So normally when I begin a project I don't reveal it until I have something to show for it already. Since I've been getting up on the open-source community over the past months I decided to take my new project public before I even begin. I am creating a new open source project called "Pod Starter". Pod Starter is intended to be a full-featured podcast hosting solution. As an avid podcaster I have discovered that there isn't much out there in the way of free podcast hosting and publishing solutions. Even as a developer I found it way more complicated to get a podcast up and running than it should be.
To start a podcast you need a decent knowledge of technical concepts that you aren't likely to have. A lot of podcasting tutorials gloss over the publishing portion of starting a podcast and focus solely on the recording equipment, editing software, and the various possible show formats. Crafting an RSS feed for your show is a huge pain in the backside and modifying it each time you release a new episode is often just a repetition of the same confusing and frustrating process
There are many podcasting utilities out there. Some help you create your feed and some help you out with hosting. Many of these solutions are too expensive for individuals just starting out with podcasting. With Pod Starter I hope to bring all these different utilities into one singular application. I don't want it to stop there though; I want Pod Starter to be a single package that you deploy to your own hosting environment (shared or otherwise). It will come with tools for managing one or more shows as well as blog and front-end website functionality built right in. In many ways it will operate a lot like Word Press with the way you deploy it. The main difference will be the focus on podcasting utilities. With Word Press you have to rely on plugins to do anything related to podcasting and even then your options are fairly limited.
I want the experience from start to finish to be as simple as the following steps:
- Download package and copy to hosting environment.
- Navigate to install page and walk through the simple first-time setup process.
- Using the streamlined administrator interface add a show.
- Upload new episode and fill in episode details.
- You're done. Submit your automatically generated RSS feed URL to iTunes and wherever else you'd like!
I imagine that as the project moves forward many things will change but I want to keep the process as simple for the publisher as possible. I know what a giant pain it was for me to get my shows up and running for the first time so I'm aiming to simplify that process for others trying to do the same thing. The next step for getting all this started is to complete high level documentation for the project and really iron out the specific features and functionality that I want to include.
Pod Starter will be completely open-source and licensed under GPL 3 for personal use. I plan to offer commercial licenses as well but I haven't put much thought into the pricing structure yet; I'll worry about that later on. For now I plan to make this software free for indie podcasters. Free as in freedom as well as in beer. Being able to deploy a single package and have a full-blown podcast website complete with podcast management and feed generation functionality seems like a no-brainer to me. Since nobody else seems to have something quite like this I decided that this would be a fun project to take on as my first truly open-source project.
I will continue posting updates here as I begin. There won't be much there yet but check out the new Github project on the projects tab called Podstarter if you want to keep up with development.