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Dan Kyukendall - Engineering the PodPress

By Ankita Katdare in 'CrazyEngineers Small Talks', Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Ankita Katdare


    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    CrazyEngineers is proud to have Dan Kuykendall (Director Of Engineering, NTObjectives Inc., USA) – the man behind Mighty Seek Podcast, podPress, project - phpGroupWare, rpmBuilder, Qmail & podcastAlley!

    Check out CE's talk with Dan...[​IMG]

    CE: Podcasting is hot on the Internet. What is podcasting anyway?

    Dan: Podcasting is basically a way to distribute and receive audio and video content in an automated way, so that it may be consumed when and where the consumer want. By and large podcasting content is created and provided by independent creators and allows for very niche content.

    CE: You are the creator of podPress – The dream plug-in for blogging tool Wordpress. What does podPress actually do?

    Dan: Wordpress is a web application that makes it easy to Blog. Since podcasting grew out of the mechanisms from blogging it made sense to add the podcasting features into Wordpress. This is what podPress does, it adds all the website tools that podcasters need into Wordpress.

    CE: Can you take us behind the scenes of podPress? How does it work?

    Dan: WordPress has a fairly nice structure for plugins, with lots of locations to hook into. podPress is a plugin that takes advantage of many of the hooks, and is probably more extensive than the vast majority of plugins that are out there. The key things podPress is trying to accomplish is to add to the RSS2 feed for the podcast specific stuff, insert the players into each post, and give users nice admin screens for configuring all this stuff.

    So the way its designed is with a number of classes and functions O put together to offer the functionality, and then a loader file which includes all these and finally registers with WordPress all the hooks I want my callback functions to be used for.

    CE: You are a co-creator of phpGroupWare project. What is phpGroupWare all about?

    Dan: phpGroupWare is a rather large project that is an attempt to create a fully featured web based alternative to MS Exchange/Novell GroupWise type of "groupware" systems. The core ideas came out of my background as a network admin who had to deal with GroupWise, MS Exchange, and Lotus Notes/Domino at various times.

    I was really impressed with Lotus Notes/Domino at the time, and the ability it provided to create custom business applications within the groupware framework. By leveraging the groupware features and interface, this was a very powerful tool, however the learning curve was very steep and the talent pool for developers was very limited.
    Since I wanted to learn PHP at this time, I decided to join up with a developer who was working on a project called webdistro and try to create a groupware structure that would have the basic email, notes, todo, calendar applications, but have an API that would allow any custom application to be added in as well. The project succeeded and has continued without me for a few years. It is still actively developed and has more than 30 applications built for it, and continues to impress me.

    CE: We would like to know about your work on RPM Builder.

    Dan: Many years ago, when I had just started getting into Linux, I was not yet fully comfortable with everything being command line. I also wanted to learn how to create RPM (installer package format for RedHat Linux) packages, and discovered this to be a tedious process and that it was harder than it should be. After learning how to create them, I decided to hack up a GUI for it. The GUI allowed the user to take a normal tar.gz package and have it converted into an RPM after answering a few details about what the package was.

    CE: Is it true that you get paid to hack?

    Dan: It is. My job with NT OBJECTives (http://www.ntobjectives.com) is to research the latest ideas and techniques for hacking web apps, and then to manage a development team to automate these attacks into our scanner.

    CE: Dan, you were also involved in first generation of iTunes?

    Dan: Not exactly like that. When Apple wanted to add Podcast support into iTunes, they approached Podshow. At the time I was working on PodcastAlley with Chris and I helped put together code to create a massive OPML file, which Apple used to populate their internal Podcast Directory.

    CE: You recently attended Podcast and Portable Media Export. Any experiences to share with us?

    Dan: I loved what little I was able to experience. Due to work and personal demands, I only got to spend a few hours at the expo. While there I got to see a recording of "The Bitterest Pill", sit in on a recording of the "LA Podcasters" and even got to be an in studio guest during a record of the great "The Slice of SciFi" podcast. Along with all that, I got to meet a number of podcasters that I have chatted with many times and had the usual fun of matching up faces with names.

    CE: Thanks a lot for talking to CE. What is your message for us, the CEans?

    Dan: I love what you guys are doing, and always encourage the flow of ideas and thoughts to improve your skills and thinking. I wish you all the best and hope to get more time to spend on your site.

    Dan Kuykendall (Director Of Engineering, NTObjectives Inc., USA) is active in podcasting & open source communities. We are proud to have him as a CEan - Seek3r. Dan has agreed to answer questions on our forum. So, if you have any questions for Dan, feel free to ask them in our 'Ask Dan ' thread!


Discussion in 'CrazyEngineers Small Talks' started by Ankita Katdare, Jan 15, 2007.