A little help from strangers

I haven't written in a while. And not because I don't have much to say. I've just been too busy to say it. But something happened today. Not even something that unusual. But it happened to me, so that's something. One of the things that's happened that I haven't written about has been another project. I started a podcast with some good friends over at urandom-podcast. Because of the communities we frequent, some folks have asked for an ogg feed of the show as well as an mp3 feed. Because that site is also running nikola, I was sure I could make that happen. The question was how. So I dropped into #nikola over on irc.freenode.net and asked for some help. After some chatting about what I was trying to do, and how nikola might address it, we found a solid solution.

What I wanted was to take my existing rss feed, and duplicate it, replacing all occurrences of "mp3" with "ogg" to convert this to an ogg feed. So, based on suggestions from irc'ers ralsina and ChrisWarrick I created a local deploy command to do some sed'ifying to get it done. Code below:

    "default": [
        "rsync -qr output/ my_server_url",
    "local": [
        "rm output/rss-ogg.xml",
        "cp output/rss.xml output/rss-ogg.xml",
        "sed -i 's/mp3/ogg/' output/rss-ogg.xml",
        "sed -i 's/mpeg/ogg/' output/rss-ogg.xml"

The reason I felt like I need to write about this was because there aren't enough people talking about the good experiences using free and open tech. I had a need, I did my best to articulate it, and I got help. People took time out of their day to think about an issue I was having and help me solve it. This doesn't always happen, and it does mean you have to do a few things.

  • Go looking for help
  • Articulate what you need
  • Be patient (folks are doing this because they want to, nobody is obligated to help you)
  • Try to think of a possible solution
  • Be willing to try things out
  • Be grateful when you get help

So to the folks over on #nikola, and open scorers everywhere, thank you for your time and talent. Thank you for caring about your community enough to take a few minutes and help people out. You're all the real hero's of the internet, even if nobody else is saying it.

-- UPDATE --

So, while the above _did_ work, it didn't work well. So, with even more help from the same folks I ended up creating a whole new rss parsing plugin for Nikola to generate ogg feeds. I needed to do this because it wasn't enough to change the files the xml was pointing to, I also had to update the enclosure-length value to reflect the size of the ogg file. So, rather than even more hackish shell commands, I wrote a custom plugin and some custom metadata. Much better.