You are here

Drupal Wishlist #3: Creating XML/RSS enclosures in Drupal

Submitted by admin on Tue, 11/23/2004 - 17:18

"Podcasting" (a.k.a. Personal Option digital, a.k.a. audio blogging) is to radio and other multimedia as blogging is to text. It would be a simple matter to enable Drupal to play a role in this exploding desktop audio publishing phenomenon.

A few years ago nobody really even knew what blogging was. Today, it is shaking the foundations of political mobilisation and is front and center in our public discourse. While from a technical standpoint blogs are difficult to distinguish from traditional CMSs used to generate dynamic web sites, the technological and social momentum of the blogging phenomenon is undeniable.

At its heart, blogging is based on simple RSS/XML technology that allows for the distribution and aggregation of content to be automated. Content consumers get tools to help them deal with information overload, and content produces get mechanisms to help them distribute it. More significantly, there is no structural distinction between content consumers and producers, and the viral distribution model emodied in RSS/XML favors self-forming and managing communities.

The RSS 2.0 specification allows for the RSS/XML feeds to contain "enclosures", which are simple XML code elements that point to downloadable files on the net.

It was just a matter of time before somebody developed a client side piece of software that identifies and downloads audio content referrenced in the RSS v2 feeds, and then creates playlists for Windows Media Player, iTunes and other audio players (I use iPodder). It wasn't long before this "Podcasting" phenomenon was on fire.

The use of these enclosures promises to dramatically facilitate distribution and aggregation of multimedia content. People will be able to customise and control and comment on the audio content passing through their blogs the same way that they currently do with text.

In Drupal it is possible to attach/associate files to nodes. How difficult could it be to generating RSS/XML feeds with enclosures that point to these attached files?

This would be a simple and yet powerful addition to the Drupal feature set that I think would have positive viral reprocussions inside and outside the Drupal community.

Again, I welcome any advice, feedback and/or offers of help.

All my categories: