28 - Beginning the ExpressionEngine Podcast

In this chapter I’ll cover getting the EE components necessary to store and describe the sermon message audio files in place.  This will set the stage for podcasting using an “all-native-EE” approach.


This chapter is really all groundwork - and if you’ve been following along with this series you’ve been through this routine a number of times already.  The essential steps are:

  • Create a weblog
  • Create a field group
  • Populate the field group with fields
  • Create a category group
  • Populate the category group with categories
  • Connect the category and field groups to the weblog
  • Enter some test data (which in this case will include some sample .mp3 files)

Because I’ve covered this process a number of times in this tutorial I’m not going to go through it step by step.  I’ll just list here what I’ve named things so when it comes to coding the templates things should be clearer. If you’re dropping into this series just for this chapter you can browse back through some of the previous chapters to get the step by step details.

Short name: audio_messages
Full name: Audio Messages

Field Group
Name: Audio Messages

(Name, label, type, size, formatting)

  • audio_file, Audio File, Text Input, 255 maxlength, none
  • message_summary, Message Summmary, textarea, 3 rows, XHTML
  • number_in_series, Number in Series, Text Input, 2 maxlength, none
  • scripture_verses, Scripture Verses, Text Input, 300 maxlength, none
  • worship_service, Worship Service, Relationship, Worship Weblog

I want to point out that last field - the relationship field to the Worship weblog. What this will let me do is display, on the Worship page, the recent messages from a particular worship service.  I also want to do this in the the Staff section - so recent messages by a given pastor will also be able to be displayed next to their name.  Since I haven’t built the staff section yet I’ll have to come back to that later.

Category Group:
Name: Audio Messages

I’m going forward with the idea that a category represents a message series.  You could also make categories out of topics, holidays, books of the Bible—essentially any way you might want to group messages together.

I got highly creative with my names:

  • Message Series One
  • Message Series Two
  • Message Series Three

Connecting the Dots
Assign the field and category group to the weblog - also make sure to choose a status group.  I’m just going to use the default status group.

Optional - Create a File Upload Destination
If your EE and server arrangement are going to allow for uploading the MP3 files, it’s probably best to create a specific folder for them.  This will add an option for where to place the file on the server when your users upload a new audio file.

Create the folder first via FTP - I’d recommend a /videos/ directory right off the root.  Make sure the permissions on that folder are set to 777. 

Once that’s done navigate in EE to Admin > Weblog Administration > File Upload Preferences.

One tip for setting up a new upload destination is to open an existing one, and copy the server path and url of it to a text editor.  Then just replace the final folder name with your new folder name, and in EE again, create a new file upload destination.  Now just paste in those paths from your text document. Name the new upload destination appropriately.

Do some data entry
You’ll need some test content.  I’m going to publish 3-4 posts - enough so I can have a couple of different categories.  I’ll suggest some small .mp3 files to use in these test posts - no need to suffer through the uploading of 50MB+ MP3 files quite yet.

For the audio file, I’m going to move forward assuming the files will be put on the server via FTP.  For content entry, all I’ll need is the filename of the MP3 file - the rest will be coded into the template.

In the next chapter I’ll cover the templates first for presenting the audio files on the website (vs. the actual podcast RSS template).  And I can’t resist…I’ll throw in how to use the Wimpy Player to offer users a simple “play” button to listen to a message right on the website.

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Previous Comments

Picture of Kevin

by Kevin

Date: Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Comment: #1


We’re eagerly anticipating the next blog entry!  Since these are “Free - as in beer” we realize it’s not priority for a workin’ man.

This is just my version of a “bump” in a forum!  Thanks for walking us all through this Church Site Tutorial!


Mike Boyink

by Mike Boyink (Author)

Date: Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Comment: #2

Hey Kevin - Thanks for the comment, it’s good to know they’re being read!

Just FYI - I’m in crunch mode on a couple of client sites this week, and that and house projects ate up my weekend (when I typically write these).

But I’m anxious to get through these as well.

Picture of Scott Criswell

by Scott Criswell

Date: Monday, January 19th, 2009
Comment: #3

Thanks so much for these resources, they have been extremely helpful!!!


Mike Boyink

by Mike Boyink (Author)

Date: Monday, January 19th, 2009
Comment: #4

Glad to hear it Scott.

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