cron script to download podcasts
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CHANGELOG.TXT
README.md
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w98podfetch.pl

README.md

What is w98podfetch?

w98podfetch is a Perl script I wrote in 2005 that will manage and download podcast subscriptions. It is designed to be simple enough to run at the command line or via a cron job. If you have no idea what "command line" or "cron job" means or don't use Linux, this application is probably too advanced for you unless I convince myself to write a graphical interface for Xwindows or MS Windows.

But if you're advanced enough to use Perl under Windows (using ActiveState/ActivePerl) then you can set w98podfetch as a system service to schedule downloads.

What are some features of w98podfetch?

  • online podcast subscription list (to be released with v0.6) so you don't have to mess with the XML configurations if you don't want to
  • download a subscription in newest-to-oldest or oldest-to-newest publication date order (handy for podcast series and audiobooks)
  • download a subscription in smallest-to-biggest or biggest-to-smallest filesize order
  • add limitations to stop downloading a subscription feed after a number of files, or before a certain byte count would be exceeded.
  • set a cut-off date so podcast files older than a certain date will never be downloaded

Sounds neat, where can I get a copy of w98podfetch?

The latest version (v0.61) can be found on GitHub.

What is the "w98podfetch online" service that I've read about?

w98podfetch online was an online service I created to let users of w98podfetch share their podcast lists with others. Users were able to build a public list of favorite podcasts, and then give that list a name. Then, by sharing that list with other w98podfetch users, they can enjoy the same podcasts you listen to!

The search engine was pretty robust, but I no longer maintain that site any longer.

You said the software does this but it does that instead, how come?

If the software does something differently than I claim it should, then you've probably found a bug. Please contact me with as much information as you can, and include what Operating System you use (Ubuntu Linux, Debian Linux, Mac OS X, Windows XP SP2, and so on), and please let me know which version of w98podfetch you're using.

I thought of a really great feature to include in w98podfetch! How do I let you know?

Open an issue at GitHub or better yet make a pull request.

I'm having trouble getting the software to run, but I don't think it's a bug. How do I get technical support for this software?

You can open an issue on GitHub, but I'm not likely to fix it.

Is there a log of changes between versions?

For versions between 0.v50 and 0.60, the best history will be the SourceForge CVS history, as there is no "changelog" file included in the tarball (yet). From v0.61 on, I will be including a CHANGELOG.txt file, outlining and detailing in there what has changed between the versions.

Any known issues?

Nothing major, but no software is perfect. And I've only tested the code on Gentoo 2005 Linux, and Ubuntu 5.10 and 7.04. I've also received instructions from one user named Mike who set up w98podfetch on his Windows XP machine to run as a "service", and I've outlined his instructions in the latest README to give him credit for his help.


below is the original README.txt that was included in the download

README - w98podfetch v0.60 2005-11-04, Ian Douglas ian.douglas@iandouglas.com, iandouglas736@gmail.com

#[[[ TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Introduction
  • Contact/Support/Requests
  • Requirements
  • Installation
  • Run-Time Options
  • Configuration
  • Logging
  • Future Plans
  • Known Bugs
  • Thanks

Note: I use 'vim' pretty much exclusively for all of my programming needs. 'vim' has a great feature to collapse sections of a document, and I use markers made up of three left-square-brackets and three right-square-brackets ('[' and ']' respectively). You'll see them here in this document as well as the script itself to help me organize and collapse areas of what I'm working on. They can be safely removed if they're too annoying for you.

INTRODUCTION:

This script is released as freeware to use/modify/copy/distribute any way you like as long as you give credit where it's due and understand that I provide absolutely NO warranty or guarantee whatsoever regarding this script or its use. This script is offered free of charge, and may not be sold for profit under any circumstances whatsoever.

w98podfetch is a two-piece software/service bundle.

