FeedPress Adds Support for New Apple Podcast Tags

Apple Podcast Spec Updates

The week of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that they have updated their RSS podcast spec to include additional tags for podcast publishers. These tags will provide support for additional functionality inside of their own “Apple Podcasts” app. The tags themselves add features that many podcasters have been looking for, such as the ability to specify an episode as trailer, bonus, or full episode.

Apple Podcast Spec Updates

New Podcast Tags

We have added support for the following podcast tags:

  <itunes:episodeType>full</itunes:episodeType>
  <itunes:episodeType>trailer</itunes:episodeType>
  <itunes:episodeType>bonus</itunes:episodeType>

Customers who use FeedPress’ podcast publishing platform can use the “Episode Type” field to specify an episode as a trailer, bonus episode, or full episode, as illustrated below.

FeedPress Publisher Supports New Apple Podcast RSS Tags

it should be noted that whilst the tags can be included now, we won’t see the changes reflected until Apple releases iOS 11 to the public, which won’t be until September and likely after the release of iPhone 8.

Conclusion

It’s really exciting to see Apple moving the needle on podcasts to improve both the listener’s and publisher’s experience. What do you think of the new podcast tags and the changes to Apple’s podcast app on iOS 11? Leave a comment below to chat with us.

FeedPress Adds Automatic JSON Feed Support

JSONFeed

Beloved Mac developers and long time bloggers, Brent Simmons and Manton Reece have launched JSON Feed. The take away for developers is as follows:

For most developers, JSON is far easier to read and write than XML. Developers may groan at picking up an XML parser, but decoding JSON is often just a single line of code.

Why care?

So why should anyone care about this with respect to podcasts when Apple controls the ecosystem? Although its early days for the spec, our opinion is that innovation in a space with an established, albeit old spec is a healthy thing.

RSS is and continues to be a workable transportation method for podcast data, but even RSS–which has been around since 1999–needs enhancement. That’s why open source initiatives like syndicated.media exist to take podcast functionality and RSS to the next level (we’re closely watching this).

What impact does it have?

Does this mean that JSON Feed will make any significant impact? That remains to be seen, but we’re pleased to see people move the needle forward.

Co-creator, Manton Reece wrote about how JSON Feed relates to podcast functionality:

JSON Feed includes an attachments array, which is similar to the enclosure element in RSS that enabled podcasting. We love podcasting and included an example podcast feed in the JSON Feed specification.

How FeedPress supports JSON Feed

Experimental JSON support is live on FeedPress. JSON Feed is generated every time the XML feed is refreshed and is not a replication from the source, it’s a creation. The JSON feed validates and it handles podcasts on RSS and Atom.

Conclusion

There is nothing FeedPress customers need to do in order to get JSON compatible feeds. Simply append the ?format=json parameter to the end of your RSS feed.

Here’s an example URL: https://podcast.hologramradio.org/master?format=json

FeedPress customers are encouraged to test this with compatible RSS readers and Podcast apps. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Update: As of May 31, 2017, the feed_url paramter has been added. As per JSON Feed spec documentation, it’s highly recommended:

Apple Silently Adds Support for Let’s Encrypt Certificates on Podcast Feeds

FeedPress has had SSL support for RSS feeds and hosted podcast media since June 2016. Let’s Encrypt is an open source certificate authority that has been adopted by millions and provides easy access for companies like us to issue free SSL certificates to every customer.

An obstacle podcasters have had since Let’s Encrypt’s introduction is that iTunes Podcast Connect would reject feeds using their SSL certificates. The reason for this is because the iTunes Java Root Store was old and didn’t recognize Let’s Encrypt as a valid certificate authority.

This week we were alerted that the folks at iTunes had silently updated their infrastructure to support Let’s Encrypt. FeedPress has tested compatibility and is pleased to confirm that you can now submit podcast feeds to iTunes using Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. As of the publication date of this blog post, Apple has yet to update their FAQ on official support for Let’s Encrypt.

Please refer to our tutorial below to learn how to enable HTTPS on podcast feeds:

http://support.feed.press/article/113-enabling-ssl-on-hosted-feedpress-feeds

Conclusion

Note that although SSL is a feature that is available in FeedPress, it’s not a compatibility requirement for iTunes at the moment. If you don’t feel comfortable turning it on, we recommend leaving it off until Apple provides a cut off date when it must be enabled.

Podcast Publisher: Specify Publish Date And Time in Your Posts

Available today on our Podcast Publishing system, you can specify a publish date and time on posts. This was a requested feature and is something we wanted to get into v1 of the podcast publisher system but didn’t get to.

Customers requested this as it’s an expected feature in a CMS, but also because it’s handy when you migrate from other hosting services and need to re-create your posts and preserve the original publishing date and time.

Selecting a publish date and time

date and time fields

The new date picker

date picker

Updates to File Storage

Several months ago we increased the provisioned file storage from 250MB to 400MB for all customers. Today we made a tweak to File Storage to include a status that reflects whether or not that file is attached to a post. For example, if you have a draft post with an uploaded file, the file will say “Draft.” If you have a post that’s been published, the status of the file will reflect “Published.”

podcast file storage status

Publish your own podcast

You remember that feeling of delight you experienced when you first tried ice cream as a kid. That’s what podcasting on FeedPress feels like. Publish your own podcast today on a 14-day trial and experience delight once again.

Review: Changes To Your Feed Dashboard

Over the last couple of months, we’ve made some changes to the feed dashboard you should know about. An overwhelming majority of customers have responded positively to the new changes and improvements with podcast feed creation, importing feeds, and feed merging.

When you login to your FeedPress account, your feed dashboard is the first page to greet you. There are four buttons laid out horizontally across the top of the page: Create Feed, Import Feed, FeedBurner Migration, Merge Feed.

Feed dashboard buttons

Create Feed

To create a new podcast feed and to utilize the new podcast post creation system, you will use Create Feed to get started. We’ve had a few reports from people who inadvertently used this method when what they really wanted was to import an existing podcast feed that they own. We added some additional text to the button to make it clear this is for podcasters that want to create a new feed from scratch.

Import Feed

If you own a feed that you wish to import into FeedPress, be it a podcast or blog feed, you will import it so you can get analytics or add podcast hosting if you need it. Note that if you are running WordPress, you can also install our plugin to speed-up setup. Our plugin can import the feed and redirect as well as do a few other advanced things. Importing feeds means they are from a third-party. For example: WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Libsyn, SoundCloud.

FeedBurner Migration

If the label didn’t give it away, within a couple of clicks, you can easily move your blog and podcast feeds from FeedBurner directly into FeedPress. We port the feeds and data, which include any newsletter subscribers.

Merge Feed

A sought after feature requested by our customers, you can take two or more feeds and merge their content together. This is useful for podcast networks that want a single “master” feed that contains all of their podcasts. Bloggers also find it useful since you can take different feeds that contain different content and create a “master” feed with all of their writing.

Coda

We have some bigger updates planned for the dashboard in the future, but for now, I hope this clarifies some of the recent changes we’ve made. If you have any questions, we’re available 7 days a week to help. Get in touch with us via email.