Podcasting With Dropbox and Jekyll

I wrote about my love for podcast and shared some of the podcast links that I did. Time flies and this week we completed our episode 7. And I’m really happy to say that we have submit our podcast to iTunes for approval.

But I had hard time with itunes feeds because the RSS I set up was not compatible. I also try applying for soundcloud podcasting beta program but did not hear from them. I did Tumblr too1 but still I had issues with the podcast feed. At one stage, I even wanted to pay for podcast hosting services such as libsyn or even squarespace but because launchbyte not having any cash sponsorships, we decided not to take up paid hosting.

I’m writing this post to share some references that I used, so anyone looking to start a podcast for free can shorten their search process and hopefully reduce their pain.

launchbyte solution

It is good to have mp3 formats for your podcast but downloading can be cumbersome for some. So itunes is actually quite important for podcasting. Furthermore itunes gives us another platform to distribute our program. So I die die have to get the RSS feed up and running.

I set up launchbyte.com using the following services.

dropbox – I have some space on my dropbox, so I created a folder LBdownloads within my public folder to host my mp3 files and even launchbyte podcast album art that would be use for itunes.

jekyll – Since I build my blog using Jekyll, I decided to do the same for launchbyte. If you are new to Jekyll, it can be set up easily with just a few lines of code on your command line2. I have the option to self-host jekyll, again to keep the cost to minimum, I’m hosting it on Github3 for free.

podcast.xml I took a lot of reference from this site http://log.adamwilcox.org/. Adam wrote a very helpful piece on on podcasting with jekyll, especially on the part on setting up the feed with Feedburner. For starters, this is also the important part because with Jekyll, you can set up your own podcasting xml feed, you can push this feed into feedburner and it will burn it into a RSS media feed for you, even without SmartCast4.

setting up podcast.xml on feedburner

I make some changes to the podcast.xml to suit my needs.

  1. under the itunes:summary I used post.excerpt instead of post.content | xml_escape. I kept getting error with it so I changed it post.excerpt which takes the first paragraph of the show notes as summary.
  2. I changed the categories, because I did not bother to read the itunes podcast spec I kept on getting error, there are actually several ‘fixed’ categories that you can only used. So I recommend reading that part
  3. launchbyte podcast album art is also hosted on dropbox, so I added the link to it on itunes:image but instead of 300px by 300px, I set it to 1400px by 1400px as recommend by the podcast spec.

Once you have your feeds up you can check it with Podcast Feed Validator or Cast Feed Validator. Or if you are dedicated, you can also read itunes podcasting FAQ

And when you see this.

You start to think why life is so awesome 😀 Because of people like Adam who shared their knowledge and open source their stuff, we the beginners are able to learn and adapt. Thanks Adam.

and hopefully this blog post help someone

  1. there is a detail blog post by adam wilcox on HOW TO- Podcasting with Tumblr
  2. there is a great tutorial on NetTuts and if you are looking to tweak your jekyll with bootstrap, here’s another great tutorial
  3. jekyll on github
  4. I tried SmartCast and it seems that it does not work well with what itunes wants.

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