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Podcast Publishing With MovableType

I’ve been tinkering with my simple approach of using MovableType as a publisher engine to create podcast feeds and content listings for audio content that is used across several different web sites. While there are many ways one could go about this, I am finding this to be efficient and fast. I only have about 7 feeds set up, but they are pushing across multiple web sites, with different design layouts.

This allows me to create a single directory of content and RSS files that can be accessed by any of our other PHP web pages. So the main podcast entry page lists all the casts on our site, and th elistings provide links to web sites connected to the audio, a description, a URL for the MP3 file, and now, stealing the idea from the EDUCAUSE blogs, the slick niftyplayer, and embedded flash audio player, e.g.:

Podcast-Listing

But by setting up categories, I can have content filtered to feeds that are associated with specific project, such as our Dialogue Day podcasts, Ocotillo podcasts, and our Online Learning Group podcasts.

MovableType generates the correct RSS 2.0 feeds with proper enclosure tags, as well as generates the small text files that are used to provide the content to these pages. There is also another template that provides the content used to display as “What is Podcasting” info on these different pages. It works well because it is not publishing a full blog, just some small bits of content files.

For example, a snapshot of my current directory includes:

Directory-1

where *.inc are the main podcats listings, *_nav.inc are shorter listings that are just links to the sites that include the audio, and *.xml is a podcast feed.

Below I will describe in a bit more detail how it is done and provide a download of the template files. To use these you will need to

* have a web site that uses PHP for its content pages
* have an understanding of linking to web directories up and down a web server structure
* use or be able to set up MovableType on your server (I use the last free version, 2.661, but it ought to work on the 3.x versions)

The Road to Podcast Publishing

Again, this is assuming you have a running version of MovableType and are capable of creating new weblog sites.

  1. Download my set up template files:
    http://cogdogblog.com/alan/mt_podcast_template.zip
  2. Download and install MT-Enclosures plugin from:http://brandon.fuller.name/archives/hacks/mtenclosures/
  3. My template includes the niftyplayer Flash MP3 file, but if you want to do more or learn more about, it check out:
    http://varal.org/media/mp3player/sample.html
  4. Create top level directory on your web server named “podcast” (it need not be top level, but makes it easy to reference links via HTMNl like href="/podcast/somefile....". Set permissions on directory to 0777.
  5. Create a new MT blog that publishes to this directory. It’s name and description do not matter as that info is not even used.
  6. A total of 6 templates are used:
    Templates

    You will only need 3 of the Index templates listed below, the others can be deleted. The content for each is brief:

    1. About The content that describes what podcasts are. Save as filename: about.inc using about.inc.template
    2. All The main listing file for all podcast., Save as filename: all.inc using all.inc.template
    3. RSS 2.0 The main podcast feeds for all podcasts. Save as filename: all.xml using all.xml.template
  7. Create 3 Category Templates:
    1. Category RSS 2.0 (podcast feeds) using template category-rss.template
    2. Category Short (sidebar links) using template category-short.template
    3. Category Summary (displayed feeds) using template category-summary.template
  8. Create Movabletyoe categories for all subsidiary web sites that will have their own feeds. Use abbreviated names- mine are “ocotillo”, “dd”, and “olg”:
    Categories
  9. The template downlaod includes a basic index.php file that can be used as a starter for the main /podcast site. The relevant parts are:

    and a sample subdirectory podcast,php file shows how a site specific include works- note the association of the category_name that matches the names created above:

  10. When creating the posts that provide the podcast content for one audio file, we are using two of the MovableType entry fields as special containers:
    Blog-Entry
    1. Use any title that is descriptive
    2. Assign to one of more categories
    3. In the Entry Body, include a description, and also include a full hyperlink for the MP3 file so the Enclosure tag will pick it up
    4. Put the Full URL for the MP3 file in the Excerpt field
    5. Put a URL the Feed title should link to in the “Keywords” field
    6. Publish!

Hope that helps someone. Your mileage may vary, blah blah blah.

Comments

  1. Excellent. I’m setting up podcast subscriptions on my church’s website – for sermons, music, etc – and I’ve already got the whole site in Movable Type – so this is a GREAT solution for us!! You should submit your tutorial to Six Apart for them to publish — it’s easy and works like a charm. (Really love the flash player!)

  2. What am i doing wrong, I love the concept, and I’ve deployed the shole system as outline, but I’m not getting any category specific files generated. What am I doing wrong do you think?

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