In the last tip, we got into the markup that's required to create XML documents to use for podcasting, including the nearly ubiquitous iTunes namespace and related document elements one must use for best results on the Apple iTunes Music Store. In this current tip, we'll take a look at software that's related to podcasting and point out a few nonpareils to help those in search of a little information or inspiration in this area.
To begin with, it's wise to observe that there are many types of software that relate to podcasting:
1. Podcast creation: tools you can use to create the RSS feeds that contain the audio files that will be played back to broadcast to listeners on iPods and numerous other kinds of devices
2. Audio recording and editing: tools you can use to create the sound files that comprise actual podcast content, and to work on audio files for podcasts to edit for quality, content or to add music or other sounds as part of the final podcast content
3. Podcast download: tools you can use to manage downloads of podcast files and materials
4. Podcast clients: tools you can install on various types of platforms (not iPods) that enable podcast access and audition
For reasons of brevity and scope, we'll limit our coverage here to items 1 and 2 (those interested in other categories or related software will find good material at Web sites like podcasting-tools.com, podcastingnews.com or in numerous articles available at about.com). As you'll note when you read the various item descriptions, the various packages mentioned here don't always adhere strictly to these categories, so some of the podcast creation tools also include audio recording and editing tools as well.
Podcast creation tools
This an area where products abound, so don't be bashful about looking beyond the short list that we must perforce present here:
- FeedForAll (versions available for Windows and Macintosh operating systems) www.feedforall.com supports the full range of podcast creation and editing tasks, including creating iTunes compatible podcasts.
- Top-of-the-line RSS tools such as Blogger, Movable Type, WordPress and so forth increasingly include integrated podcasting tools as part of their general offerings, so don't overlook tools you may already own or be using as you conduct your search.
- Propaganda, made by MixMeister Technology (the same company that makes the MixMeister DJ software), is garnering rave reviews for its abilities at recording voice, mixing in music and sound effects, it generates a complete podcast that it can upload to a target Web site.
- Easypodcast is a GUI tool designed to support simple, straightforward podcast creation and publication that's available through sourceforge.net (another place worth searching for RSS and podcasting tools as well). www.easypodcast.com
Another area where options far outstrip space we have to report on them, so feel free to explore beyond these elements as well:
- Audacity is a free, open source package that works very well for recording and editing sound files for use in podcasts (or other purposes). It's available at audacity.sourceforge.net (it's what your author uses himself, when called upon to record voice material for podcast use).
- Singing Electrons Inc./Industrial Audio Software makes an excellent package called ePodcast Creator that permits its users to record voice files, assemble and edit sound files, and to create, validate and upload podcast files for publication or syndication. Visit www.industrialaudiosoftware.com for more information (this package retails in various forms from about $40 to $200).
- SoniClear SalesVoice from Trio Systems is the successor to SoniClear RecorderPro and provides audio capture, editing and enhancement tools to create professional quality MP3 voice recordings for voiceovers, PowerPoint presentation audio tracks and, of course, podcasts. Prices range from $195 for two floating licenses to $475 for five floating licenses.
Whatever your needs or your preferences might be, those and your budget can help you zero in on a podcasting toolset to follow suit. By digging into the aforementioned items, or exploring some of the resource sites we mention, you should be able to find exactly what you need.
About the authorEd Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. Among his many XML projects are XML For Dummies, 4th edition, (Wylie, 2005) and the Shaum's Easy Outline of XML (McGraw-Hill, 2004). E-mail Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools for review.