The Perl script, w98podfetch.pl, is a podcast 'aggregator', which means it will check podcast subscriptions and download new published files for you. It does this using an XML-based configuration file which describes disk path information for where to put downloaded files, log files, and which podcasts you want to subscribe to. Written in Perl, it should work fine on any operating system that can interpret and run Perl scripts, including Windows, although no Windows testing has been done.

'w98podfetch online' is a web site at http://w98podfetch.w98.us/ (or http://w98.us/w98podfetch/) which I set up with the initial intent of just being a place where you could type in some values and it would generate a configuration file to save to your system. It expanded into a service which will store podcast information as well as let you build a list of your favorite podcasts and in conjunction with the Perl script, allow you to share that podcast list with other friends. For example, you could set up a list of your favorite technical podcasts and save it as 'technews', then your friends or coworkers could also use the Perl script to download that same list of podcasts.

This README file mostly describes the Perl script and how to manually build the XML configuration file or to use the online service to download podcast lists on the fly.

CONTACT/SUPPORT/REQUESTS:

If you use w98podfetch, I'd love to hear from you, drop me an email and include your city, state and country.

The web site has links to SourceForge where I have a public CVS repository set up, and also for forums and bug tracking as well as feature requests. You can feel free to Email them to me as well, but I'd prefer using SourceForge for the time being.

If you care to donate to me via PayPal for the script (NOT mandatory, this script will always be free to use), contact me for my PayPal info.

If you send me an Email for help using the script, please include a valid return Email address, which version of the script you downloaded, any changes you've made to it, attach your complete configuration file, and let me know what errors (if any) you see on your screen. I may ask you to send me a copy of the script. I will provide minimal support where requested but if support issues become excessive, I may ask for a PayPal donation to cover my time.

REQUIREMENTS:

I've written and tested this script pretty much exclusively under Linux, and have had some documentation sent to me on how to run w98podfetch as a service in Windows, which I've included here.

What you'll need are the following:

  • Perl 5.6 or better, usually installed with common Linux distributions
  • unix2dos
    This is used to convert m3u files from Unix format to DOS format so MP3 players understand them properly.
  • The following Perl libraries:
    • XML::Simple
    • Getopt::Long
    • HTTP::Request::Common
    • LWP::UserAgent
    • Date::Manip
    • String::Scanf

You can use Perl's CPAN interface or 'ppm' for ActivePerl to download these libraries.

How and where to find these and successfully install them are beyond the scope of this document or my ability to support but if you're really stuck, send me an Email.

I received an Email from 'Mike' at my gmail account that he was able to get w98podfetch working in a Windows environment:

I'm using it under Windows 2000 running every day in the Task Scheduler.
I have installed ActivePerl. Downloaded additional perl modules. Set the 
environment variable TZ to EST: "SET TZ=EST". And got it working in "per 
podcast" mode.'

Mike also suggested some changes, and I fixed a bug so it would run on Windows in "date-today" mode where a new folder would be generated for every date you start running the script.

If anyone else manages to get this script working under a non-Linux environment using these Perl libraries, please drop me a line at the Email address at the top of this README file and I'll be sure to include a note in future releases.

INSTALLATION:

You can save this script wherever you have permission to write files. If you're working in a Linux/Unix environment, you will need to make the script executable using the 'chmod' utility, usually something like this will do:
chmod +x w98podfetch.pl
or
chmod 775 w98podfetch.pl

The beauty of being written as a command-line tool is that the script could be run by 'cron' (a background task scheduler on Linux/Unix) or run manually.

The software will search for a configuration file and fail if it doesn't find anything. Currently, it looks for files in this order:
~/.w98podfetch/config.xml

This would be a directory named '.w98podfetch' (notice the dot at the beginning) in your home folder, and the config.xml file copied inside there. This will allow each user on the system to use a personalized confguration file.

/etc/w98podfetch.xml This would be more of a 'global' place to put it if you didn't want to clutter up your home folder with hidden-dotted directories. Every user on your system will use this file if they don't have a the config file mentioned above.

