Dicentis is a new podcast project and was part of a church project. During first development it was topic for my student project for university and quickly developed to something more bigger. Therefore I decided to exclude it from the church project to continue development independent.
The plugin is open source and licensed under GNU GPL v3.0. You are more than welcome to contribute to it in many different ways.
How it all began
I think the first question you want to ask is, why I build a new podcast plugin for WordPress? This is a valid question but let me start from the beginning.
First things first, everything started back in early 2013 when our church decided to build a new website. The current website is not the best looking anymore and a relaunch would be a good idea. So we decided to start from scratch instead of just “improving” the current site. For that we considered many content management systems like WordPress, Typo3, and Drupal. In the end we took WordPress as our CMS of choice for several reasons.
Fortunately, there exist many good and professional themes for WordPress and a good theme was quickly found, which could be customized for our needs. But there are other requirements for the project. For example, on the website we display next Sunday’s preacher with picture and title. So we built a plugin for that. And, like you guessed, we needed a podcast plugin.
I talked with many people so far and most of them didn’t know that churches have podcasts. In many cases a church offers several podcast feeds. For example ICF Zurich offers 3 podcast with 6 feeds. Each Sunday, they have an English, a German, and a Swiss-German message recored in both audio and video. We considered many podcast plugins out there but non of them met all criteria for a podcast plugin we needed. Therefore, we decided to build it by ourselves.
Short time after we decided to build a new podcast plugin for our church websites, which fit best for churches, I asked the team if they care if I takes this project and turn it into a Student Project. This was late summer 2013 and in my 5th semester we need to work on a student project at university for several months. I was lucky to find a Professor who was willing to supervise it. This was a lucky coincidence that I can work on my student project and for this church project simultaneously.
This was an very interesting project. I already knew how to program in several languages but I had to learn how to program for WordPress. For that I read a lot of articles, bought some books, and talked to many programmers to gain as many information as I needed. I learnt so much in the last 6 months but I’m far from calling me an expert.
During my student project, I recognized that this is a pretty interesting and fun project. I was willing to continue development after the student project was over. With the allowance of my church team I could exclude this plugin from the official church project and made it my own little side project.
I gave it the name Dicentis, which is latin for saying or calling, and want to continue it. It makes a lot of fun to build something bigger and it motivates me that churches are going to use this plugin for their podcasts. However, this brings a lot of responsibility. I need to make sure the plugin is secure for example. But this just another challenge I’m willing to takle.
My list with possible features is growing long and I’m looking forward to see them in my plugin. But beside a rich plugin with many features I want also to provide an excellent user experience. I am not an user experience expert but I will ask others what they think and I will learn more about it to create an easy to use plugin. I’m aware of the end users because this plugin is not build for power users which are familiar with CMSs and maybe programming. No. This plugin will be used by editors or volunteers, who are willing to help. Therefore, I want to build an easy to use plugin and give them as much resources as possible.
An intuitive plugin is nice, but there are always people who need extra help or just a starting point. I love good documentations and even during my day job I had to work with frameworks which are badly or not documented. I will and I want to provide a use documentation on this website and detailed how-to tutorials to explain Dicentis’ features. Podcasting is not as easy if many think if you want to do it good.
However, keep in mind this is a one man team behind this plugin and not my daily work. This means, I cannot add features as quickly as I want because I have to maintain this site and write documentations. And let me say one thing, a good documentation needs time!
I mentioned it already, Dicentis is side project and it is open source. If you think this is a good combination and the plugin looks promising you are more than welcome to join me to make it even better. There are many ways you can contribute to this project and programming is not required:
- Contribute as Developer on GitHub
- Report Bugs and Issues
- Translate the plugin
- Write Documentation
- Proof-read texts like Documentation
I will provide an detailed documentation site, how you can contribute. If you are unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to contact me.
On June 14th – 16th, 2014 I attended WordCamp Hamburg and they called for lightning talks (a lightning talk is a short talk for 5-7 minutes). I took this opportunity and was lucky to introduce my new plugin to a wide range of audience (Video of this lighting talk will be linked here as soon as it’s uploaded). If I’m not mistaken it was Konstantin Obenland who asked the question which license I will choose for Dicenits. I know this question would come and I though about it before. I want to give something back to the WordPress community and I will choose the GNU GPL v3.0 License. Which is (almost) the same license as WordPress (WP uses GPL v2.0).
That means for you that this plugin is free! You can also use this plugin for commercial use, distribute it, modify it (source code will be published on GitHub), and use it privately. If you are unsure what you can do, please read the license.