tweet into "Post Tab > Test Post URL" setting. By this way, we will be able to quickly test our settings. You can copy the URL below:

1 https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/14/tech/twitter-elon-musk-lawsuit-takeaways/index.html

4. Find the post title

Open visual inspector for title

First, open the visual inspector for Post Title Selectors setting by clicking to its wrench icon.

Click to the post title in visual inspector

Then, wait for the post page to be loaded and click to the title of the post in the visual inspector, as shown in the screenshot above. After that, click to the check icon to use the found CSS selector. The check icon's location is shown with a red circle above. Also, you can see that the CSS selector found by the plugin is h1.

5. Find the post content

Open visual inspector for content

Now, let's find the post content as well. Open the visual inspector for Post Content Selectors setting by clicking to its wrench icon. Then, click to the first two paragraphs of the news article, as shown in the image above. The plugin will find a CSS selector for the element that contains the two paragraphs you clicked. If the red area does not contain all the content, you can click other parts that you want to be in the post content. The plugin finds the element that contains all the clicked elements. After you are done, click to the check icon, as shown with a red circle in the image above.

Settings configured so far

The image above shows all the settings we configured so far.

6. Remove unwanted elements

Open visual inspector for content

We do not want to retrieve the script elements that do not have an src attribute. We also do not want the advertisements. Remove the unwanted scripts and advertisements by entering their CSS selectors to "Post Tab > Unnecessary Element Selectors" setting. div.ad selector finds the elements that show advertisements in the target page. script:not([src]) selector finds the script elements that do not have an src attribute. We do not want those scripts. We also do not trust them. So, let's just remove them altogether.

7. Convert scripts into short code

Check the checkbox of 'Convert script elements to short code' setting

Because WordPress does not like script elements to be in the post content, we will use a custom short code that WP Content Crawler provides, which is [wpcc-script] short code. To convert all the script elements into this short code, mark the checkbox of "Templates Tab > Quick Fixes Section > Convert script elements to short code" setting.

8. Publish the site settings

Publish the settings by clicking to the 'Publish' or 'Update' button

Now that we are done with the site settings, publish or update the settings by clicking to "Publish" or "Update" button. If you already published the settings, Update button will be available. Otherwise, Publish button will be available.

9. Test the site settings

Test the site settings via the Tester page

Click to "Content Crawler > Tester" from the admin panel's sidebar to open the Tester page. For "Site" option, select the site you just configured. The "Test Type" should be "Post Page", because we will be testing a news article which can be considered as a post page. For the "Test URL", enter the URL of the news article. You can copy it below:

1 https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/14/tech/twitter-elon-musk-lawsuit-takeaways/index.html
The wpcc-script short code exists in the test results

When you observe the Template part of the test results, you can see that there is a [wpcc-script] short code. The test results do not render the short codes. So, we cannot see the rendered Tweet in the test results. Since we can see the short code, everything is on track so far.

10. Allow scripts from Twitter

Configure general settings to allow scripts from Twitter

Because we do not trust every script from every website, we want to control the scripts that we execute in our site. [wpcc-script] short code only executes the scripts whose source is from an allowed domain. So, we need to configure the plugin to allow the scripts from Twitter.

Click to "Content Crawler > General Settings" from the sidebar of the admin panel. Go to "Post Tab > Short Codes Section > Allowed domains for script short code" setting. We will add two values. Add "twitter.com" to allow scripts from Twitter's main domain. Add "*.twitter.com" to allow scripts from all the subdomains of Twitter. Because the script we want to execute comes from platform.twitter.com, we have to allow the subdomains. After entering these two values, save the general settings.

11. Manually crawl a post for testing

Manually crawl the news article via the Tools page

Let's save the news article manually, to make sure everything works as expected. Click to "Content Crawler > Tools" from the sidebar of the admin panel and enable "Manual Crawling" tab. For "Site" option, select the site you just configured. Select any post category you want for the "Category" option. Enter the URL of the news article into "Post URLs" option. You can copy it below:

1 https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/14/tech/twitter-elon-musk-lawsuit-takeaways/index.html

Finally, click to "Crawl now" button. The plugin will save the news article into your website according to the settings you configured. Click to the post URL shown after the crawling is complete and observe the rendered Tweet.

Ensure Tweet is rendered correctly

The image above displays the Tweet embedded into the post. Your site's visitors can now interact with the Tweet. From now on, for the site you configured, the plugin will render all the Tweets found in the post content by including the script that handles the rendering of the Tweets.

Conclusion

We covered quite a few things in this post. Actually, once you configure the general settings to allow the scripts from Twitter, showing the Tweets for other sites is as simple as checking a single checkbox.

Thanks for reading!