/opt/w98podfetch/config.xml This conforms to a better representation of a global configuration for your system, if you're the only one on the system.

Note that I have NO idea where I'd tell the script to find a configuration file under a non-Linux/non-Unix operating system, so you can use the --config command-line switch to indicate where you want the software to find your configuration.

Copy the config.xml.sample file to one of the three locations listed above, or you can use the --config command line switch to point to a different location. For example, if you copy config.xml.sample to /tmp/podcast.xml then you would run the script as:
/path/to/w98podfetch.pl --config=/tmp/podcast.xml

RUN-TIME OPTIONS

w98podfetch has a number of command line switches that you can use that will modify how the script operates. Some switches require extra information, some just set internal flags.

--verbose This switch will turn on extra output to your terminal/console and provide a lot of extra detail you wouldn't otherwise see. When submitting a bug report, I may ask you to do a 'verbose' output and send the text to me in an Email for debugging.
This can also be written as a shortened command: -v

--config As mentioned above, the --config setting indicates to the script where to find your configuration file. The option requires an extra string of information, which is either a disk path to the configuration file on your system, or the name of a preconfigured podcast list on the 'online' service. To use the 'online' service, you must also include the --email option.
The shortened version of this command is -c

--email To use the 'online' version of w98podfetch, where podcast lists can be downloaded on-the-fly, you must register a (free) account at the web site (http://w98podfetch.w98.us/) and use this option to pass the Email address as an extra string of information.
The shortened version of this command is -e

--listpasswd Some users on the 'online' service will generate a 'private' list of podcasts, and have the option of password-protecting the list. In this case, you will be notified that the list you're trying to download with the --config option requires a password, so you must use the --listpasswd option to pass that string to the 'online' server.
The shortened version of this command is -l

--help This command simply prints a simple help screen to the terminal/console to give you a brief recap of this information.

--debug This will output LOTS of debugging information. Use it with the --verbose command.

--onepodcast=feedname This will let you download a single podcast feed, by passing a case- insensitive feedname from the configuration.

Note that the --config, --email, and --listpasswd switches all use an equal sign when used in long form (--config=/path/to/file) but do NOT use an equal sign when used in the shortened form (-c /path/to/file). You can also mix and match when to use the long option name or the short option name, the script is smart enough to figure out what you mean.

Examples:

  1. You have a config.xml file in a folder called .w98podfetch in your home directory (one of the default paths), and you just want to run the script using that configuration: w98podfetch.pl

  2. You have downloaded or built a configuration script called "blah.xml" in your /tmp/ folder, and want to use that configuration in verbose mode: w98podfetch.pl --config=/tmp/blah.xml
    or
    w98podfetch.pl -c /tmp/blah.xml

  3. You have registered for a free account with the 'online' service, and want to download a configuration for Scott Sigler's podcast novels called 'scottsigler' (an actual public list on the 'online' service that I personally created. Assume that your Email address is joesmith@gmail.com and that there is no list password: w98podfetch.pl --email=joesmith@gmail.com --config=scottsigler
    or
    w98podfetch.pl -e joesmith@gmail.com -c scottsigler

  4. You have registered as joesmith@gmail.com, and want to download an online podcast list called 'linuxgeek' that has a list password of 'penguin' and want to run in verbose mode: w98podfetch.pl -e joesmith@gmail.com -c linuxgeek --listpasswd=penguin -v
    or
    w98podfetch.pl -e joesmith@gmail.com -c linuxgeek -l penguinjunkie -v

  5. If you have a podcast with a feedname of "mypodcast" and want to download ONLY that podcast like this:
    w98podfetch.pl --onepodcast=mypodcast
    or
    w98podfetch.pl -o mypodcast

CONFIGURATION:

In order to have w98podfetch.pl execute correctly, it needs to have an XML configuration file indicating things like disk paths.

