Rob Fahrni

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Castro’s Future

I Love RSS!Castro Blog

We believe in transparency with our community and want to share with you that we are actively seeking a new home for Castro with new owners. Our goal is to continue providing you with the app you love, but with even better features and improvements.

Earlier in the week Castro had a four day(I believe) outage of their backend service, Tentacles. 🐙

Thankfully they were able to get things repaired.

Now it appears the folks at Tiny are shopping Castro around. That’s great news! Earlier in the week I sent Tiny a note mentioning I was interested in Castro. Do I have a shot at it? Heck no! Would I love a chance? Heck yeah!

What would I do with it?

Well, that’s a really good question. I have to believe their overhead is extremely high because of their reliance on custom backend service. Here’s where my thinking may go off the rails. Why do podcast apps need their own service to aggregate content?

Podcasting is built on an open standard, RSS. Apple have built the best podcast directory on the planet using RSS as its base and they allow folks to use it. Thank you, Apple!

Now, my friend, John Brayton, believes the directory isn’t complete enough to do what I’m after. That’s ok as long as it allows searching. With the ability to search and get basic podcast information I believe it could be done without a custom, expensive, backend service. Marco Arment the creator of the Overcast podcast player once said on ATP that his server costs are over $8000/month (if my memory isn’t failing me, which is very possible.🧠 Keep me honest here.)

Stream has a feed parser that works really well and could be extended and reused for a Podcast player. All you really need for a Podcast player is the ability to take an RSS feed, parse it, and display information about the episode. RSS includes the link to the audio file.

Castro has a way to search for podcasts and has a hand curated list of recommendations. If you can search Apple’s directory you cover item number one. Item number two is easy, it’s hand curated so that’s not an issue. Once you have the location of an RSS feed you can list and play a podcast.

Of course the thing that blows this thinking up is if Apple’s directory isn’t searchable.

If you’re the maker of a podcast player and have a custom backend please let me know how I’m wrong here, because I must have a knowledge gap. 🙏🏼