On Coding a Podcast Feed

I returned today to a long-term project — my new website.

On the train this morning, after writing out my daily office to-do list, I wrote down a list of the things that I had left to do for the site. Design a logo here, design a graphic there, review content.php, et cetera and so forth. All told, I wrote down eight items.

One of those items? “Custom RSS feed for iTunes.”

I wrote back in January that I was planning a podcast for my site, and I’ve written several scripts. What’s odd about these scripts is that I’m happy with the scripts for episodes two and three, but the script for episode one I’m still unhappy with. I’ve rewritten it, then rewritten it again.

To make a long story short, once I square that away, I would obviously want to get the podcast on iTunes. But while WordPress does RSS out of the box (and can make a decent RSS feed for a podcast), Apple has some very specific guidelines for what an iTunes RSS feed needs to look like. In short, a standard RSS2 feed isn’t up to snuff.

While there’s a highly rated plugin that does the job — Podpress — I wanted to do it on my own.

Two hours of coding later, and I had a solution.

I started out with this — page templates to create custom RSS feeds — and from that I began to painstakingly build an RSS feed that generated iTunes code as defined by the Apple guidelines.

It’s not perfect yet. I still need to test it — I’m not sure about the WordPress query call, to be frank — but if it works (and I really don’t see why it wouldn’t) it’s a really sweet little piece of code. :)

Now I need to design some graphics. But that can wait for the weekend.

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