German Public Radio adopts Podlove Subscribe Button

1600x300 Deutschlandradio_HeaderbannerOur Podlove Subscribe Button has been adopted by Germany’s public radio Deutschlandradio which operates four national networks and is the undisputed leader in high quality radio programming in the German speaking world.

Podcast pages at Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur are already featuring the button covering more than 100 public podcasts with more to come.

dlr-buttonsIn a blog post by Deutschlandradio Lab project leader Boris Bittner details the reasons for adopting the button including the PSB being open source, easy to use and easy to integrate and touting the hope that more public radio stations and private podcasters will follow its example sooner than later.

We have been supporting Deutschlandradio in this process and welcome anybody who wants to follow suit. Contact us if you have questions and/or suggestions and we are happy to help.

While Podlove was started with supporting the global independent podcast landscape in general we see great benefits for the public radio and free radio projects too. We want to keep the podcast market open and free from platform constraints and invite everybody to collaborate and team up with us to achieve this goal together.

About the Podlove Subscribe Button

The Podlove Subscribe Button (PSB) is Podlove’s approach to easily integrate podcasts with the web allowing listeners to quickly subscribe to podcast from the publishers’ own websites using their preferred podcast application or podcast cloud service. With just a few easy taps or clicks anybody can subscribe to the content they cherish and love without hassle or hindrance.

The PSB works with all popular operating systems and platforms and welcomes developers to jump onboard with just a few tiny and standard-conforming enhancements to their apps. Podcasters or podcast directory

Podlove will continue to enhance and evolve the button to cover all available apps and services, to improve the user experience even more and is planning to bring new features and updates to the button soon that will make it even more useful in the near future.

Publisher Weekly: Web Edition

The newsletter Publisher Weekly has found its way into the web. You can find an archive of all previous articles in our Podlove Community:

https://community.podlove.org/c/podlove-publisher/publisher-weekly

If you prefer an RSS feed to subscribe, your wishes have been heard:

https://community.podlove.org/c/podlove-publisher/publisher-weekly.rss

The web version of the newsletter is edited to make sense in that context and only contains the article of each letter. When you subscribe to the newsletter by email, you will receive it quicker and there is also a personal timely introduction.

So if you want the full scoop, I still recommend you go subscribe the traditional way. But if you prefer to read on the web or RSS, you now have a choice.

Software updates for using the Podlove Subscribe Button

We have recently told you about the new design of the Podlove Subscribe Button and we are happy to have collected mostly positive feedback since then. However, people also asked how to leverage the new features. Let’s talk bit more about that.

We have recently updated both the Podlove Publisher (2.3.12) and the dedicated Podlove Subscribe Button (1.2) WordPress plugins to show an expected set of controls to make use of the new button.

Both plugins provide a dedicated WordPress widget to easily include a button in the design of your choice in one of your sidebars. It also supports the new WordPress Customises enabling a live preview while changing the button’s properties:

Psb widget editor

If you are using the Podlove Publisher, the builtin widget is made for showing a subscribe button for your own podcast. As all the information about this is already known, you just have to take care of the shiny details of how the button should look like on your page.

The dedicated Podlove Subscribe Button plugin allows easy integration of the button for any podcast you have the necessary information for so you can show a button for other podcasts (or your own if you are not yet using the publisher).

I hope these updates serve you well and please don’t stop to provide feedback about the button. Use Twitter (@podlove_org) or our Podlove Community for questions and suggestions.

Podlove Subscribe Button: The Redesign

Since having launched the Podlove Subscribe Button (PSB) at the end of 2014, our one-stop solution for easily subscribing to Podcasts is already being used by more than 2000 podcasts on the web. And we have also got a lot of positive feedback by users and podcasters alike. So it seems subscribing to podcasts has become much easier for many podcast listeners out there – which is great!

Podcast directories and podcast hosting sites have also embraced the button as its integration in web pages of any kind is pretty easy to do. More and more podcast client developers have added the necessary hooks to their products so we have continously increased the number of apps supported by the PSB. If you are a podcast client developer and want to see your program listed in the PSB, please follow the guidelines on how to integrate and how to submit your app for inclusion to our team.

Customising the button

The Podlove Subscribe Button has always provided options for customisations. The button can present the podcast image along with it, comes in three sizes and can optionally adapt to the page size too. Of course, these features continues to exist.

