Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, 27 July 2007

Podcasting: Beyond the Basics Pt. II - Use HTML in your description.

I know a few people have been waiting for this one, so hopefully Steve will leave me alone after this ;) Anyway, so far I've described to your the bare minimum you have to do in order to set up an XML file for podcasting. Now I'm going to show you how to set your podcast apart from the rest by using HTML in your XML file, so it looks much prettier and is more usable in podcatchers that can understand it, like Google Reader. I'm going to assume you have at least a bare-bones understanding of what HTML is, and how to program a simple web-page using it. If not, there's a half-decent tutorial here, or search for HTML Tutorial on Google.

So why should we do this? Well, ultimately, it's up to you, of course, but putting HTML in your XML file will benefit your subscribers in a few ways:
  • Most importantly, it will allow you to use line-breaks and paragraph breaks in HTML podcatchers. Without using this, your description will just be one large block of text. You can hit the enter key till you're blue in the face, and it might format correctly in iTunes, but nothing will change the way it looks in Google Reader.
  • Instead of offering web addresses to relevant websites for that episode, you can offer them as proper hyperlinks. Your subscribers will thank you for this alone.
  • Use pretty much anything you can do in HTML - tables, lists, images, backgrounds - make your XML mirror the style and layout of your website. About the only thing you can't do is to use JavaScript.
The only downsides are that it will take a bit more effort on your part to make sure everything works as it should, and that it will pretty much double the file size of your XML file. If you don't have many episodes in your podcast though, it's definitely worth doing.

Unfortunately, not all podcatchers understand HTML (including, unfortunately, iTunes - which is weird, as it uses HTML for the iTunes store. Bummer), which means we need to code our XML in such a way that people not using a HTML compatible podcatcher won't notice any difference to any other podcast out there. This took me a good few days of experimentation to work out an acceptable way of coding the XML to work in this way, and I've not seen any other podcast pull this off yet, so you're getting let in on an exclusive here.

First of all, you'll need to change the namespace tag at the top of your XML file. We're going to make it so it downloads definitions for not only the iTunes tags, but also for the HTML enclosure we'll be using. Right now, you're probably using this namespace tag:

<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0">

We're going to replace it with this one:

<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" xmlns:content="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" version="2.0">

If you don't understand what we just did - imagine until this point, we've been writing our XML file in French. Which is fine, because we told the computer where to find a French dictionary so it could understand what we wanted to do. Now we want to write part of the XML in German as well, so we need to tell it where to find a German dictionary also.

Now for each episode of the podcast, we're going to need 2 <description> tags: one containing just plain text, for iTunes compatible podcatchers, and the other containing HTML for the more advanced podcatchers. The reason we can't have everything in one <description> block: plain text podcatchers will just show the raw HTML code to your users, which just looks ugly. Here's what the code is going to look like for the description for one of the episodes:

<description>This week, Jim McJim explores the climes of Glasgow through the ages, from the abhorrent weather in the dark ages, through to today's less tolerable rainstorm.

You can get further information on Jim's travels at http://www.jim-mcjim.com/ or email him at jim@jim-mcjim.com</description>
<content:encoded><![CDATA[
<p><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/29/38329648_f43ddc78e2_m.jpg" align="left">This week, Jim McJim explores the climes of Glasgow through the ages, from the abhorrent weather in the dark ages, through to today's less tolerable rainstorm.</p>

<p>You can get further information on Jim's travels at the <a href="http://www.jim-mcjim.com/">Jim McJim website</a> or email him at <a href="mailto:jim@jim-mcjim.com">jim@jim-mcjim.com</a></p>
]]></content:encoded>


You'll see that the two description blocks are essentially the same (you'd be a fool not to copy and paste ;) but the second one is instantly more accessible to your users - it includes a small thumbnail which sets the scene for the content of the podcast, and also the links to the website and email will actually go to those places when the user clicks them. Make sure you keep these surrounding tags exactly as you see them here:

<content:encoded><![CDATA[
HTML description goes here
]]></content:encoded>


The extra ![CDATA[ bit just makes sure that iTunes will not try and display this information.

