The Bob Bloom Show #50: Throwing The Book At Joe LeBlanc, Part 2 Of 2

Thursday March 22nd, 2012



Joseph LeBlanc began programming when he was eight years old. Since then he has become a computer programmer and an active member of the tech community in Austin, Texas. After writing a Mambo programming tutorial in 2004, Joseph went on to author Learning Joomla! 1.5 Extension Development and record Joomla! 1.7/2.5: Programming and Packaging Extensions. Joseph currently writes code for Cory Webb Media while sampling tacos and bánh mì sandwiches around Austin.


UPDATE (Feb 19, 2013) And that’s all for this episode of Podcast Suite:

Sadly, it is time for us to take Podcast Suite off the air. All current support subscriptions will be honored for the remainder of their terms. We will no longer sell support subscriptions for Podcast Suite, and we will not be developing it further.

Podcast Suite’s new GitHub repo


Bob: Welcome to the 50th “The Bob Bloom Show”. My name is Bob Bloom from Toronto, Canada. Today is Thursday, March 22nd, 2012.

Bob: 50th show.  I think I’m supposed to get a gold watch or something. [laughter] I have the pleasure of talking with Joe LeBlanc today.  This is the second of a two part interview [Part One] and it’s Joe’s first time here and I hope not your last.  Thank you for taking the time to be here today.

Joe: Thanks for interviewing me Bob.

Bob: Again, Joe’s my first guest who I ever met at through his book that he wrote for Joomla 1.5 called “Learning Joomla 1.5 Extension Development”.  I think everybody who was learning 1.5 got that book.

We were talking about the new Podcast Suite which you just released today or last week.  [laughter] Welcome to amateur radio!  I also talked about your Joomla and Beyond.

I wanted to chime in with would I ever switch my media site back to Joomla?  and the answer I think it might be coming one day, it would be a bit of a job.  The thing about Podcast Suite that interests me is its ability to combine with e-commerce sites or with what I want to do. I think that everybody who runs a niche e-commerce site should podcast because it’s not enough to blog.  Blog doesn’t get you onto iTunes, just like a blog doesn’t get you onto You Tube – so you have to have a mix of video and podcasting so that you get in all the different venues and nobody does both – you’re lucky to get someone who does one and this might spur that and I think it would be a real help.

It would be a real trick to get the player in the check out and at different parts of the check out there are audio cues or even videos of when you go through check out so it would be interesting to see where conventionally plug in the different parts of your Podcast Suite into it because everyone can end up at iTunes anyways.  So that’s my little shpiel there.  It’s all one big platform, it’s not really, you know you need all the different media.  Again it just came out hours ago so I haven’t looked at the new version.  So you did write the book and when 2.5 was coming out you did a tutorial for and I wanted you to compare the two ways of teaching a book versus these on-line tutorials.

Joe: Yeah, I know a lot of people have come back to me and said you know when are you doing the book?

Bob: That’s me!

Joe: Yeah, I haven’t ruled it out entirely.  I mean we definitely get a benefit with the book where you know, you’re not fixed there on the screen watching every minute and every second and you can bookmark things and kind of peruse at your own pace.  But at the same time with the video it’s much easier, I think, for me to show you a complete concept of something at once and I think that going through the video is ultimately much more time effective than going through a book.  At the same time it does have benefits and drawbacks I would say.  On my end it’s very much easier to record a video than write a book.  I think something about that video format just forces you to stay on topic and to get everything working as one kind of complete thing.

Bob: So as somebody producing it your video seems better now than just doing a book?

Joe: Like I said, it’s kind of a, there’s definitely some advantages to the book format but I really do like doing the videos for and they…

Bob: I’m putting you on the spot!

Joe: Yeah – [laughter]

Bob: I think the book is good as a reference, but I really like was that you had code there, that I could download the code and it was interactive and I could compare the code subsequently with what I saw other people doing because it is Open Source you can compare the code.

Joe: That is also the case with though – if you do the premium subscription you get the code, and you not only get the code but you get the exact code I was using in the video so if you are interested in Chapter 8, Video 3, you can get that exercise file from and see the exact code I was working with.

Bob: And when there is updates the book is impossible to update – you have to republish and the book in my hand is going to be out of date.  But if you’re doing something online then it can be more topical.

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: [big sigh] ehhh, I think there’s, I just fear the death of the book.  Even the search – how do you search a book?