It's a little beyond the scope of this documentation to teach new users how to write proper XML, so if you have difficulty reading the rest of the Configuration documentation, I recommend that you sign up (for free) at the 'online' service at http://w98podfetch.w98.us/ ... there, you can simply type in the disk paths of where you want your files stored, and then when you're ready to run the script, just pass the registered Email address to the --email option and set the --config option to the podcast list you want to download. And because you're a registered user, if you find another list you want too, just rerun the application with the other list name(s), and your registration details will automatically be sent to w98podfetch.pl for each podcast list.

The heart of w98podfetch.pl is a well-built configuration file. A single syntax error in the config file can ruin your experience, and I'm already envisioning supporting people who don't understand XML, but that's the hole I've dug for myself and why I've created the 'online' interface.

To get started, use the config.xml.sample file as a basis for what you want to do. Most people will simply need to change the disk paths at the beginning of the file, and copy-and-paste the the <feed></feed> blocks for new subscriptions and modify the internal pieces.

I'LL MENTION IT AGAIN: if you're not familiar with writing XML, it's probably best if you register for the 'online' service and use the files it produces for you. It will save you a lot of grief, and will save me some time from having to explain how to write XML.

If you're really a do-it-yourself type of person, you can read more about writing XML at various web sites out there. Simply google for "how to write XML" and you'll see sites like this that look pretty good:

http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/LearnXML/XMLSyntaxes.asp

Note: I do not necessarily endorse that site or its content, it's just offered as an example of an XML tutorial.

There are PLENTY of books out there on how to write XML, such as the "XML Bible" found at http://www.ibiblio.org/xml/books/bible/

Back to the configuration:

There are two portions of the configuration file, the 'base' configuration and a series of 'feed' configurations. I'm explaining everything in this file so I don't clutter up the configuration file with a bunch of message <!-- --> comment markers (which still need to get parsed by the script).

Base Configuration

Everything NOT in the <subscriptions></subscriptions> block is used for running the script. Generally speaking, you should only need to change a few disk paths for where you want the podcasts downloaded to, and the application will default to taking care of a lot of other details on your behalf.

<basedir></basedir>

This is the base directory for where you want your podcasts to be downloaded to. You must have read and write permissions on this folder. THE SCRIPT WILL NOT OPERATE IF THIS OPTION IS NOT SET! This folder name should be written as /home/joe or /home/joe/ - I have not tested the script with relative paths like "../joe" so don't bug me for support if you try it and the script fails.

Example:
<basedir>/home/joe/</basedir>

<makefolders></makefolders>

'makefolders' instructs the application how to build folders within 'basedir' for each podcast file that gets downloaded. Personally, I find it easier to sort my podcasts into grouped folders, but wanted to give everyone the flexibility of their own taste. BashPodder, which influenced this application, built a new folder every day that their script was run and all podcast files downloaded that day were placed into that single folder.

I give three options for how to create folders: create a folder based on the podcast feed configuration ('per podcast'), build a single folder for the day the application is run and put all files in that folder ('date-today') or to create a new folder based on the publication date of every podcast file ('date-all'). NOTE: the 'date-all' option has not been tested, but should work okay, but has the potential of generating a LOT of folders. I may drop this third feature ('date-all') completely as I see less and less use for it now that I've built in m3u generation.

Any folders created will be appended to 'basedir'

per podcast will make a folder for each podcast using its 'foldername' attribute and put each downloaded file into that respective folder and is the default option if 'makefolders' is not set at all.

example: (these three examples are treated equal to 'per podcast')

  • <makefolders>per podcast</makefolders>
  • <makefolders></makefolders>
  • <makefolders />

date-today will make a folder with today's date and download all files into that folder.

example:

  • <makefolders>date-today</makefolders>

date-all will make a folder for every publication date of every downloaded file For example, if 'basedir' is set to '/home/joe/', and 'makefolders' is set to 'date-today', a folder will be created every day this script is run, and will create a folder such as '/home/joe/2005-10-20/' when run on October 20, 2005.

example:

  • <makefolders>date-all</makefolders>

<download order="" limit="" />

This tagset determines which order to fetch podcast files ('newest' or 'oldest' first) and if/when to halt any podcast fetching based on a limitation imposed.

