• Kirby 4

    Today is a day full of surprises. Not only has winter suddenly arrived, but also the big new update of Kirby.

    For those who have been following Kirby's development, they were probably not entirely surprised; the first release candidates have been arriving in the past weeks - and today, Kirby 4 was officially released.

    The important information first: The Podcaster, Komments, and IndieConnector plugins are already compatible with Kirby 4 and can be used without further ado. If you haven't done so already, now is the right time for an update. Unfortunately, my Pexelfield plugin still needs a few bug fixes but will also follow shortly.

    Kirby 4 comes with extensive changes. I won't list them all here, as it's better to check them out directly on the release page. For end users, the visual changes in the panel are probably the most noticeable.

    By the way, for those who already have a Kirby 3 license, you can use the sale that started today to get an update for K4.

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  • Podcaster Plugin 3

    Version 3 brings a major new release of the Podcaster plugin for Kirby. With numerous new features and optimizations. An overview.

    Finally, the time has come! My Kirby Podcaster plugin has been released in version 3, bringing it closer to the current Kirby releases.

    Those who have been following my blog for the past few months will have noticed two things: Apart from the weekly reviews, not much has happened, and in the weekly reviews, I mentioned the Podcaster plugin repeatedly. I have indeed been working on it for several months, as well as creating a new website for the plugin.

    Unfortunately, the shop hasn't made it online yet, but that's still to come. I would appreciate your support for the development once it's up.

    The new version is a big step forward. Version two was already a few years old and, while it was occasionally tweaked, it was based on an older foundation that didn't quite harmonize with the latest Kirby versions.

    Over the past months, I not only aligned the plugin with the same foundation as the Komment and IndieConnector plugins, but also extensively refactored the entire plugin.

    New composer setup

    To allow the plugin to communicate its version within the Kirby system, it needed a new foundation. Here, I could use the basics of my other plugins. The new setup now reveals its version and shows you updates directly in the panel. Installation is still best done through Composer.

    Releases are automatically created according to SemVer, including automatic release notes. This makes future development and maintenance faster and easier.

    Automatic migrations

    For Podcaster Analytics, a database is required. Here, sqlite or mysql are used. Automatic migrations were already planned, but not optimally integrated into the plugin. Thanks to Kirby hooks, this is no longer a problem. Installing a new version of the plugin automatically runs the migrations on the first page visit. In the best case scenario, the user shouldn't even notice it. However, it is still advisable to make a backup before an update.

    Everything new in the feed

    The code for the RSS feed has been extensively revised. Individual segments have been moved into snippets, and many helper functions have been removed. Sometimes, less is simply more.

    To comfortably manage the feed, I completely redesigned the panel view. Here too, a lot could be removed. New field types and options in the panel now ensure a fresher and more clear representation in the panel:

    Episodes and web player

    The blueprint for editing episodes has also been massively overhauled. Here too, the new field types and options bring more structure and order to the game. Backward compatibility has also been ensured:

    The Podlove Web Player is integrated, which has now been released in a new major version. The integration has therefore been completely rewritten, allowing users to configure all player options conveniently in the panel. Integration on the site is then done simply via snippet.

    Podcaster Analytics

    In the previous version, statistics were displayed directly in a tab of the feed. This was no longer up to date. The new Podcaster Analytics can now be found in a panel view accessible via the main menu.

    There, you will get an overview of the most important data and can dive deeper into the details. The underlying structure for the graphs has been completely replaced, which not only looks better but also allows you to zoom in on graphs and export views as images or CSV.

    With Podcaster Analytics, you have all the important metrics at a glance and don't need to rely on external services.

    Less code

    The Podcaster plugin was my first major plugin, and I've learned a lot over the years. This is now reflected in the new version. The entire code has been optimized, streamlined, and made more testable. This will hopefully have an impact on both stability and maintenance.

    One more thing

    With the upcoming Kirby 4 release, there will be many new possibilities again. Kirby Podcaster already runs on Kirby 4, but will certainly adapt to the new release in the coming months.

    Also planned is an additional transcription service. This will allow uploaded episodes to be analyzed and converted into text. Users can upload their mp3, click a button, and then receive their transcript.

    Installation and setup

    If you don't want to do the installation and setup on your own, you can have a look at the video tutorial I recorded. It's about an hour long and guides you through the whole processs, from installation to published podcast:


    Feature requests? Bugs? Questions?
    Feel free to report them directly on Github!

    This release was (for me) a truly significant and labor-intensive one. I hope you benefit from it. Also, take a moment to visit the Podcaster website, where you can support the project in the future. I look forward to feedback and links to your podcasts that you operate with the plugin!

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  • Why I don't want to be a tech blogger

    MidJourney Prompt: a blond blogger sitting in front of his laptop at a desk with a lot of books around him

    I was once a tech blogger. I wrote a lot about WordPress, and later about Kirby and other programming stuff. It was good at the time and helped many people, at least according to statistics and some feedback.

    I liked it back then. I could help others relatively easily. But the behavior of the site visitors changed over time. At first, I received responses to my posts in the form of comments or emails. That was good. On the one hand, because I naturally enjoy it when someone thanks me for the help, on the other hand, because it helped me improve my writing when people wrote that they didn't understand something.

