[bct] Podcast Aggregators

  • From: Tim Cross <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 14:29:59 +1100

Dear all,

While I've not posted here in a while (too busy), I have been
lurking. One topic which I've seen a couple of times has been with
respect to accessible podcast downloaders. 

I've noticed quite a few people cursing Juice/ipodder for not being
very accessible and occasionally blowing up etc. I don't use this
software, but instead use either a python script called podracer or
some bash shell scripts called bashpodder. I've also just written my
own podcast aggregator in common lisp (which, for lack of a better
name, I've called poddy). The problem with all of these solutions are
that they are Linux specific. 

Now, my question is, if so many people are having problems with juice,
why don't we implement a script based version using a scripting
language like perl or python. Both of these languages are available
for windows and I think both languages have the necessary modules
available to make writing a podcast aggregator fairly
straight-forward. 

What I don't know is if this is worthwhile or not. To use a script
based podcast aggregator, you would need to have ither python or perl
installed and I don't know if many would be willing to do that or have
the necessary skills. Also, as I don't run Windows, it would be
necessary to have someone who does and who is willing to assist with
debugging and development of the scripts. 

I actually don't know python, but can't imagine its too hard to
learn. I do know perl, tcl/tk, bash, java, C/C++, lisp and prolog, so
picking up python cannot be too hard. We can also take advantage of
existing scripts, like podracer, which should make life easier.

The reason I like a script based podcast aggregator is that it has no
user interface issues for screen reader users. Its a command line
application which uses a simple text file for
configuration. Essentially, you just put all the urls of the podcasts
you listen to into a text file and then run the script once a day (or
whatever). the script keeps track ofpodcasts it has already downloaded
and just grabs new ones it hasn't seen before and places them in a
configurable directory. You then just browse that directory and start
any of the podcasts you want to listen to. Once your done, erase
them. 

As mentioned, I don't run Windows or I would just go ahead and do this
myself. However, since I've now written my own podcast aggregator in
lisp, I figured I might be able to help out someone else who does work
with windows and would be interested in taking this on as a
project. The basics for being able to subscribe to and download
podcasts is quite straight forward - admittadly, with the script
version you just get the basics and none of the nice podcast directory
searching and one-click subscription features of juice, but still, how
often do you need that anyway. You can always browse via the web and
cut'n'paste - its not that much extra effort. It only takes a few
hundred lines of script code to implement a basic podcast aggregator
and I just thought it may help liberate everyone form the tyranny of
GUI applications which don't always behave well with screen readers.

If anyone is interested, let me know and we can see what we can work
out. 

Tim

Other related posts: