Feeds glossary

Last updated on
31 May 2017

This glossary is intended to provide a basic list of terms commonly used in Drupal related to feeds along with a brief definition of each. The following list of terms and definitions is sorted alphabetically and can also be searched with your browser's search function.
Terms in italic are terms defined in this glossary. For developers, references to classes are included.

Common terms used with feeds


"Comma-separated values", a simple file format used to move tabular data between programs and databases. See also Comma-separated values on Wikipedia. The needed/correct line-ending-char(s) of a Feeds-imported CSV-file depends on the type of the operating system of the www-server:

  • If you are using a Linux-Server, use only "LF" at the line-end of the CSV-file.
  • If you are using a Windows-Server, use "CR+LF" at the line-end of the CSV-file.
  • If you are using a Mac-Server, use only "CR" at the line-end of the CSV-file.

The changing of the line-end of the CSV-file before importing is important, if the source of the CSV-file (e.g. your computer or the database of the CSV-file) has a different operating system!
For the meaning of "LF" (line feed) and "CR" (carriage return) see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newline#Representations.

If you have date fields in your input file:
The only allowed date formats in the input-file are:
The delimiters are different for each format and have to be used properly!
This is only for the import!
Within e.g. a view, you can chose the format of the output.

When the Feeds-imported CSV-file is in "UTF8 with BOM"-format, then the import of special characters (letters like €, £, ß, ö ,ü, ä, Ö, Ä and Ü or other non-ASCII-signs) is without problems. See also UTF8 - Byte order mark on Wikipedia.
You can use a good editor like 'notepad++ on windows' or 'LibreOffice Calc', both when indicated: '... Portable', (or 'MS Excel') to change this.
Use "Save as" and change the needed properties before and/or during saving the file ("before / during" is depending on the program used).


A body of data. Can contain a title and feed items. A feed can appear in different forms depending on the import stage: before fetching, a feed is the external document to be fetched. After fetching, it is the raw data dump handed to the parser. After parsing, it is the normalized PHP array that is passed to the processor.
Depending on the import stage, a feed is represented by a FeedsFetcherResult or a FeedsParserResult.
See FeedsFetcherResult class, FeedsParserResult class.

Feed item

A feed is assumed to have a series of equally formed entities: feed items. The composition of these items depends on the parser.

Feed node

A node that is used for importing feeds. When an importer is attached to a content type, a node of this content type needs to be created in order to import a feed. Such nodes are called feed nodes.

Feed source

This is the description of the source of a feed. This can be for example a URL or a path to a file but can also be some other defined source that is capable of being parsed into feed items, such as a mailbox or an API. A feed source can have properties describing the source. If the source is a CSV file, for example, it can have a property specifying which character is being used as a field delimiter.
See FeedsSource class.

Feed Submission

Is the moment when a feed is created. This can be either when a node with a feed attached to it is submitted, or when a feed is created directly on the general import page.


A plugin responsible for downloading, loading or receiving a feed from a feed source.
See FeedsFetcher and extending classes.


An importer contains a specific configuration of one fetcher, one parser and one processor. It is used to import a feed.
Importers can be used through a standalone import form available on http://www.example.com/import/ or they can be attached to a content type. In the latter case feeds are imported by creating nodes of such a content type.
Importers are configured on http://www.example.com/admin/build/feeds/. They are sometimes referred to as "Importer configuration" or "Configuration".
See FeedsImporter class.

Import stages

The state of the importing process. The import stages are: fetching stage, parsing stage and processing stage.


A mapping is a rule that tells a processor which feed itemproperties should be placed where on a Drupal entity. For example, if a processor is being used to create nodes based on feed items, a mapping can specify that the title of a feed item should used as the node's title, or it can map other feed item properties to specified CCK fields. Similarly, if a processor is being used to create users based on feed items, a mapping can specify that feed item's 'E-mail address' property should be used as the user's email address.
A mapping connects a Mapping Source to a Mapping Target.
On the UI, you can define mappings when you edit an importer's configuration and go to "Mappings".
At the code level, mappings are PHP arrays. Read more in The developer's guide to Feeds

Mapping Source

A mapping source is a property of a feed item that can be used in a mapping. For example, a feed item's title, GUID, a description field, date, an email address, etc.

Mapping Target

A mapping target is a property of a Drupal entity such as a field that is to be created by the processor and can be used in a mapping. For example, a user object's name property or a node's title property.


"Outline Processor Markup Language", an XML format used for showing the outline of one or more feeds. See also OPML on Wikipedia


A plugin responsible for bringing a fetched feed into a normalized format for processors.
See FeedsParser and extending classes.


A plugin is a swappable handler. It can be either a fetcher, a parser or a processor.
See FeedsPlugin class.


A plugin that "does stuff" with a parsed feed. Usually a processor stores a feed in one or the other form (a node, a user, a taxonomy term, a simple DB record).
See FeedsProcessor and extending classes.


The Scheduler is responsible for the repeated download (= aggregation) of feeds.
See FeedsScheduler class.