We are excited to announce the immediate release of Podlove Publisher 2.5. Special thanks to Eric Teubert who has contributed 99% of this release and is constantly working on Podlove Publisher to make it the best tool possible.
The new release is mostly maintenance work and reworked features so there is not much that looks shiny and new at first glance but is more targeted to improve our overall architecture, get some historic awkwardness out of the way and prepare the Publisher for future features that are actually shiny and new.
There is one exception in terms of shinyness: the new chapters interface.
Chapter support has been at the core of the Publisher saga from the beginning. We always felt that structuring potentially long podcasts is a boon to both listeners and publishers and should be supported by the publishing system in first class way.
So we kicked off the Podlove Web Player with chapter navigation and put a feature into Podlove Publisher to upload a chapter file to the backend which can then be used to put chapter info into the player, the podcast feed (in PSC format for podcast apps and directories to consume) and also pass it along to optional backends like Auphonic.
When the Publisher started this, chapters were almost nonexistent in the podcast world. Today, there are thousands of podcasts making use of chapters and more and more podcast apps support chapter navigation. These numbers are going up continuously as podcasters find creation and delivery of chapters is getting more streamlined and as listeners understand that chapters make consuming and revisiting long and highly structured podcasts much easier.
However, we have neglected the backend interface for actually entering chapter information far too long. Until version 2.4 you had to provide chapters in the so-called mp4chapters format in pure form with additional error checking and metadata evaluation. No more: Podlove Publisher 2.5 has replaced the old crumpy way of doing things with a simple interface that actually supports more chapter file formats too.
This list presents chapters the way they should be. Each chapter displays its calculated duration and you can freely edit and delete individual chapters. So now you can use the Publisher’s backend to actually create the chapter information in an interactive fashion without using external tools.
We also support entering chapter URLs now.
If you want to maintain a file-based workflow you can of course still do that. Instead of copy-and-pasting the information into a simple text field you can now import the chapter file in one simple step:
Update: in Podlove Publisher 2.5.1 you can also import chapter information from Hindenburg project files.
If you have created your chapters in the backend but want to save it in a separate file we have also added a simple export function to write chapters to either a Podlove Simple Chapters file
And that’s it. The new interface should make life easier for those who already use chapters and should be an encouragement for those who haven’t looked into this. We can only recommend checking it out, it’s making podcasting better for everybody.
Apart from the chapter feature we have tweaked a few minor things that were asking for change most of which you usually barely notice but might be worth knowing about.
Contributor Avatar Upload: You can now upload avatar images for your Contributors to the WordPress media library without referring to external URLs. This should have been possible for a long time and now it finally is. It’s another step in our march towards less external dependencies which will a get a larger update in the future.
Say goodbye to App.net: We were happy to jump on the bandwagon that was App.net years ago as it promised to be a fun way for podcasters to connect to listeners but alas ADN will shut down today forever so we have removed the ADN module from Podlove Publisher. So long and thanks for all the fish.
Background import and export: The importing and exporting routines could be become quite long as podcasts grow so they could take up so much time WordPress started to throw in some nasty timeouts and killed it off. Not good. So we have moved these routines to our new background processing system introduced in the last release and that should work reliably even for huge archives.
Background Jobs Dashboard: The dashboard is now updated in real time giving you the option to easily look at what’s going on in the Publishers machine room if you fancy that. It’s like watching a washing machine: maybe totally boring in the long run but might have a soothing effect on you. Who knows?
Redirect Counter Reset: If you are using Podlove Publishers built-in redirection module (in Expert Settings) – useful for domain and URL transitions – now you can not only see how many times an individual redirect has been used from outside, but you can also reset the counter now to make it easy to detect if the redirect is still needed. Small changes make people happy sometimes.
Future developments and support
If you think you might have seen more big features being put into a single release in the past you are right. We have decided to speed up things by focusing on a single big feature per each release now and to throw in some minor maintenance stuff too. Bug fixes will still be delivered on an as-needed basis for dot-dot-releases.
So stay tuned for more nice things from Podlove and please keep supporting us with donations. Donations have gone down quite significantly recently and we really need to cover some extra costs for meetings and travel of team members.
Another option is to get the direct Podlove Publisher Support. This way you are both contributing directly to development AND getting immediate technical support for your installation in case something goes wrong. While we have our eyes open in the Podlove Community for questions and troubles we might not always have the time and focus to help out when troubles arise. The professional support option takes care of that.
Thanks for everybody who has supported us so far.