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: The Jenkins – the definitive guide to Jenkins I was shocked to see that there is a 400 plus page book that’s about $40 – is a free PDF.  The advantage to the PDF is I can search it.  I can’t search the book by putting in a key word.  [big sigh] I’m asking you a question and I have definitive opinions on what I want the answer to be.  [laughter]  I just think that it’s better – it’s just better to have a website, have a series of tutorials and stuff on and make it a membership site, then stratify it to the different types of readers you have, but it’s just a lot of work to set that up.  I thought you’d be great at that.  [big sigh] So what else can I ask you that’s not controversial? or didn’t come out so fast.   Well there’s something – you just joined CoryWebb and are you able to talk about the motivations behind that?

Joe: Sure, yeah. So, I moved here to Austin last June and I’ve been freelancing for a while – I’ve gone back and forth between full-time jobs and freelancing and I’ve worked with Cory in the past and I’ve even subcontracted some things out to him and he’s subcontracted things out to me and we talked about doing more of a full-time arrangement in the past and just the timing and everything just kind of came together and when I got here in Austin I was doing a contract, kind of a joint project with him and we just decided to go full-time so this past October was my first official day with Cory Webb Media and we’ve been just kind of pooling our resources and our client bases and it’s very good to have other people that you can work with, I would say it’s just, I love doing Joomla programming but I can’t do everything and I very much appreciate having James and Jeremy and Cory to work with and we’re all good at different things and we just bring it all to the table and that’s how we do work.

Bob: and who’s James?

Joe: James Hefner – he is a front end developer.

Bob: because Cory I know the name and of course Jeremy I had on my show – he was my 2012 interview, and you – so I know three of the four people.  I think it’s smart to not try to be solo on these extensions because the scope of the extensions grows and the support could – I’ve done so many shows on the support – it’s a real hornet’s nest.

Joe: Um hum.

Bob: So, I think it’s a good way to deliver extensions because it’s just getting – it’s a bigger enterprise to deliver extensions than it used to be.

Joe: Yeah. I think I remember seeing a tweet from Steve Burge talking a little bit about how he was seeing a lot of consolidation happening in the Joomla world in the next year or two and that was a year ago and it’s definitely happening if you look around a lot of people are joining forces and bringing what they’re good at and joining it with other people.

Bob: You know I don’t want to get my butt kicked on this but it was public domain that I don’t know, there was Morph is partnering with someone to get it’s 2.5 version out and I think that the, it’s just the investment in writing the extensions and maintaining them, supporting them, it’s just a bigger investment than it was in the old days of Joomla.

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: and you have to, it takes a while to get a return but there is a certain uncertainty with what you’re working with.

Joe: Yeah and at the same time I think we’re just seeing a maturing of the Joomla market, more people are using it, more large names are using it and it’s becoming more popular and at the same time that increases the demand for support and for just the ability for your extension to work in many different environments.

Bob: and in conjunction with whatever else they’re installing.

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: You’re probably going to have a few support about the RSS feeds because that was always an issue wasn’t it? In Joomla?

Joe: We’re doing our own RSS generation through Joomla and we’re not using the core Joomla RSS generation so I think we pretty much have that nailed down now.  Like we went through very meticulously through Apple’s documentation and made sure we had all their tags in place and we also have not just the RSS feed but also the players are in standard Joomla MP3 layout so if there is something there that you don’t want or you want to change it’s as easy as creating a template override and you can just change it.  So if you want a different player you can add your own in, we’re not including the call for the Javascript happens on that layout page so if you’re not using the JPlayer it won’t get included if you remove it.

Bob: Well I’m glad you brought that up, I didn’t want to ask. What happens if you have another plug-in that’s calling another one.  The scenario is you have an MP3 but you don’t want it in the RSS feed or in iTunes.

Joe: In that situation actually of the features we have now is we’ve separated out the episodes from the media so you can add one or more media items to your episodes and you can handle those media items separately.  So if you just want to play, if you want to upload a media item and play that standalone and not add it to an RSS feed, that’s something that’s now possible with Podcast Suite 2.0.

Bob: I’ll have to take a look at this.

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: I like the sound of that, that was a problem.  I have to be careful, you know I solved the problem by not having any MP3’s – I didn’t want on iTunes anyways.

Joe: Well there was a tag in the older version where you could just say player and then the name of the file and then it would look in your podcast directory and use the player but that probably was a little bit less than intuitive for the way everything was built.  We’ve really revamped the UI and we’ve tried to make it as self explanatory as possible and for the rest we have documentation that’s now available.

