There is a bunch of WordPress plugins that enable featured images in WordPress RSS feed and I wonder why this is not a core feature yet. However, most of the plugins do it the “wrong way”, adding it usually to the beginning of the description field, rather than as a separate enclosure. This gives aggregators extra work, because they have to extract the image url and separate the tag from the description. While it is legal to encapsulate html to the RSS feed using CDATA tag, it prejudices the position of the image and poses more problems than it solves. I know it because I am just writing an RSS aggregator right now.
I have found however two plugins that do just what needs to be done and nothing else. As usually, they are highly unpopular. The WordPress folks adore the bells and whistles an lots of settings. They feel the plugin is more serious if it is cluttered and has a so called “pro” version.
The one plugin that made it to the WordPress plugin repository is Featured Image RSS Enclosure. It has 20 lines of code (excluding comments) and of course it has been labeled as abandoned, because it wasn’t updated for three years. Well I wonder how much updates do you need in 20 lines of code?
The other plugin is pretty similar and even shorter. I prefere it to the above one, because it even implements a filter hook that allows developers to adjust the size of the image. Of course it never made it to the WordPress repo. Someone made it because he needed it, and shared it to the cool people on Github. It is called Feed Image Enclosure and was written by a cool guy named Kaspars Dambis.
Unfortunatelly no cool embeds for Github 🙂 Clone it and make syndication simple and cool again!