However, some podcasters have complained about the particular design we chose for the button. Some disliked its 3D-style. Others wanted to customise the color or simply wanted more options to better adapt the look of the button to their web design. While we have always allowed for custom links to invoke the button for web developers, we have listened and now provide a completely revamped new look of the button with more options.

Let’s walk through the new options that make customising the visual appearance easy for everyone.

Flat Design

First and foremost we have moved from the traditional 3D-inspired look to a “flat” appearance that much better integrates into current web design trends. This change is immediate and applies to all buttons currently in use – as long as they use our recommended way of using the button by simply including our hosted solution.

(If you are using the button by hosting your own copy of the button, please make sure you are always using the latest version of the master branch on GitHub).

Subscribe button green

Color

Apart from asking for a flat design, the number 1 on podcasters’ customisation wish list was color. The PSB by default comes in a distinct style of green that we considered friendly and welcoming.

But many wanted to appear the button in a primary color that define the overall style of their web page. So now we allow to just that: you choose a primary color and the button uses that and automatically calculates highlight tones for button states to match this color.

Subscribe button blue

Subscribe button red

Subscribe button yellow

Note how the button text color automatically adapts to the primary color and enables both dark and light colors to be chosen without creating conflicts.

Styles

Apart from distinct color schemes, some websites also have different styles of “lightness” where the standard “filled” button appearance seems to “heavy” when compared to other elements. So we have added to new styles to account for that.

The “outline” style removes the filling and provides a simple boxed version of the button. The “frameless” style removes the box completely and creates an even lighter look.

Subscribe buttons filled outline frameless

Square Button

We have provided both a “rectangle” and “cover” appearance from the start. New to the family is a “square” format that strips the description from the button and simply presents the generic podcast logo in the button. This should cover most design choices of web site and should allow inclusion of the button on every possible place.

Subscribe buttons square

Future enhancements

We will continue to enhance and evolve the Podlove Subscribe Button. Future developments might include manually selecting formats and provide local usage statistics. The exact list of features depends on the feedback of podcasters and users to please let us know what you think how everything should look and feel.

Feel free to drop feature requests, ideas or bug reports at the Podlove Community.

Thanks to Michaela and Ben for their contribution to make the redesign reality.

Publisher Weekly

Getting started with open source software can be a problem sometimes due to a lot of options and differing realities when setting up things. And sometimes you just can’t wrap your head around what you actually want and what your options really are.

So using Podlove Publisher is no exception in this game. The suite has accumulated many features over time and it might not always be easy to see what it can do for you.

So today we start a new service that you might enjoy if you are using Podlove Publisher: Publisher Weekly is – as you might have guessed – a weekly newsletter about Podlove Publisher by core developer Eric Teubert.

Every week you will get new tips and tricks delivered to your inbox that should help clear up confusion and show new ways how to publish your podcast effectively and with joy.

So do not hesitate and subscribe to the newsletter right away to participate in the new information transfer.

Podlove Publisher 2.3: Improved Foundation

When making decisions on what to work on next is one of the big challenges especially when thinking about the upcoming versions of the Podlove Publisher. There are so many places where we could extend and enhance the system so we need to carefully choose our battles.

With Podlove Publisher 2.3 which was released a couple of days ago, we decided to focus on stability, compatibility and integrity of our foundation. We addressed a couple of things that look minor in the release notes but are important fixes to make sure our features are built on stable ground and behave properly in the wild Internet.

Foundational work

For instance, we are now making sure we are following internal WordPress settings regarding the composition of feed URLs regarding a trailing “/”. This slash will either be removed or enforced now (depending on your settings) and the other version will reliably redirect to the configured URL with a HTTP Permanent Redirect (code 301). While this does not look like a big deal we are making sure that podcast directories can reliably identify your feed and prevent and remove duplicate entries.

We have also integrated more closely with WordPress’ cache strategies, opened up the Publisher to non-admin accounts, added a small button to automatically generate the duration from existing media files (even if hosted on another server), improved analytics and fixed numerous other small issues.

For developers, we are now opening our internal system to theme developers. The API is exactly the same as our template system so if you want to recreate features made possible by Podlove Templates in your WordPress theme you can do so now. We can’t wait to see Podlove-optimized themes for podcast-optimized blogs.

In addition to that, we have unbundled support for the Flattr micropayment system in a separate module and removed our reliance on the Flattr WordPress plugin so that the Publisher can now support Flattr completely on its own. And if you do not want to use Flattr at all for some reasons you can now turn it off completely. However, we still think Flattr is a great addition for the podcasting ecosphere and strongly suggest you use it.

