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About Eric Teubert

Podlove Publisher Developer

Podlove Publisher 3.0

There’s movement in the Podlove world: We have a podcast! We decided to talk in German 🇩🇪 — so if that’s a language you understand, have a look at our Podlovers podcast.

Even if you don’t, it might still be interesting to have a look at the website. It’s powered by Podlove Publisher, but the website you see is not a WordPress theme. It’s a statically rendered site fed by the Publisher API. There’s a sticky Podlove Web Player 5 that continues playing when navigating between pages. We transcribe every episode: The transcript is connected to the web player, so you see what’s being said and you can click on a section in the transcript to jump to the audio section. Comments are integrated via Discourse, our community platform.

But let’s get to the main event:

The Podlove Publisher 3.0 Release.

First: Why 3.0? Because it’s a major rewrite and everything is different? No, nothing to worry. We follow semantic versioning. If you don’t know what that is: only major versions may include breaking changes.

I hear you saying: “Wait, Eric, you JUST said not to worry. Now what’s that with BREAKING changes?”

There’s a good chance the breaking changes won’t affect you. They’re about cutting off very outdated technology that gets more and more cumbersome to maintain as time goes on. Here’s the complete list:

  • requires PHP 7.0 (or newer)
  • requires WordPress 5.2 (or newer)
  • Web Player:
    • removes Podlove Web Player 2
    • removes Podlove Web Player 3
    • removes “insert player automatically” option (probably does not affect anyone as the web player is by default inserted via template)
    • removes “Chapters Visibility” option (use dedicated Web Player settings instead)

If you’re running an older PHP version, here’s a whole guide by WordPress on how to upgrade: Update PHP. If you’re running an older version of WordPress, well, you really need to upgrade, if only for security purposes.

If you’re still on Podlove Web Player 2 or 3, it’s time to make the jump to Podlove Web Player 5. It’s shiny, has its own configuration interface and there are guides if you’re looking for a deep dive. You’re going to love it!

Podlove Web Player 5

And that’s it! If your PHP and WordPress are up to date, you’re ready to upgrade.

What else is new?

The following shortcodes received a fresh default style: podlove-episode-contributor-list, podlove-podcast-contributor-list and podlove-episode-downloads. More importantly, the contributors list now has a variant dedicated for RSS feeds, so they look much nicer in podcatchers.

Publisher 3.0 includes the Publisher Plus module, an integration for a service I’m building at plus.podlove.org. Publisher PLUS is a Feed Proxy, which takes care of your RSS feed. With a Feed Proxy you can receive detailed subscriber statistics. And when your podcast gets more popular (yay!), you don’t need to worry about performance issues serving your feed, because Publisher PLUS takes care of that. PLUS is currently in beta but I hope to open it up to the public soon. Once it’s live, there are plenty of ideas for more features that make your life as a podcaster easier and more enjoyable that are hard or impossible todo within the confines of WordPress.

We’ve worked on a Shownotes module that is not yet where we want it to be, but decided to include it into the release anyway. If you’re curious, have a look at the changelog, which includes more details on how to enable and use it.

Finally, there’s a long tail of tweaks and fixes and I encourage you to read the changelog for a complete list.

From a developers perspective, this release feels like a spring clean. Bumping the PHP requirement means I can update many libraries I depend on and clean up code. Speaking of which, the whole source code is formatted following the PSR-2 style guide now, and an auto-format script is in place to keep it that way.

All in all, a big release. Not feature-wise but spiritually. Working with an 8-year-old, growing codebase is tough, but occasional cleanup-releases like this make it possible to keep up the maintenance and feature development. I wish you a problem-free upgrade and look forward to upcoming releases.

Announcing Podlove Publisher 2.4 Beta

Hello there.

It’s time for a significant Publisher update. We are on the verge to release version 2.4 which focuses on tracking and analytics as well as general stability. See the preliminary changelog for details.

This time we decided to do a public beta test before unleashing the beast. If you feel adventurous, please try the Beta and let us know how it works for you.

How to get the 2.4 Beta

We distribute betas in a separate plugin. This plugin is not available through the WordPress plugin directory. You need to install it manually:

  1. Download the latest version: https://github.com/podlove/podlove-beta-tester/archive/master.zip
  2. In WordPress, go to Plugins > Add New and choose Upload Plugin
  3. Upload the zip file you downloaded in step 1.
  4. Once you have activated the plugin, go to Settings > Podlove Beta Tester and choose the beta you you want to join. Check for plugin updates and you should see a beta update (look at the version number). Note that you only see betas for plugins you have already installed (you need to have the “Podlove Publisher” plugin installed if you want to join its beta).

What to test

The most critical new component is a “Background Job” system.

Crunching numbers for Analytics takes time, especially for popular podcasts with many downloads. The old system was written optimistically and “let’s-hope-we-finish-before-we-run-out-of-time”-ish. That was certainly good enough for podcasts with a few hundred downloads per episode, but more likely a gamble for popular shows.
To solve this issue in a scaleable way, we built what is known as “background processing” or “queues”. That way we can break big tasks into small chunks and process them step by step.

Since this is the new backbone of Analytics, thorough testing is required. Please check the following:

  • totals per episode update (roughly) hourly
  • daily/weekly aggregates in the Analytics Dashboard update daily
  • in the new “Tools” section analytics recalculation can be started manually and the tasks finish within seconds or minutes (depending on how many total downloads your podcast has)

Apart from that, feel free to report any other bugs and oddities you may encounter.

Read the full changelog for details.

How to provide Feedback

Head over to https://community.podlove.org/c/podlove-publisher, open a new topic and share your issues, questions or delights.

Thank you :)

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.

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).