Unless you have not heard already, today new version of Apple iTunes have been released which supports podcasting. This is very exiting news for podcasting community, for their technology making a real break to surface, becoming mainstream. My colleagues and I was testing iTunes podcasting support and here are our first observations:
* Nice UI
* Option to download only last episode
* Options how many podcasts to keep
* Supports HTTP authentication on podcast download
* Adding podcast not listed in Apple directory is not obvious: you have too look up the menu item under "Advanced" menu
* All settings are global - no per-podcast settings
* Display of item description is in non obvious place ("i" icon which in my case was scrolled past right window margin)
* When displaying podcast information, HTML is stripped. For example you can not put link there
* LINK element in Item is ignored - there is no way to open or even see to this link
* Items without enclosure tag are simply not shown. So if you have occasinal text-only item in your podcast - your readers/listeners will never see it.
To be tested:
* I have not checked if iTunes must be running in order to be able to update podcasts. I hope they do not have to.
* Still needs to be checked if they use HTTP conditional GET when fetching podcasts. It is criminal not to.
My main problem is missing links. Adam Curry's concept of podcast "show notes" won't work anymore! You can't easily put some links to resources associated with particular podcast where users can easily access them.
Decision not to show text items is dissapointing, like not permitting text in picture books. Instead of going in directions of reach text/video/audio/hyperlinks media with RSS subscriptin functionality we go back to separate photo (iPhoto RSS?), audio/video (iTunes RSS), text (Safari RSS) aggregators.
As to Apple RSS extensions, many people wrote already about them. For example Edd Dumbill published good analysis (found via Danny Ayers blog). I personally especially surprised by their decision not to use standard RSS 2 "category" element, which have "domain" attribute specifically to specify taxonomy namespace. Not using Dublin Core is also kind of ignorant.
Hopefully they would listen to what people are saying and fix things soon.