    But one day that was over. The page views continued to rise, and feedback rapidly decreased. People searched for solutions to their problems, found my posts, copied the helpful source code, and then disappeared after completing their work.

    I don't blame anyone for that. I do the same thing, and I bet most of you do too. There's a reason there are so many StackOverflow jokes.

    That's not a big deal. Although I believe that we could make some bloggers happy by simply leaving a short "thank you" in the comments instead of disappearing silently. But that's just how it is; we're all always in a hurry.

    And now AI and LLM are coming, and they will make it even worse. If we ask Bing, ChatGPT, Google, or the SearchEngineOfTheFuture, we will likely not get link lists in many cases. We will get our answers directly in, for example, code snippets. And these contents will come from blogs and repositories and co. Even if such content remains relevant as a source, interactions will continue to decrease.

    What I have taken from all of this:

    I don't want to write for search engines, I don't want to write for LLMs, I don't want thousands of silent visitors. I want my site to be a place for lively exchange; I like interactions. Creating such a place is difficult but possible.

    I will continue to write and speak about technology in my own way, which will hopefully be somewhat entertaining. But I will incorporate it into other topics. The technical implementations should be the engine for the topics that interest and/or occupy me.

    Such posts will probably then migrate to the "hub," where some are already slumbering. Here in the blog, they will then perhaps appear as meta-topics.

    Why am I writing this down? In the weekly review, I already mentioned that I am currently reading a lot to find out how to proceed here. This is not new, but I want to have more momentum here again. I will now occasionally publish posts like this one. As a reference and anchor for me when I feel stuck with writing.

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  • Tweets with 10,000 chars - without Twitter Blue!

    A blue bird sitting in front of a laptop, stacks of money around him, photorealistic

    The news is making the rounds that with the Twitter Blue subscription, tweets of up to 10,000 characters can now be written. With a simple trick, it is possible to publish long posts even without Twitter Blue!

    Here's how:

    1. Go to wordpress.org or getkirby.com in your browser and download the latest version
    2. Find an affordable hosting package; there are even some with pre-installed WordPress
    3. Unpack the CMS zip file and upload it
    4. Click through the installation process; it only takes a few minutes for both
    5. Choose a nice theme
    6. Install plugins for webmentions and ActivityPub
    7. Post the URL of your new site on your Twitter account
    8. Log out of Twitter
    9. Start blogging

    Okay, I'm sorry, but only a little bit. But let's be honest, right now, anything is probably better than getting involved in this Twitter business. If you don't have your own blog yet, now is the right time to start one. Stay away from all those posts that explain how to run a successful blog, when to post, and how a post should be structured. Just get started, write whatever you want. Write long articles or short "tweets." This is your blog, anything is possible, everything is allowed.

    And then share your content with the world from there. Using old-school channels like RSS feeds, but also using ActivityPub. Comment on other blogs, have others comment on your blog, and send webmentions. Network. Make regular backups. Don't let the platforms fool you.

    Yes, having your own blog costs money, but you'll probably come out cheaper than with Twitter Blue, and you'll have complete freedom. And you know what? If you want more someday, that's not a problem either. Start a podcast, an online course, a community. Do whatever you want. You have all the possibilities and hardly any limitations. This is your thing! Have fun!

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  • Feedly vs. Reeder

    RSS is not dead, on the contrary. I read a lot via RSS feed and I have a problem with Feedly and Reeder. Maybe someone has a solution for me?

    RSS feeds are not dead, instead they are more relevant than ever in times of collapsing platforms, I read most of my articles and posts through this channel. I chose Feedly back then (which is currently a bit controversial). I was attracted by all the functions around RSS.

    I use the function of subscribing to newsletters in Feedly and then presenting them as a feed very intensively, and I also used to filter and read Twitter lists, when Twitter wasn't as bad as it is now.

    I also really like to use Feedly Boards. I save articles that I have already read and don't want to keep on my reading list, but that I want to save. Each board represents a specific topic. It's like my personal topic archive. It's really cool because I can also save articles I read directly on a webpage via a browser plugin, not via RSS.

    Now there are still many RSS feeds that only show a short intro and then you have to go to the website to continue reading. Website owners want to move visitors to their site. As a website owner, I can understand that. As a reader, it really annoys me. I read posts through this channel because many websites make it difficult to read. Whether it's because the lines are endlessly long or for some other reason. This teasing and then having to continue reading on the website is really annoying.

    That's where Reeder comes in, because it offers a workaround. A small button that I can click when I should actually continue reading on a website. Then Reeder does some magic, it goes *pling*, fairy dust and glitter are sprayed in the room, you hear a soft giggle, and I can read the entire text in Reeder. In the style of Reeder, readable. Awesome!

    If I really like an article, I also like to visit the site after reading and leave a comment.

    Now, all of this clashes a bit because I can't use my Feedly Boards in Reeder. I see them as tags, but I can't assign a tag to a post. I assume this is because it doesn't run through the Feedly API, but is still good old RSS. And I can't edit RSS items. So the tags are there, but readonly.

    So now I have to add posts on the reading list in Reeder, then switch to Feedly and then move these posts to a board and remove them from the reading list. It's a bit annoying, but I can't think of another solution.

    How do you read RSS? Do you read RSS? Do you use a service like Feedly? What reader do you use? Write me a comment or webmention, I would be happy to hear from you!

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