And that's pretty much it! As I said before, you can pretty much use any of the tags you'd use to build a webpage, giving you an infinite number of possibilities for presenting your information to people subscribing to your podcast. If you put this to good use in your own podcast, drop me an email and maybe I'll feature it on the site! Don't forget to put a little link here if you get this up and running!

31 comments:

  1. Rufus, you are my One True God.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Great work!
    Also see my web site :: web design miami beach

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keep this going please, great job!
    Also visit my blog post - backup camera

    ReplyDelete
  4. After looking into a few of the blog posts on your
    web site, I really appreciate your way of blogging.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near
    future. Take a look at my web site too and tell me how you feel.
    my page > Blackberry Spyware

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is really interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!
    Also see my web page - we buy ugly houses PA

    ReplyDelete
  6. Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!
    Also see my site: FinderHostel.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone
    to do it for you? Plz answer back as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks
    my web site - crushing cogs tower boss fight

    ReplyDelete
  8. Attractive element of content. I simply stumbled upon your site
    and in accession capital to say that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I'll be subscribing on your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.
    Also visit my blog ... android tablet pc

    ReplyDelete
  9. Outstanding post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Many thanks!
    my page - Lexington Law

    ReplyDelete
  10. Malaysia & Singapore & brunei finest on the internet blogshop for wholesale & quantity korean add-ons, accessories,
    earstuds, choker, rings, bangle, hair & trinket add-ons.

    Promotion 35 % wholesale markdown. Ship Worldwide
    Feel free to surf my web site jogos de inteligȇncia

    ReplyDelete
  11. Malaysia & Singapore & brunei greatest internet blogshop for wholesale & supply
    korean add-ons, accessories, earstuds, choker, rings, hair, trinket
    & bracelet accessories. Deal 35 % wholesale price cut. Ship Worldwide
    Also visit my web site ; sittercity promotion codes

    ReplyDelete
  12. What's up it's me, I am also visiting this web page on
    a regular basis, this web site is really good and the visitors are truly sharing good
    thoughts.
    My blog post ; DSL Anbieter

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for rookie blog writers? I'd certainly appreciate it.


    Here is my site; smoking at bars in new york

    ReplyDelete
  14. I read this post fully on the topic of the difference of hottest and preceding
    technologies, it's remarkable article.

    Review my web blog; MensHealth

    ReplyDelete
  15. You can buy accepted faucets for your affable needs but kitchen mixer curtains can accomplish things simpler and easier to manage.Shower heads In winter months, abrasion accoutrement in algid baptize can be a affliction for abounding people, abnormally those who are affected to cold. That is why a lot of humans install addition faucet for hot water. However with a alloyed model, you can adore the account of accepting baptize for washing, charwoman or coking at your adapted temperature. You can get blood-warm or bleared hot baptize as per your needs and there is no charge to delay for that.Kitchen taps This can accomplish things absolutely acceptable for any homemaker. With these models installed, you can accomplish affable or abrasion faster as it is.Taps Australia Some models acquiesce users to ascendancy the burden and temperature of baptize by levers.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You can buy accepted faucets for your affable needs but kitchen mixer curtains can accomplish things simpler and easier to manage.Shower heads In winter months, abrasion accoutrement in algid baptize can be a affliction for abounding people, abnormally those who are affected to cold. That is why a lot of humans install addition faucet for hot water. However with a alloyed model, you can adore the account of accepting baptize for washing, charwoman or coking at your adapted temperature. You can get blood-warm or bleared hot baptize as per your needs and there is no charge to delay for that.Kitchen taps This can accomplish things absolutely acceptable for any homemaker. With these models installed, you can accomplish affable or abrasion faster as it is.Taps Australia Some models acquiesce users to ascendancy the burden and temperature of baptize by levers.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Otros sitios web que te presente y de paso es una griferia-cocina de identificación. Todos sabemos que en general, todo tiene UN buen oficial de fabricantes de marca. Por otro lado, algunos productos grifos-de-baño informal o parte de la mala calidad de los productos de papel adhesivo tienden a fijar algunas etiquetas aun sin marcar. En este caso, monomando cocina cuidado cuando estamos en la compra barato el grifo.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Regardless of the led tap benefits it is likely to be important to know that they can function bathroom accessories inside uniformity connected with anxiety regarding equally scorching in addition to chilly drinking water. In order to complex, your thermostatic bath kitchen tap which could be mostly widely used these days get particular demerits. An incredibly powerful the answer to recollect is always that bath tap strain determines this stylish operating associated with appliance taps.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Regardless of the led tap benefits it is likely to be important to know that they can function bathroom accessories inside uniformity connected with anxiety regarding equally scorching in addition to chilly drinking water. In order to complex, your thermostatic bath kitchen tap which could be mostly widely used these days get particular demerits. An incredibly powerful the answer to recollect is always that bath tap strain determines this stylish operating associated with appliance taps.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Decide the lens material of the glasses. Polycarbonate lenses are a better quality womens sunglasses replace