The 'order' attribute is either 'newest' or 'oldest' and will check the 'pubDate' tag for each item or enclosure in the podcast feed to determine which order to actually download the files. If the feed does not have any pubDate listed in the <item> heirarchy at all, today's date is injected and the oldest/newest flag is ignored for that feed.

The 'limit' attribute sets a preset limitation for any podcasts that do not already set their own limitation. For example, if the base configuration 'limit' is set to '3 files', each time the application is run, each podcast feed will attempt to download 3 files assuming 3 files are available. This assumes that none of your podcast feeds override the limit.

There are two types of limitations you can set: file count, or byte count.

If your 'limit' specifies a number of files to download ("1 file", "3 files" etc), each podcast you are subscribed to will attempt to download that quantity of files each time the application is executed. For example, if you want each podcast to download a maximum of 2 files, regardless of file size, you would set limit="2 files" as the attribute. The application logic will determine the difference between singular and plural grammar, such as "1 file" or "2 files".

If you would rather halt a podcast from downloading a huge amount of data, you can halt a download before fetching a specific quantity of bytes (useful if your bandwidth is slow). The byte count will recognize the common file sizes of "KB", "MB" or "GB". Using "KB" likely won't be very useful, since most podcast files in my experience so far are much larger than a kilobyte setting would allow unless your subscription is for podcast files shorter than about a minute each. For example, you could set the limit like limit="50 MB" - this would tell the application to stop downloading files from a subscription from downloading any more files if the 'next' file to download would exceed a total of 50MB of data from that subscription. The application will check ahead for the next file to download, and if it will exceed this byte count, that file will not be downloaded. The logic of the application will determine the difference between "50MB" and "50 MB" as being a 50-megabyte download cap.

If you want to just download EVERY available podcast file for every subscription feed, you can set the limit attribute to 'all', 'unlimited' or leave it blank.

Example: impose a global setting for each podcast where oldest files should be downloaded first and that the application should attempt to download a maximum of 2 files per subscription:

<download order="oldest" limit="2 files">

Example: impose a global setting for each podcast where newest files should be downloaded first and that the application should stop downloading files if the next file fetched would exceed 25MB for this feed:

<download order="oldest" limit="25 MB">

Example: impose a global setting for each podcast where newest files should be downloaded first, and that the application should attempt to download every file available in a subscription: (all three lines are the equivalent of downloading all files)

  • <download order="oldest" limit="all" />
  • <download order="oldest" limit="unlimited" />
  • <download order="oldest" limit="" />

PLEASE NOTE: the 'limit' attribute of the base configuration is not a cumulative limitation. I do have a future plan of a total cumulative download cap where you could specify "10 files" and the application will stop running once 10 total files have been downloaded from all of the podcasts.

<m3upath></m3upath>

If <makefolders> is set to "per podcast", an M3U playlist will be created inside the folder setting in <basedir> named as "podcast-YYYY-MM-DD.m3u". The 'm3upath' tag is a non-relative path which your MP3 player will use to start getting at podcast downloads that will be written as a standard M3U playlist file. For example, I mount my iRiver H320 as /usb/podcast on my linux workstation which means that I download my files into folders like /usb/podcast/Music and /usb/podcast/Tech and /usb/podcast/News However, my iRiver cannot understand the 'usb' portion of the filename, therefore its 'base' directory is only '/podcast/', so I can set that value here.

If you are using a program like XMMS or WinAmp, you can probably set 'm3upath' to the same path as 'basedir'.

Note as well that standard M3U playlists will use a backslash '' character

using the '/' character. The application will convert all '/' characters in the filename to '' when writing to the M3U playlist file. Also, the standard file format is to use DOS-compatible carriage returns and line feeds, so the utility 'unix2dos' is used to convert the file.

