Hi All,

The September release of the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint is available for download here. As a Codeplex project it provides a great place to start building out your own Media Knowledge portal that is tailored to your organizational needs. There are many fine Microsoft partners who are already ramped up on the solution and prepared to deliver it and extend and customize it to meet your corporate needs so please contact your local Microsoft resources to find out the best course of  action in implementing it.

So just what can you do with the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint? Check this out from the homepage:

“What Can You Do With Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS)?:

  • Listen and watch audio/video podcasts, anywhere on your PC or mobile device (Zune, SmartPhone, or any podcasting device)
  • Share content by producing your own audio/video podcasts and publish them on PKS on your own.
  • Connect and engage with podcasters via your integrated instant messaging program
  • Find the most relevant content using the five star rating system, tag cloud, search engine and provide your feedback via comments.
  • Get automatic podcast updates by subscribing to RSS feeds fully compatible with Zune and other podcasting devices
    • Simple RSS feed based on a defined podcast series
    • Simple RSS feed based on a person
    • Dynamic RSS feed based on search results (will be implemented later in 2009)
  • Play podcasts in real-time using Microsoft® Silverlight™ and progressive playback
  • Retrieve instant ROI and metrics with the ability to track the number of podcasts downloaded and/or viewed, instant feedback via rating system and comments, and subscribers via the RSS feed
  • Access the richness of SharePoint to extend the solution: workflows, community sub-sites, access rights, editorial and more
  • Customize your own PKS User Experience

Now that you know what it does, why would you use it?

If you or your organizations are interested in podcasting, have SharePoint Server 2007 deployed and about to develop your own podcasting solution then look no further. PKS will save you time, reduce your risk of developing a solution ground-up, and of course will save you money. Moreover, you will find on Codeplex a vibrant community of people, organizations and partners who are available to help you, and share with you their own experiences. We strongly recommend that you work with an integration partner for the deployment and maintenance of your own PKS environment. We have listed several partners that we know, but you could just ask your local partner or IT department to help you out.
PKS is not a traditional Microsoft Product in a sense that it is distributed with its source code, using the Public License license and free of charge (if you already own SharePoint Server 2007). It is not supported by Microsoft, and we recommend that you ask your integration partner for such a support. Since the PKS's code is distributed any partner who understands development for SharePoint 2007 will be able to deliver this support for you.

Below I am including the latest release notes, fixes and additional features as well as planned future inclusions. There is also a note about the Podcast libraries I am including that is important to take note of if you are looking to try and go this alone.

The September Beta is Here! (and in September) download it via the release tab.

What’s in this release:

  • A new version of the MediaEncoder, delivering on-demand and server-side media file re-encoding. The MediaEncoder can be activated via the user interface (in the Podcast Detail page). Clicking the button will add the media to the encoding queue if the item does not already exist. The queue is a newly created “Media Encoder Queue” library in your SharePoint site. Every minute the MediaEncoder will check the queue and start re-encoding any new item using the Microsoft Encoder Expression 2.0 API.
  • A new co-podcaster webpart, fixing performance issues found in the August Tech Preview
  • An updated podcaster search mechanism that works with the profile out of the box and alternate fields
  • A streamlined deployment as well as a better upgrade experience preserving your existing podcast data
  • Passed the Security and Threat analysis reviews
  • Several bug fixes including:
    • Setting the PKS Podcast libraries edit rights to “Only edit your own” works
    • IE 8 support
    • Several alternate profile fields are now showing properly
    • Podcaster detail page shows podcasts where the individual is a co-podcaster
    • Podcaster can upload a thumbnail manually... and many more (check out the release notes in the documentation section).

What we could not get in time and is in the queue for our future releases:

  • The new download tracker design (HTTP Module) allowing the tracking of RSS downloads.
  • An updated version of the CBQ override allowing the display of the number of pages and the total number of podcasts in the view.
  • The podcaster rating, cumulative number of downloads and contribution
  • The podcaster Zune RSS subscription (this requires a design change: one aspx page per podcaster)
  • The podcast search results Zune RSS subscription (this requires a design change)
  • A reporting page that will also return download actions
  • An updated podcast detail page design that limits the query strings to 256 characters. It recently appeared to us that the current query string is too long and not compatible with the Outlook “hyperlink” feature.

Thanks for your support in PKS and Happy Podcasting!

** Just wanted to also note that this release of the PKS still does not easily support having podcast libraries in sub-sites.  We are working on some of the deployment issues for future releases, however the recommendation at this time is to deploy at the root of the web application.  There are some manual steps you can try in order to activate the PKS on sub-sites if it is critical.

1. Your subsite should be created using the Publishing site template

2. You will need to create a list called PKS Left Navigation Items using the PKS Left Navigation Items list template

3. You will need to manually recreate all of the pages from the Pages document library in the root site for PKS by manually creating the pages and exporting then importing the web parts

4. You will need to make a few changes in the XSL for the grid view in order to point to the correct podcast and podcaster detail pages

5. You will need to update all of the grid view web content query web parts to point to your new XSL

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