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🚀 Castopod Host alpha.42 - To the fediverse and beyond!

Castopod Host is now part of the fediverse! Share news about your podcast, episodes and interact with your followers from Mastodon, GNU social, Pleroma and many more!

Yassine Doghri
Yassine Doghri

TL;DR

  • Castopod Host joins the fediverse: you don't have to give up your audience to a third-party platform anymore, your podcast becomes your social network! Interact with users from Mastodon, GNU social, Pleroma and many more!
  • The user interface has been completely revamped: new colors, fonts, icons, and layout for a better experience.
  • New publication flow: publish your episode to your RSS subscribers as well as your fediverse followers.

You can get the latest release here and install it in 5 minutes!


Remember when you could subscribe to your favourite blogger and get updates as soon as they’d release an article?

I don’t, I was around 10 years old at that time. 🙃

There was this weird "web 2.0" craze in the early 2000, where cool people used RSS to subscribe to news feeds.

Well, the mainstream social media we know now swept it out a few years later. In this time of age, nobody knows about the mystical technology that is RSS.

Actually, nobody except… podcasters, who haven’t gave up on it yet!

The Podcasting universe

Podcast is a decentralized medium, and one of which has survived the tsunami of centralized solutions that popped out altogether. The podcaster remains the sole proprietor of its content as it is broadcasted on the web using RSS.

It hasn’t evolved much for two decades. Though, the last year or so has been rather hectic for the podcasting world. New listeners and podcast creators are tuning in every day!

~ I wonder what changed… 🤔 ~

As demand grows, podcast stakeholders are working actively to enhance both podcasters and listeners experiences.

The podcast-index/namespace project is a great example. It introduces new tags to the old and rusty RSS specification. As a matter of fact, if you didn’t know, you can already include new features to your podcast:

You may do that on your Castopod Host instance, or any of the other platforms which are joining the movement.

That being said, RSS doesn't come without its limits. One of which is direct interaction with your listeners. You usually have to point them to an external social media page or an email address to get feedback on your show. All of which can be confusing at times.

Furthermore, this implies you surrendering your audience to a third-party platform you have close to no control on…

What if I tell you that you won't have to do that anymore? What if there exists a better way to interact with your audience?

The Fediverse

The fediverse is a decentralized and federated network of websites than can communicate with each other.

With well defined protocols, users can interact by sharing, favouriting each other’s content, and much more without belonging to the same website!

These solutions are free and open-source like Castopod, you may have heard about some of them:

What's really cool about fediverse, is that with a single account from one of these platforms, you can access the content of any other one. 🤯

What's also really cool, is that the evolving features surrounding podcast feeds and the new form of federated & decentralized social media that constitutes the fediverse are coming together.

Castopod Host is now part of the fediverse! Share news about your podcast, episodes and interact with your followers from Mastodon, GNU social, Pleroma and many more!


What’s new in alpha.42?

Now that you've endured my long monologue about the state of podcast and the fediverse, let's dive into the new possibilities we're introducing in the alpha 42.

Child Link opening a chest

For you to interact easily with your audience accross the fediverse, significant changes had to be made to the user interface and the flow of publication on Castopod Host.

✨ A fresh new look

Castopod Host is now essentially a self-hosted and federated social network for podcasting. With new colors, icons, fonts, and layout, the user interface has been completely revamped to welcome those changes!

activity-feed

The homepage of your podcast is now an activity feed with the notes you have published. The information on your podcast remains on all the public pages.

podcast-episodes-list

After reading on the latest news from your podcast, your listener can navigate to the second tab to discover the episodes.

podcast-episode

The episode page now contains the activity feed for the episode in question.

🔀 A better flow for publication

When creating a new episode for your podcast, you now need to explicitly publish it:

publish-episode-with-note

Upon publication, you are prompted to write a note for your activity feed and can choose to publish instantly or schedule it for a future date.

The episode and note will be broadcasted at the same time, whether it is to your RSS feed subscribers or your fediverse followers!

🚀 Interact with your followers

As all other fediverse platforms, Castopod Host now implements the ActivityPub protocol, a decentralized social networking protocol produced by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

It allows you to share news about your podcast and all sorts of content with your followers.

activity-feed-authenticated

When connected to your Castopod Host instance, you can act as any podcast you manage and send notes to your followers about past, new or upcoming episodes.

mastodon-status-with-replies

After publication, your followers will be able to see the new note appear in their website feed! They are then able to interact by replying, favouriting or sharing your note.

note-with-replies-authenticated

And you get all of those replies in your Castopod Host instance. You can reply back directly from the note page.

With federation comes great responsibility.

Knowing that any fediverse platform can communicate with your Castopod Host, we’ve implemented basic moderation for you to block an account or a domain from a remote website.

block-account-in-reply

Your Castopod Host will then discard any interaction performed by that blocked account or domain.

How to get your own Castopod Host?

It's as easy as one-two-three:

  1. Download the "Castopod Package" release in the Castopod Host repository.
  2. Install it in 5 minutes!
  3. Enjoy!

What's next?

This release probably didn’t come as a surprise to some of you. 😋

Castopod Host isn’t just the next new podcast hosting solution. We hope to be pushing new experiences for podcasters so they can share and enhance their creativity while earning a living from their passion.

Give it a go and let us know what you think!

Please note that Castopod Host is still in heavy development and we’re planning on bringing a lot more exciting features to the table as well as some bug fixes of course. 😁

In the mean time, buckle up, and join the fediverse with us! 🚀

The razorback spaceship flying through space
Castopod Host

Yassine Doghri

Freelance web developer who likes to create things. Currently building @castopod.