The M3U file is written to after every individual file download, so if an error occurs or you manually stop the application from running, the M3U file will contain the last files you downloaded.

The application will also re-open the M3U file created 'today' and keep appending podcast files to that same file. So if you run the application at 7am and download 10 files, and run it again at 5pm and download another 15 files, all 25 files will be in the same M3U file.

<cutoffdate>YYYY-MM-DD</cutoffdate>

If 'cutoffdate' contains a valid date string (preferably in YYYY-MM-DD format, but really, any date string that can be parsed by the Date::Manip library function "ParseDateString" will work including cool things like:

  • YYYYMMDDHHMNSS
  • YYYYMMDDHHMNSS
  • YYYYMMDDHHMN
  • YYYYMMDDHH
  • YY-MMDDHHMNSS
  • YY-MMDDHHMN
  • YY-MMDDHH
  • YYYYMMDD
  • YYYYMM
  • YYYY
  • YY-MMDD
  • etc, with or without dashes, it does its best to figure it all out.

However, the Date::Manip library is even cooler in that it will figure out "today's" date, and let you use relative strings like this:

  • "last Friday"
  • "2 weeks ago Friday"
  • "last day of September"
  • "first Sunday in June 2004"

Check the 'man' page on Date::Manip for ParseDateString to see exactly how it all works, but I personally recommend setting the date string to YYYY-MM-DD format for simplicity.

In verbose mode (use the --verbose or -v command line option) you sill get a printout of which url's are too old and thus skipped)

Subscription Configuration

This is where you define each podcast subscription. The XML block between which you define every feed is named <subscription></subscription>. Each individual podcast feed is encapsulated between <feed></feed> tags. Essentially, this portion of your XML file looks like this:

<subscriptions>
	<feed feedname="" url="">
		...
	</feed>
	<feed feedname="" url="">
		...
	</feed>
</subscriptions>

Notice that the 'subscriptions' tag set contains everything else in between. Likewise, the 'feed' tag set will contain (encapsulate) everything else in between as well.

<feed feedname="" foldername="" url="">

Each feed is defined with the following attributes:

"feedname"

This is a unique name that will be used to create a separate folder for downloading new podcasts for this feed. It will be appended to 'basedir' from the basic configuration and should not contain relative links. For example, if 'basedir' is set to '/home/joe/' and 'foldername' for this feed is set to 'diggnation', the script will create '/home/joe/diggnation' and will place new podcast files inside that folder. Note that this feature is only used if 'folders' from the base configuration is set to 'per podcast'. This value will also store the string into $name for use with 'newformat', as decribed below. Note that duplicating the 'name' attribute for any podcast will result in the script overwriting any previous definitions with whatever is found later in the config file.

"foldername"

The foldername is used to write podcast downloads into a foldername which is created as part of 'basedir' (defined in the Base Configuration). The foldername value does not have to be unique. For example, if you download a number of podcasts that are technology related, you can set your foldername value to 'Tech' for all of those podcasts, and all of the files from those podcast subscriptions will be written into the same folder. Note that this attribute is ONLY used if 'makefolders' in the Base Configuration is set to 'per podcast'.

"url"

This is a string value containing the fully-qualified url of the xml subscription RSS or XML feed to parse. This URL must point to a valid XML compliant i(preferably iTunes compatible) subscription feed, no exceptions.

Example: <feed ... url="http://mdattilo.audioblog.com/rss/tih.xml">

Keep in mind that because the configuration file is written in XML and parsed using XML::Simple, you may need to tweak your subscription feed if it contains special characters. The feed name must conform to XML standards. For example, a feed like this:

http://www.blah.com/feed/podcast.xml?a=123&b=234

... would be invalid, because '&' is a reserved character in XML. You would have to tweak the URL to replace '&' with '&' like this:

http://www.blah.com/feed/podcast.xml?a=123&amp;b=234

This is fairly uncommon in the podcasts feeds I'm seeing so far, but it was worth mentioning just in case.

