RSS also plays a part in podcasting. The term podcasting originally came from a combination of Apple's iPod and broadcasting, but it has since come into its own, no iPod needed. Podcasts are recorded MP3 audio files usually disseminated over the Internet, and can be played on your computer or downloaded into an MP3 player.
Podcasts are based on RSS, and starting with RSS version 0.92, RSS can include enclosures. An enclosure for a podcast is simply the URL of a resource on the Internet. That resource doesn't have to be textit can be an audio recording or a video recording, for example.
That's how podcasts workan RSS file includes an enclosure, which points to an audio file or a video file. Both the RSS file and the audio/video podcast file must be online. To read podcasts, you can use special podcast software, like the Juice podcast receiver (Figure 1.6).
Figure 1.6. The Juice podcast receiver lets you read podcasts.
Podcast software reads the RSS feed file and determines from the enclosure where the podcast is located. Some podcast receiver programs automatically download a podcast, some wait until you request the download, and some let you choose when and how the download will occur.
In fact, more and more standard RSS readers support podcasts. In some RSS readers, for example, you'll see a small link to an enclosure at the end of an RSS item's text. Clicking that link will play the podcast. And a new development is the online podcast receiver, which lets you play podcasts as if you had downloaded podcast software to your computer.
For a look at how to create your own podcasts and then listen to them in podcast programs, turn to Chapter 7, "Podcasting: Adding Multimedia to Your Feeds."