Should gpodder.net be supported long term?

I have 2 tablets and one phone and I would like to sync my subscriptions and episode play state.
Most Android users have a google drive account that can be used it for sync but for supporting a support for nextcloud would be even nicer.

There is nothing about the current situation of gpodder.net on their twitter account: https://twitter.com/gpoddernet

I have found the gpodder site all but unusable in recent times. I think it is overloaded. I think they provide a good service, when it’s available, but I’m unsure of their long term viability.

Backing up your feeds and listens should be able to go somewhere where else. In the ebook library tool, calibre, it is easy to place your library on Dropbox, and then you can pick it up on multiple computers, for example.

I think there are not many big apps out there that support gpodder.
I have a small desktop app that I want to integrate with it (main motivation is that I recently discovered AntennaPod also integrated with it), but the recent stability issues are a deal breaker for me to implement something and test it.
I am trying to contact the maintainers in their slack chat, but so far I did not get any response there.

Unfortunately there is no other sync service like that that I know of, and building one is not a very easy task, running a service has costs…

I had no luck either, unfortunately.

@Matt_Wilkie Since the whole site is down, it’s probably not only AntennaPod that’s affected. But as @dellagustin said: AntennaPod is probably one of the fewer apps to integrate with the service anyway.

@Mattin @mavek We need to seperate two things: back-up and synchronisation.

Back-up
You can already export a back-up your AntennaPod database to wherever you want (see menu > Storage > Import/Export > Database export): Dropbox, Nextcloud, OneDrive…
At the moment this is a manual action, but it could be automated (e.g. make a back-up each day, like WhatsApp does).
You can import your back-up to any other AntennaPod installation.

Synchronisation
Synchronisation means this: if I favourite an episode on device A, it’ll be favourited also on device B.

I’m not a developer, but I think it requires a central service with an API (like gpodder.net). I don’t think such synchronisation would be technically possible via a filesharing service (especially with how AntennaPod works).

Think of like this: It is possible to share photo’s as individual files - if you take a new one on your phone it gets sent over to Nextcloud and picked up on your computer. But all of the individual episodes (in AntennaPod) are listed in one single big database. We can’t send just one single row (episode), column (favourited status) or cell (favourite status of a particular episode) of the database to a filesharing service.

So
As noted before, sync relies on interoperability. AntennaPod’s database cannot be used by any other programme than AntennaPod. So it could work if you have multiple Android devices all with the same AntennaPod version installed. But even then it’s annoying, because you manually need to import every time. And if you listened to an episode, refreshed your feeds or did anything else on two or more devices, there is no way to ‘merge’ those changes. For a one-time copy, however (e.g. if you have a new phone; if your phone crashed and had to wipe the data) this is a perfect solution.


Side-note: I just tried to open gpodder.net. It took (relative) ages, but it loaded.

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https://gpoddernet.readthedocs.io/en/latest/user/clients.html lists over a dozen active clients, depending on how one counts; not sure how current the “active” flags are tho’.

Looking over the issues and pull requests for the gpodder web service I see an overwhelmed volunteer project. I’d hate to see it go down due to catastrophic success. I’m scanning for ways I might be able to help alleviate pressure, both there and here.

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I’m stating the obvious here. Syncing the podcasts has been helpful when upgrading/changing to a new device and when the device need a factory reset to recover. I’ve used the sync probably a dozen times and hope that it returns before the next time that I need it. :grinning:

@sgelfond for those use-cases you can try the database import/export feature. It contains AntennaPod’s complete database, not just the things that gpodder supports.

I stopped using gpodder.net because it was down too often. From my perspective I don’t really need a sync service, I primarily used it to have an automatic backup of my subscriptions and played episodes. Thus an automatic backup of the database maybe to google drive would be a much better solution for me.

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Whould it be possible to implement syncing AntennaPod with Nextcloud News? It has basic Podcast-Support (I used the corresponding Android App for listening before I discovered AntennaPod), can import/export to OPLM, is well maintained and widely adopted.

