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All the Great Podcasts – Podcast Discovery Site & Feed

Ah, July, high-water mark for vacations, so it’s the perfect time to work on personal, side-projects.  This project is one of those.

I am a podcast fan and one of the things I struggle with is finding new podcasts to listen to.  One of the big parts of the problem is knowing what episode(s) to listen to.  With some podcasts having over 500 episodes, where does one start?  And, if I just want to get a feel for what it is like, which one episode is not only good, but would also give me a feel for the show as a whole?

My thought was that podcasting needs a filter.  It needs a place where people can go and listen to the good stuff, without wasting a lot of time listening to episodes that aren’t truly great.  This is where the idea for All the Great Podcasts was born.

This project was a technically-challenging one.  I knew I wanted to use WordPress to build it and I knew that two features were really important to me, namely linking to the original media file and having a working (iTunes-compatible) podcast feed of all episodes, updated as they are added to the site.

It was important to me to link to the original media file because I did not want to store/serve media files (that is, I wanted to get away without using a CDN or having way bigger bandwidth numbers) and I wanted the original content creators to have solid download metrics on their media files (since this is how many establish advertising rates).

I wanted to build a feed to allow people to subscribe and listen to “All the Great Podcasts” in their podcast player of choice.  Getting the RSS working was tricky, as was creating a form where visitors could add new episodes to the site.

All and all, this project was a blast to work on, just the right mix of challenge and building something cool I care about and want to see in the world.  The site is meant to be a minimally-viable product (MVP), and even though there are features I would love to add (namely, iTunes API integration), I am pretty pleased with how this turned out.  It is a pretty solid validation of the original concept, IMO, that due to it being about the simplest form of the idea I had, was still pretty quick to build.

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