Metadata features

While most of the things above are mainly improving the system and offer new options for developers and blog administrators, we have also upped the support for podcast metadata by offering two new data types: seasons and related episodes.

Seasons are basically what it says on the tin: you can now specify time ranges that represent certain phases your podcast has had. Be it a genuinely seasonal structure (like a sports podcast focusing on each season) or a transitional period of change (like a change of the team, renaming your podcast or changing its structure) that you want to communicate to your audience: seasons let you do that. While you can specify seasons internally, you currently need to explore the power of Podlove templates to bring this to the website. We are waiting for your feedback and will introduce proper defaults for archive pages etc. later on.

Related episodes are a feature where you can let episodes point to each other expressing they are related. We have decided to keep this feature simple. There is no “relation type” and the relation is always bi-directional. If you say A is related to B, then B is automatically related to A. Good thing: when new episodes point to old episodes, old episodes automatically refer into the future. Use the [podlove-related-episodes] shortcode for easy inclusion of the feature in your posts.

Both metadata features might be extended in the future but we want to keep it simple for now.

So upgrade to Podlove Publisher 2.3 today and while you are at it make sure to upgrade your PHP to version 5.6 too. PHP 5.4 as reached end-of-life status recently and won’t get any security fixes any more. The more people move to modern PHP versions the earlier we developers can build on the new features and capabilities these versions bring. This makes developing complex tools like this much easier which is good for all of us.

Podlove Publisher 2.2: Say hello to image caching

Four rotations

Hello everyone: a new Podlove Publisher release is out and it’s again an incremental update that focuses mostly on a single area: this time it’s all about images.

Because we are making use of WordPress latest image subsystem we have also upped the requirements to WordPress version 3.5 (however, we recommend using the very latest version of WordPress which as of today is 4.2.2).

As usual, feel free to discuss the release with the Podlove Community.

Images: URLs, caches, sizes and retina

As you might know, we have decided to go with external URLs when it comes to things like images. Podcast and episode image as well as avatars are all configured by providing external URLs. Problem was that it was difficult to control image and file size which can lead to huge load times for episode and archive pages etc.

We have now added an internal and automatic image cache that not only caches images but also automatically resizes images depending on the usage context. This should reduce image load times significantly.

We have also added new Podlove Template accessors to easily include those images in your templates. Use expressions like podcast.image.html, podcast.image({fallback: true}).html or contributor.image.html({ width: 32 }) to get proper <img> tags for your HTML.

Not only are these accessors easier to use than the old ones (which are now deprecated), they also bring the added benefit that we automatically provide “retina” images (the same image linked in 2x and 3x versions) to make the picture look nice on higher-resolution displays. Social and donation service icons have also been refreshed and are provided in higher resolutions.

The whole cache is put in the ./wp-content/cache/podlove directory and is properly marked so it can be automatically excluded by your backup plugin.

What about the Media Library?

We know that some of you would like to see a tighter integration with the WordPress Media Library to lessen the dependencies on external URLs and we have been discussing that. We might tackle this in a future update but it needs a lot of second thoughts in many ways.

Right now, Podlove Publisher is aimed at advanced users but we’d like to bring it all to a level where the tool is nice and fancy for starters too. This would include making the setup much much easier, automate the selection of hosting providers, handle direct uploads and make the setup of assets and feeds simpler and mostly automatic. We’re getting there eventually.

But we know we have demanding users that also want to see advancements in many other areas that are currently our focus.

So on the plus side you can be assured we have neither a lack of ideas nor a lack of todo items on our lists. You can help us getting to all these places by making a donation (or even better, subscribe to our professional support) and promoting our projects to other podcasters and podcast app developers in particular.

Introducing paid Podlove Publisher Support

Hi, I’m Eric.

I’m the guy who started developing the Podlove Publisher plugin more than three years ago with this commit. A year later, Podlove started to get significant support by donations and crowdfunding — from you. As I am the one who got the biggest chunk of it: Thank you!

Today, more than three years after the Podlove Publisher project started, I’m still here. And I’m just as excited to get us through the Roadmap as on day one. We have plenty ideas for how to improve the Podlove Publisher. The main constraint is time.

My aim is to make working on the Publisher, or other projects in the Podlove universe, a sustainable endeavor for me. Ideally full-time. Today I am taking the first step in that direction. Let me explain what I have worked on recently:

Professional Support for Podlove Publisher

According to WordPress we reached over 1000 active installs. Woohoo! While user numbers increased, so did the time we have to spend in our support channels. We have high standards to the quality of support we provide, but time spent answering questions is also time spent not working on the plugin.

