Blogging and Podcasting for ONDCP

Yesterday, I gave a presentation at the RSS, Podcasts, etc! workshop along with a colleague. Our presentation isn’t available on NOAA’s website yet, but you can download it here if you’re interested.

From what I saw and heard, NOAA, NASA, and the US Geological Survey are the furthest along in implementing RSS feeds and podcasts. Surprisingly enough, there are very few government agency blogs. Even the one Aspen (now Lockheed Martin IT) developed for ONDCP doesn’t have an RSS feed yet. There was very little use of blogging software to automate RSS feed generation. A number of our fellow presenters talked about custom solutions on the LAMP stack that retrieved content from databases.

Our podcasting solution for ONDCP was the only one that used Microsoft technology. The code we started with was a demo application including an Access database, a feed generation page, and a number of admin pages for adding, updating, and deleting RSS feed items. Our customizations included the following:

  • making the application run against SQL Server instead of Access
  • adding iTunes-specific tags
  • XSL to transform the raw XML into something viewable by users with regular web browsers

The solution works reasonably well, but it isn’t as fully-featured as WordPress or MovableType. LMIT will be using Community Server as part of the redesign of ONDCP’s current blog, We’re using version 1.1 on an extranet project I’m managing and it’s got tons of feature. I think it’s overkill for a single blog, but if ONDCP decides they want forum functionality, photo galleries, blog rolling, etc, Community Server gives them all that out of the box.