I would be super happy, if a sync with AntennaPod would be available! :slightly_smiling_face:

That would be interesting, but I don’t think Nextcloud News offers or can offer all necessary features. In News the read/unread status could replace the new/not new label in AntennaPod, and I think we could sync favourites. But features like queue, playback position and played status could not be synced. Especially the latter is problematic.

But you might create an issue in the Nextcloud News repository/forum to see if they’re open to expand their scope. If they are, and it gets implemented on their side, I don’t see why not (implement support on AntennaPod’s side). But I’m sceptical they’ll be open to do so, as providing a solid RSS news server & reader is a good project of and in itself already :slight_smile:

You’re right, backup & sync are two different needs.

From my point of view, an automated backup to local storage is all I need, then my Syncthing configuration does the synchronisation with my other devices :slight_smile:

I just want something to let me sync the podcasts I subscribe to between devices, and something I can add/delete/manage subscriptions on a desktop. Trying to do it on a mobile device isn’t easy for me, since my hands shake a bit too much these days.

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A factory reset wipes that out, doesn’t it?

Do you mean the exported databases? Yes. They are saved on the sd card and if you factory reset, the sd is probably included. The idea is to copy the file to your pc.

Not having sync has been bugging me, so I finally got around to setting up my own personal gpodder online service. I got it deployable on Dokku and made a repo with code and instructions that hopefully other people can use to set up their own instances. It’s a lot easier than deploying a Django project from scratch, though it still requires some understanding of servers and how to use a command line.

I do think keeping sync functionality is valuable, despite the sad decline of gpodder.net. Other posters have touched on some of the reasons sync is useful, but I want to restate them all in one place. I think of it as three distinct needs, all of which gpodder sync does a pretty good job of addressing:

  1. Sync - Keeping state in sync between multiple clients. I sync podcasts between the gPodder client on my computer and AntennaPod on my phone, but this could also be between a phone and a tablet, or multiple phones, or even multiple clients on the same device. This is the bread and butter of gpodder sync, so it’s no surprise it excels at this use case.
  2. Backup - The situation backups should always address is “what if my device dies suddenly and without warning?” Doing a manual backup of the AntennaPod database is fine if you’re doing a planned upgrade, but if your phone suddenly self-destructs (as multiple Google phones have done to me) or if you drop it while skydiving or whatever, you’d better have automated backups. Having spent a bunch of time trying to automate backups of my Signal messages, I can tell you that getting a regular offsite backup of a file from the Android filesystem is not easy to set up and frustratingly prone to silently failing.
  3. Portability - I want to know that I can take my data with me if I want to move to another service. I always prefer software that have clear import and export paths, and sync provides an acceptable version of that. Portability is not only a reassurance that I could move to a different client entirely, but that my data exists in a format that will be resilient to things like different versions of an app. For example, I’ve had problems in the past where an older Android phone stopped receiving updates to an app, and then upon upgrading to a new phone, the newer version of the app couldn’t read the system files from the older version.
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This is the point I wanted to make. I think two things are being mashed together that are related but separate. Backup, which allows you to recover from a failure or device switch. Sync witch would allow multi devices to be used to listen to podcasts able to appear to be one device.

I would love to see these things be separate options. so if we could get say backup on schedule or change that would be great. Also I would love to see see some options for sync. I have very little faith in gpodder at the moment. I turned of failure notifications for sync.

I wish I was not a horrible coder, and had some money to help.

You can already export databases in settings to make a backup. I agree with you to have an option to schedule it would be a good idea and it has been asked with issue 1899 which is from 2016 :worried:

That issue 1889 is about backup of the settings to google, I think we need a new Github issue for schedule backup of the data

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Ha I thought it was not specific to google. As soon as I can and if nobody else already did it I will create an issue asking for that.