Starting today, we offer private, professional support at publisher.podlove.org/support. I set up a ticket system where you can ask questions and get help in a confidential environment. All conversations will only be shared between you and our Support Agents (a fancy term for “me”). As of right now, every support request will be handled by me, the plugin developer, directly. So no matter if your questions are technical or not, I will be able to help. The support interface is english only, but please feel free to speak german.

There are three tiers for different requirements:

Basic — 5€ per month and podcast is the entry package for hobbyists. You get full access to the support system and your questions will be answered.

Business — 15€ per month and podcast is for professional podcasters who need quicker responses. This package includes “Backend Support”. If you like, you can let us login directly into your WordPress to find bugs and misconfigurations quickly.

Premium — 55€ per month and network is like the Business package, but for professional podcasters who are using WordPress Multisite for podcasts, no matter how many.

On a side note, this is a great way to regularly support Podlove Publisher development. Especially if you stayed away from traditional donations because you don’t get an invoice. With Podlove Publisher Support, you receive a proper invoice and can book it as an expense.

Get great support while helping to sustain continued development of the Podlove Publisher.

What does this mean for the existing channels?

GitHub Issues, our main support channel until now, will just be the bug tracker in the future. Free public support will always be available in our Podlove Community.

Oh, and before I forget, the Podlove Publisher has a cozy new home at publisher.podlove.org.

If you have any thoughts or feedback, please let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@ericteubert or @podlove_org).

Podlove Publisher 2.1 is here

We have finally released Podlove Publisher 2.1. Despite it’s “minor” release number, it’s a packed release with more than 200 changes to the core.

We have already hinted at some of the new features but let’s give you an overview of the major milestones version 2.1 represents:

WordPress Multisite Support

As some of you might know, WordPress can be installed in a way that you can actually run multiple blogs with the same code base on one server. This is handy for everyone who needs to run more than one blog – or more than one podcast.

You can activate Podlove Publisher now system-wide and not only get support in each blog but you also get a network-wide dashboard, the ability to create “lists of podcasts” that can be used for overviews and a network-wide installation of Podlove Templates.

We see this as a feature for advanced users and blog administrators but we tried to keep it as easy to use as possible. This area will most probably be enhanced and evolved over time.

Podlove Widgets

WordPress has a simple system to put information in sidebars, footers etc. called widgets. The Podlove Publisher now adds a few Podlove-specific widgets to make it easy to display your podcasts logo and description, license information or invoke a Podlove template.

More template power

For the experienced user, Podlove templates are a powerful tool to enhance your website and create a consistent presentation of your podcast information. Release 2.1 contains various new accessors, direct support for the Podlove Subscribe Button and Flattr buttons and much more minor enhancements.

Other changes

There are more changes that might be of interest to you. There is also a fancy new dashboard widget telling you more about gender distribution in your podcast team.

To get the full list, move over to our Podlove Community where we you can discuss the new features and ask us questions about it. We are happy to answer and give you tips on how to make use of the new stuff that’s in 2.1.

Integrating the Podlove Subscribe Button

A while ago we have released the Podlove Subscribe Button. Hundreds of podcasts and some podcast directories have integrated the button in their web site and reception has been generally good.

We have done some improvements under the hood but as the button in centrally hosted, each button out there automatically gets upgraded to the latest list of apps and cloud services.

If you find something that does not work, please report it to us so we can fix it.

New PSB plugin for WordPress

Integrating the button in your web site is easy, but it can never get easy enough. In Podlove Publisher, we have included a WordPress widget called “Podlove Publisher Subscribe Button” that you can use to put a PSB in your sidebar announcing your podcast. Using a WordPress shortcode you can put a button in pages and articles too.

But what if you are using WordPress but not the Podlove Publisher? Or what if you want to provide a list of buttons for other or related podcasts? Well, we have you covered too as we have just released a separate WordPress plugin where you can set up your own buttons as easy.

If you install the plugin, you can set up your buttons in settings and then use a separate WordPress widget (or shortcode) to place your buttons whereever you want. So no need for HTML wizardry or Podlove Publisher to simply include the button.

Advanced activation schemes

People have also asked how they can activate the button using a simple link. It is possible too. Just refer to our technical document too see how to create proper links and also how to customise the colors of the button if you wish to do so.

Future versions of the button will make customization much easier and all those options will of course be rolled into the plugin too.