Learning to Podcast: RSS Feeds

written by Geoff Bowers on Sunday, 29 January, 2006 @ 12:00 AM

After you've rustled up some audio for your podcast you'll need to put together an RSS feed to distribute your content. You'll also be thinking about the pod part of podcast and how to get that audio into iTunes.

Problems with IIS

First up, if you're using IIS on Win2k3 you'll be annoyed to find that RSS is not a registered MIME type and consequently the default security settings won't allow the file to be served with an .rss extension. If IIS actually reported this as the issue and not a standard URL 404 I'd be less ansy about the hour I spent mucking around trying to work out what I'd done wrong. Anyhoot lesson learned -- 404 on IIS can mean MIME type disabled. Assuming you're an admin on your server setting up RSS as text/xml is easy enough, and if you're not you can always settle for .xml as an extension.

Podcast RSS 

Really the only thing you should need to add to your standard RSS feed is an enclosure statement, like so:

<enclosure url="http://www.webdu.com.au/podcast/2005/oop_gskinner_32.mp3" length="14297676" type="audio/mpeg" /> 

If you are looking for something dead simple, that will auto-generate you an RSS podcast feed you might try Podifier from Red Square.  Podifier was a little too basic for me, and has no hooks for iTunes so I had to look elsewhere.  Besides if you're reading this blog copying a sample xml format and putting in your own data by hand is probably not going to phase you.

There are lots of sites outlining what's needed to get an MP3 enclosure for your RSS feed. But the real goal here I think has to be making this easy for iTunes to handle things.


Apple's ideas for iTunes RSS extensions haven't exactly gelled with the rest of the RSS approach, though they've made some changes..

Turns out there's no better source for iTunes stuff than Apple itself. The iTunes tech spec has sample RSS xml for a podcast and explains the detail of all the iTune specific tags.  I copied their sample, made the obvious changes and now I have me very own bona fide, iTunes loading podcast.

weDU PodCast Debut

Well over the next couple of weeks I hope to transfer a lot of this webDU conference audio. This first one may change a little bit before I get it right, but you can keep an eye on my progress by subscribing to the RSS feed in iTunes.

  • http://www.webdu.com.au/podcast/webdupodcast.rss

Here's hoping there someone out there that actually wants to listen to this thing :)




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