Note: to ensure proper directory naming across all platforms, I currently strip all whitespace, and non-numeric and non-alphabetic characters from the 'feedname' value. For example, "Music News" would be renamed to "MusicNews" and "Tech Update @ 10pm" would be renamed to "TechUpdate10pm".

<rename oldformat="" newformat="" />

The application will examine 'oldformat' and 'newformat' to determine whether to change the name of a file after it has been downloaded. If you find that podcast files are named things like "show4.mp3" or "05-2005-10-27.mp3" which are pretty ambiguous at first glance, you may consider using the renaming feature of the application to make the filenames more friendly.

If 'oldformat' is not empty, 'newformat' must not be empty. Likewise, if 'oldformat' is empty, 'newformat' is ignored.

'oldformat' will allow you to strip out known items from the filename in order to rename the file. This is done by using printf/scanf elements, such as '%s' for strings, and '%d' for numbers to extract the elements from the old filename. Once elements are extracted, 'newformat' will plug those pieces back into a new filename using $1 for the first element extracted, $2 for the second element, and so on in left-to-right order. Note that you don't need to use any extracted piece, it's simply there to pull known data out of a filename.

I built in some reserved 'newformat' tags to use:

  • $name
    this value gets filled in using the 'feedname' attribute from the <feed> tag

  • $date
    this value gets filled in with 'YYYY-MM-DD' of the publication date of the downloaded file; if a pubDate element isn't found in the subscription feed, today's date is used instead.

  • $datetime
    this value gets filled in as above but as 'YYYY-MM-DD HHMM' to include the 24-hour clock time of the publication - handy if a podcast has multiple files published on the same day.

  • $ext
    this value is filled in with the file extension of the original downloaded file. I didn't want to assume that every podcast feed uses MP3 files, so this will let you download MP3's, OGG's, torrents, PDF files, etc. without worrying about renaming the file and messing up the file extension.

  • Example: This 'tech geek' podcast always names their file show1.mp3, show2.mp3, show3.mp3, etc. and we want to rename it to something easier to understand:

<feed feedname="TechGeek" foldername="Tech" url="http://blah.com/rss">
	<rename oldformat="show%d.mp3" newformat="$name-show $1.mp3" />
	<download order="newest" limit="">
</feed>
  • This will help the script to strip the numeric value out of the filename by using the '%d' marker, and fills in that number into the $1 value in the 'newformat' attribute. This example assumes that every podcast file from this feed is an MP3 file. The new filename will look something like "TechGeek-show 3.mp3"
  • This example will also move all downloaded files into a folder called 'Tech' and will use the global download limits from the base configuration.
  • Example: This 'money news' podcast always names their files like "10-18-2005-Episode12-InterviewWithJoeTaxman.mp3" or "10-19-2005-Episode13-UsefulInvestingInfo.pdf" and we want to make the files easier to understand at a glance:
<feed feedname="MoneyNews" foldername="Finances" url="http://money.org/rss">
  <rename oldformat="%d-%d-%d-Episode%d-%s.%s" newformat="$name-$date,$4.$ext" />
</feed>
  • This will help the script to strip the date into individual pieces, episode number, and subsequent string description, as well as the file extension. The new filename would look something like "MoneyNews-2005-10-17,InterviewWithJowTaxman.mp3" or "MoneyNews-2005-10-18,UsefulInvestingInfo.pdf". Note that in this example, we could have used $6 for the file extension, but we used the reserved $ext value instead.