    ReplyDelete
  21. In British English, a Tap is a device that controls the flow of a liquid or gas from a pipe or container Kitchen Taps, Bathroom Taps, Shower Taps At DisTap,Choose a kitchen sink and tap to suit your kitchen worktop from the huge range stocked at DISTAP from the World's leading sink manufacturers.

    ReplyDelete
  22. In British English, a Tap is a device that controls the flow of a liquid or gas from a pipe or container Kitchen Taps, Bathroom Taps, Shower Taps At DisTap,Choose a kitchen sink and tap to suit your kitchen worktop from the huge range stocked at DISTAP from the World's leading sink manufacturers.

    ReplyDelete
  23. hop online for thousands of Taps, sinks, bathroom, kitchen and shower

    fixtures. FREE SHIPPING on most items. Same day shipping on in stock

    items.http://www.plumpinguk.co.uk/kitchen-taps/wall-mounted-taps.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. hop online for thousands of Taps, sinks, bathroom, kitchen and shower

    fixtures. FREE SHIPPING on most items. Same day shipping on in stock

    items.http://www.plumpinguk.co.uk/kitchen-taps/wall-mounted-taps.html

    ReplyDelete
  25. A man of taste quality of life is high, especially bathroom design often can reflect a person's quality of life.Waterfall taps are a stylish way to make a statement in your bathroom, and are becoming increasingly popular and very affordable. http://www.plumpinguk.co.uk/kitchen-taps/wall-mounted-taps.html.It will make your life more refineddand we have created a lot of artistic products of"stylish personality and quality life".

    ReplyDelete
  26. Waschtischarmaturen günstig online kaufen. Erstklassige Auswahl an Waschtischarmaturen in Ihrem wasserhahn Online Shop..http://www.wasserhahn.com.de

    ReplyDelete
  27. Waschtischarmaturen günstig online kaufen. Erstklassige Auswahl an Waschtischarmaturen in Ihrem wasserhahn Online Shop..http://www.wasserhahn.com.de

    ReplyDelete
  28. Our pneumatic factory was founded in 2000,CHECK HERE. In decades of serving China pneumatic industry, we have built our reputation on product knowledge, world class suppliers, application support, and value add services. Our commitment to our employees, customers and vendors is the core of our business beliefs. In our factory, there are more than 80 front-line workers, 3000 squares working shop.Our main products are air Pneumatic Cylinder, solenoid valve and also a lot of pneumatic fittings like Air Gun.

    ReplyDelete
  29. When you’re ready to unwind after a long day, there’s nothing as relaxing as lying back and soaking in the tub. When you’re ready to fill up the tub, you’ll want it done properly and in style. http://www.findtaps.co.uk/68-bathtub-taps

    ReplyDelete
  30. With the http://www.faucetsmarket.com/antique-faucets-c-1.html coming in many different formats, it is easy to find a solution that works for you. Installing an Kitchen faucet Light KitA simple way to add LED lighting to your kitchen without spending a lot of money is to use an Bathroom mirror light kit.

    ReplyDelete