Bob: and you’ve looked at Feedburner?

Joe: At the moment it’s pretty much still, we generate the RSS feed and you can feed it through Feedburner if you want but there’s no integration with Feedburner beyond that.

Bob: No messing around with .htaccess or something?

Joe: Right.

Bob: The last time I looked at that stuff was at least two years ago, so I’m probably out of date on that.  That was just eye glazing to look at the documentation on that. [laughter] There’s so many permutations now with the podcasting – just the PowerPress, the new version they’ve got so many tabs and one of them’s for TV or something, geez.

Joe: Like I said though, the whole concept of podcasting has just evolved and everybody has a different idea of how it works and we’re trying to cater, I guess you would say, a plurality of them.

Bob: You know, I’m assuming because I don’t do video podcasts, I assume that Podcast Suite is just for audio, but maybe I should ask if it’s for video as well.

Joe: The JPlayer plug-in that we’re using actually does support video and so Podcast Suite does support video and audio and actually one of the very specific features that we have in this version allows you to have an audio file and a video file that are both attached to the same episode and then that way if you have an audio version and a video version you don’t have to type in the same episode information twice.  So that way you can then generate different feeds for those different formats as well.

Bob: That’s huge.

Joe: Yeah, because one issue that we’ve run into is a lot of churches actually will podcast their sermons and a lot of them will want to do both an audio and a video version of that.  I know the church that I was a part of in Washington, DC would just record the video and then scrub the audio into a separate file and then that way they were only producing – they were using the same source material but they were just generating different formats for it.  So with Podcast Suite 2.0 you could now generate two separate feeds for the same content and everything, just in different formats.

Bob: I don’t think a sermon is the reason, although I should call some of my podcasts sermons.  [laughter] Thanks for laughing.  The problem is the device and that some devices don’t show video and if you only have video you’ve cut off or even for people who have video, like I’m not really that interested on my iPhone to subscribe to a video podcast if there’s audio because most of the time I’m not going to be staring at my screen anyways, so this is a very important feature so I’m glad we did two parts so that we could get to it.

Joe: Yeah.

Bob: Is there anything that I missed that you wanted to talk about?

Joe: I think that’s mainly it.  It’s just we’ve spent a lot of time and put in a lot of hard work in making Podcast Suite 2.0 the best podcasting extension for Joomla and we have ideas already in the hopper for version 3.0, so keep watching.

Bob: I’m steering clear of getting deeper into Square One on purpose because things are cooking there and when Jeremy comes on I want to give him a clean shot at explaining.  You probably have some inside info because you’re connected with him and I kind of see where.  I’m so fascinated that you’ve built your Podcast on Square One.

Joe: Yeah, we did it that way because we really wanted to make a statement saying that this is software you should use and it’s stable and ready to go and it’s Joomla, it’s just we’ve taken away some of the features that we’re not using for every website and added a few features that we wanted and that’s really it and I will let Jeremy talk about that when you have him on next month.

Bob: because it wouldn’t take much to do a distro that could really make that powerful.  Just thinking about my site.  I’d love to see the individual extension purveyors do their own podcast of their extensions – like Anahita does the Hangout and I started the LaSalle Mart thing which is ….. but I’d love to see more of that and this would be a great entree on how to do it in Joomla.  Have a nice little compact separate site for it.  So, I think you’re onto something – I love it.

Joe: Yeah, yeah.

Bob: So we’re just a shy bit under the 25 minutes, but we’ll wrap it up now before I get into conversations that would need a part 3. [laughter] I am so thrilled that you were able to come on here and finally be able to talk to you.

Joe: Yeah, it’s been too long.

Bob: and for Podcast Suite for the follow-up, I’ll have you on.

Joe: Alright.

Bob: For Square One, or maybe I’ll have both of you on and have you go at it together.

Joe: Okay.

Bob: But definitely have you on again this year.  Thank you Joe.

This is Bob Bloom, signing off, wishing you a profitable week.

You have been listening to a production. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of SouthLaSalleMEDIA dot com, nor of the organizations represented. Links and materials discussed on air are available in the Show Notes for this show. Information contained herein have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not guaranteed. Podcasts are released under a creative commons licence. Some rights are reserved. Email correspondence to the attention of Bob Bloom at info at SouthLaSalleMedia dot com.


Monthly commentary and interviews about websites, technology, and consulting. Produced by Bob Bloom, founder and developer of LaSalle Software.

Produced 57 podcasts from 2010 to 2016.

Currently on hiatus.

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