Wednesday, October 12, 2005

If it wasn't broke, why did I fix it?

I'm still mulling over my first podcast and wondering if I got it right. I learned a number of things. First of all, I learned that Garage Band is brilliant and that creating a sound file with it is un morceau de gateau as Ewan might say. :-) The creation of the sound file was easy.

Secondly, I learned that the next time I do this, I need to compress the sound file created a bit more so that it doesn't end up so huge!

originally uploaded by _kir.
Thirdly I learned a bit more about RSS - in particular how to get Blogger to talk to Feedburner to create a feed with audio enclosures. I had a bit of a problem at first, but discovered (after a lot of digging about in help files) that I had to set Blogger to feed the Full content of my posts rather than just the Short version.

OK, that's what I learned. There are, however, some other things that I think I now understand but may still have wrong. I'm hoping therefore that some of you podcasting techie-types reading this will be able to tell me if I'm talking rubbish.

When I set up my blog, I also set up a Feedburner feed because this was supposed to give greater flexibility in that its SmartFeed option can create "on the fly" ether an RSS feed or an Atom feed, whereas Blogger only provides Atom. I think I'm happy with that. Two different standards, the market hasn't decided yet which is the Betamax version, so Feedburner allows you to hedge your bets (not that I'm a gambling man you understand). However, enclosures only work with RSS (I think), so to get the podcast feed working (Feedburner calls the feed option SmartCast) I had to turn off SmartFeed which turns off my Feedburner Atom feed. Again, I think I'm OK with that, but here's what I'm still confused about: does that mean that some people who may have been subscribed to my Feedburner Atom feed will no longer be getting updates from my blog? If so, will they get some sort of error message or will it just look to them like I've stopped posting to my blog?

Further confusion is caused since I did not do what Feedburner told me to and did not edit my Blogger template to modify the auto discovery tags. As a result there are about a dozen people in Bloglines who subscribe to the Blogger Atom feed rather then to Feedburner's feed (and possibly more who use other aggregators). I'm guessing the Blogger feed people will be able to continue reading my blog as normal, but that they wont be able to take advantage of the enclosure feature and will have to click on the podcast link themselves. (No great disaster I suppose.)

However, as I thought about it, I wondered if I should have left the existing SmartFeed untouched. I suspect that what I should have done was burn a separate Podcast feed and allowed people the option of sticking with the old non-enclosured feed or switching to the new all sing, all dancing podcast feed?

So what do you think? Should I burn a new feed and restore the old one, or do I just allow the SmartFeed version of Feedburner to disappear?

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Ewan McIntosh said...

Yikes. I would post on the Feedburner forum. When I changed feeds I put up a post beforehand to warn people. You can have as many feeds as you want by altering your template. I would jmust leave the ones you had before and ADD the feedburner one.

Or get Typepad, where your podcast is automatically created when you click 'Post'. (Am I allowed to say that on a BLogger Blog?

David said...

Hello Ewan

Yes, I thought I'd messed up. :-) I'll restore the SmartFeed on Feedburner as soon as I can and burn a new feed for podcasts.

To be fair to Blogger, one of the "how to podcast" things I read said that you can do it through Bloggers Link Field setting but I thought the Feedburner method would give me a bit more flexibility, so I went for it instead of Bloggers built in mechanism.

I'll fix it soon... but I'll make an announcement this time. :-)

David said...


Just checked the Blogger help files and while creating a link to your podcast isn't a problem, creating an RSS feed is. (Silly me, I knew that. Blogger does Atom not RSS.) RSS supports enclosures but Atom doesn't (I think), so if you want to tell something like iTunes about your podcast, you need an RSS feed... I think.

Go on, tell me I've got that wrong too. :-)