Round 1

ikiwiki's simple podcasting, while elegant and minimal, doesn't (as mentioned in blogging) produce full-featured feeds. In fancy podcasts, episodes are accompanied by text content. The feeds also have lots more metadata.


  1. For each fancy podcast episode, write a blog post containing [[!meta enclosure="WikiLink/to/media.mp3"]]. (Don't specify more than one enclosure -- but if you do, last one wins.)
  2. When rendering to HTML (single-page or inlined), append a link to the media file.
  3. When rendering to RSS/Atom, the text is the entry's content and the media file is its enclosure.
  4. Don't break simple podcasts in pursuit of fancy podcasts.



  • Cover the existing simple podcast behavior with tests.
  • Add an enclosure field to meta that expands the given WikiLink to an absolute URL (feed enclosures pretty much need to be, and the reference feeds I've looked at all do this).
  • Write failing tests for the desired single-page and inlined HTML behavior, then make them pass by adding enclosure stanzas to {,inline}page.tmpl.
  • Write failing tests for the desired RSS/Atom behavior, then make them pass via changes to {atom,rss}item.tmpl and inline.
  • Match feature-for-feature with tru_podcast (what schmonz will be migrating from).
  • Enrich feed metadata by catching up rsspage.tmpl to atompage.tmpl.
  • Verify that more plays well with fancy podcasts.
  • Verify that the feeds validate.
  • Subscribe to a fancy feed in some common podcatchers and verify display details against a reference podcast.
  • Verify smooth transitions for two common use cases (see testing details below).
  • Code review: don't add enclosure divs unless we have enclosures.
  • Code review: genericize download link for more use cases.
  • Code review: don't confuse old readers with Atom names in RSS.
  • Code review: instead of hacking back to $link, just provide it.
  • Code review: show author in addition to feedname, if different.

Code review

+                               # XXX better way to compute relative to srcdir?
+                               my $file = $absurl;
+                               $file =~ s|^$config{url}/||;

I don't think ikiwiki offers a better way to do that, because there is normally no reason to do that. Why does it need an url of this form here? --Joey

In all the popular, production-quality podcast feeds I've looked at, enclosure URLs are always absolute (even when they could be expressed concisely as relative). Apple's example does too. So I told [[!meta ]] to call urlto() with the third parameter true, which means the [[!inline ]] code here gets an absolute URL in $pagestate{$p}{meta}{enclosure}. To compute the enclosure's metadata, though, we of course need it as a local path. I didn't see a less ongepotchket way at the time. If you have a better idea, I'm happy to hear it; if not, I'll add an explanatory comment. --schmonz

I would be more comfortable with this if two two different forms of url you need were both generated by calling urlto. It'd be fine to call it more than once. --Joey

Heh, it was even easier than that! (Hooray for tests.) Done. --schmonz

+<TMPL_IF HTML5><section id="inlineenclosure"><TMPL_ELSE><div id="inlineenclosure"></TMPL_IF>

Can't we avoid adding this div when there's no enclosure? --Joey

Sure, I've moved the <TMPL_IF ENCLOSURE> check to outside the section-and-div block for {,inline}page.tmpl. --schmonz

+<a href="<TMPL_VAR ENCLOSURE>">Download this episode</a>

"Download this episode" is pretty specific to particular use cases. Can this be made more generic, perhaps just "Download"? --Joey

Yep, I got a little carried away. Done. --schmonz

-       <title><TMPL_VAR AUTHOR ESCAPE=HTML>: <TMPL_VAR TITLE></title>
-       <dcterms:creator><TMPL_VAR AUTHOR ESCAPE=HTML></dcterms:creator>

This change removes the author name from the title of the rss feed, which does not seem necessary for fancy podcasts. And it is a change that could negatively impact eg, Planet style aggregators using ikiwiki. --Joey

While comparing how feeds render in podcatchers, I noticed that RSS and Atom were inconsistent in a couple ways, of which this was one. The way I noticed it: with RSS, valuable title space was being spent to display the author. I figured Atom's display was the one worth matching. You're right, of course, that planets using the default template and somehow relying on the current author-in-the-title rendering for RSS feeds (but not Atom feeds!) would be broken by this change. I'm having trouble imagining exactly what would break, though, since guids and timestamps are unaffected. Would it suffice to provide a note in the changelog warning people to be careful upgrading their planets, and to customize rssitem.tmpl if they really prefer the old behavior (or don't want to take any chances)? --schmonz

A specific example I know of is, when used with rss2email. Without the author name there, one cannot see who posted an item. It's worth noting that does the same thing with its rss feed. (That's probably what I copied.) Atom feeds may not have this problem, don't know. --Joey

Okay, that's easy to reproduce. It looks like this might be a simple matter of getting [[!aggregate ]] to populate author in add_page(). I'll see what I can figure out. --schmonz

Yep, that was mostly it. If the feed entry defines an author, and the author is distinct from the feed name, we now show NAME: AUTHOR, else just show NAME (same as always). In addition, the W3 feed validator says <dcterms:creator> is invalid, so I replaced it with <dc:creator>, and all of a sudden r2e gives me better From: headers. With the latest on my branch, when I generate the same planet as updo and run r2e over it, the names I get in From: look like so:

  • "updo: Junio C Hamano"
  • "updo: Greg Kroah-Hartman"
  • "updo: Eric Raymond: esr" (article author != feed name, so we get both)
  • "updo: Jannis Pohlman: Jannis Pohlmann" (oops! I tweaked the real updo)


+++ b/templates/rsspage.tmpl
+   xmlns:atom=""
+<atom:link href="<TMPL_VAR FEEDURL>" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />

Why is it using atom namespace inside an rss feed? What are the chances every crummy rss reader on earth is going to understand this? I'd put it at about 0%; I doubt ikiwiki's own rss reader understands such a mashup. --Joey

The validator I used ( told me to. Pretty sure it doesn't make anything work better in the podcatchers I tried. Hadn't considered that it might break some readers. Removed. --schmonz


Does this added tag provide any benefits? --Joey

Consistency with the Atom feed, and of course it trumpets ikiwiki to software and/or curious humans who inspect their feeds. The tag arrived only in RSS 2.0, but that's already the version we're claiming to be, and it's over a decade old. Seems much less risky than the atom namespace bits. --schmonz

Sounds ok then. --Joey