Note that the oldformat string can simply be "%s" if you want to prefix the filename with the feedname or publication date of the file. For example, if a podcast has a nicely formatted filename of "Episode 18.mp3" and you simply want to prefix the filename with the name of the podcast, you could use something like this:

<feed feedname="New Music" foldername="Music" url="http://music.net/podcast">
  <rename oldformat="%s" newformat="$name, $1" />

This will take the entire filename, including the file extension, and use it as $1 in the newformat string. We prefix the filename, then, with the feedname, so the new filename would look like "NewMusic, Episode 18.mp3"

<download order="" limit="" skipold="" />

The 'order' attribute works the same was as the base configuration, and is given here as an override for each individual feed. For example, the base configuration may be set so the 'order' is 'newest' (which makes sense, you typically want to download newer podcasts), but maybe a feed you want to add is a podcast novel, and you want to download older files (earlier chapters) first. Remember, if no publication date is given for a podcast file, today's date is used as the publication date, and that could mess up the ordering of the files when sorting in oldest/newest modes.

  • Example: <download order="oldest" ... />

The 'limit' attribute works just like the base configuration limit flag. However, in this case, you could leave the 'base' configuration to a blank string (unlimited mode), but place a limit on this particular feed, to only get a single file by setting this feed's limit value to limit="1 file". The logic of the application will detect the grammar difference between "1 file" and "2 files" (plural), and can also contain common disk sizes like "MB" for megabyte just as the base configuration is used. The opposite works too: if your base configuration is set to only download one new file each time the application is run, but you know that this podcast contains many small files to download, you could set this feed to limit="unlimited" to download all available podcasts for this feed only.

The 'skipold' feature will pay attention to whether 'cutoffdate' is set in the base configuration. If the base configuration is set to, say "2005-10-01" (October 1st, 2005), then this flag will determine whether to skip any files in the data feed that have a publication date (pubDate) older than that date and whether or not to skip that older file. For example, you could set 'cutoffdate' to "last Saturday" so only new podcasts this week will get downloaded. But say you just added a new subscription, and you want to get a backlog of podcasts - simply set "skipold" to "no" and the application will fetch older files for you.

LOGGING

A log file for each podcast feed is kept in the destination folder when running with the base configuration of makefolders="per podcast".

The application, because of the renaming features, will look at both a log of URL's it has previously downloaded as well as existing filenames (in case the files have NOT been renamed) to determine whether a file has already been downloaded so it is not downloaded again and again every time you run the application.

If a file is skipped, it is not counted toward the 'limit' set - the file counter will be decreased by one, and the byte size of the file is not added to the running total for accurate processing.

For example, if a podcast feed has a limit of "3 files", and the first file in the podcast was downloaded previously, that first file will not count towards the limit of three files, and the next three files will be fetched.

If your base configuration builds a date-related filename (date-today or date-all), no log file will be stored, and no file detection will be done. This is a current limitation on the application that I hope to fix at some point in the future.

FUTURE PLANS

Future plans, feature requests, etc., can be found at http://iandouglas.com Feel free to submit feature requests in the forums or Mantis bug tracker at my site.

More command-line options. I'd love a cmdline option for just checking the configuration file for completeness, and maybe checking that each podcast URL is valid (and downloadable)

KNOWN BUGS

No software is perfect. If you find a bug, or more importantly a podcast feed that doesn't work with the software, PLEASE submit a bug report through the w98podfetch web site.

THANKS

Thanks to my wife for putting up with my geek tendancies which flare up from time to time unexpectedly and I spend hours and hours working on something like this.

Thanks to my buddy Jorge (jorgev.com) for getting me hooked on In-n-Out burgers, yellowtail, and podcasts. And Everquest, and World of Warcraft, and trips to San Diego, and geeking out, and ...

Thanks to those at http://mantis.iandouglas.com/ who are submitting bugs and ideas to make the script better.

And, speaking of giving credit where it's due:

This script was a major rewrite of bashpodder which is a bash shell script found at http://bashpodder.sourceforge.net/

When I saw the limitations of bashpodder and the flexibility I knew I could write into it, I decided to write a similar script from scratch using Perl to download and manage my podcast collection.

Credit and kudos to the guys that wrote that script, and to some of their contributors from whom I've borrowed ideas. Thanks for making your application open-source and free to download.