LearningAPI has moved to a new blog!

The learningapi blog has moved to a new URL. These posts will remain here, but all new content has moved to learningAPI.com: Digital Media, Streaming Video & Educational Technology. You may also subscrdibe to the RSS feed for the new learningAPI.com blog.

July 16, 2006

One-click iTunes Podcast Subscriptions

While building out the podcasting features of the Videotools Media Content Mangement system for Harvard Business School, we were trying to figure the simplest way to do a "one-click" RSS subscription for iTunes users.  Before we explored it, we had some open questions: do you have to register you feed with the iTunes podcast directory for it to work?  Will it work without complicated client-side Javascript?  With all the "iTunes U" university stuff out there ( proprietary as it is), will a totally standards-based RSS feed work?

Turns out that it's easier than we expected, although surprisingly, there were few documented examples on the Web showing how simple it really is.  

To make a one-click iTunes subscription link, just link the RSS feed from your Website using a URL with the protocol prefix itpc://   So, a one-click iTunes subscription link to a podcast would look like this:

itpc://www.learningapi.com/rss/podcast.xml

That's all there is to it.   No registration required, no Javascript, nothing special.  This will not enter your feed into the iTunes Music Store's directory, so you won't get rankings, etc from iTunes. For our purposes, which are really intranet-oriented podcasts, we don't want publicity beyond our own user population, so that's a bonus. When a user who has iTunes installed clicks this link, it will automatically subscribe them to the RSS feed as an iTunes podcast.  While it was tempting to explore many of the other RSS one-click options (noticing the Odeo and PodNova options on my local NPR station), we determined that for our users, offering a one-click for  iTunes along with a plain RSS link for manual copy/paste was the sweet spot of user choice and simplicity.  

One other nice touch that's become common for making RSS feeds more friendly to new users - if you click on the RSS feed link (for either podcast or simple RSS news  feeds), it's styled in the browser using XSL, so that it's human-readable, with some helpful instructions for what to do next. 


TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.learningapi.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/95

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'One-click iTunes Podcast Subscriptions' from learningAPI.com: Media and Learning Technology - Larry Bouthillier.