Vocal Beta Released, Daily PPA Now Available

Screenshot from 2014-06-26 19:38:31

The first public development release of Vocal is now available!

Please keep in mind that this is a preview release. Vocal is still a work in progress. You should only use it at this point if you are comfortable running into unexpected problems and crashes.

That warning aside, I have been using it for a while now and I believe that it is starting to feel fairly stable. Your mileage may vary (and if it does, please let me know).

Most of the features of the final release are implemented in this beta, with the only major exception being embedded video support.You can manage video podcasts, and technically you can play them in Vocal, but the experience is not what I want it to be yet. Proper video playback will be added over the next few weeks and will be included in the 1.0 release, following a period of additional testing and bug fixing.

If you’re brave enough to give it a go you can add the daily (unstable) PPA by entering the below commands into a terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:nathandyer/vocal-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vocal

Vocal will only work on elementary OS Freya.* The best course of action is to wait until the Freya Beta is released before trying out Vocal. For the impatient among you, however, you should be able to run it either on a copy of Freya you have built yourself, or on Ubuntu Trusy or Utopic after installing elementary-desktop from the elementary Daily PPA.

Get Involved

Please report any bugs you come across at the project’s Launchpad page:

https://launchpad.net/vocal

If you enjoy using Vocal, and you want to continue to see cool stuff being added, please consider a donation here. Even small donations can have a HUGE impact on the project.

Keep in Touch

Let me know what you think! If you give the beta a try I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me in several different ways:

I hope you enjoy Vocal!

Vocal Development Update #4

We are getting close to the first beta for Vocal! Despite a few minor setbacks that caused me to miss three or four days of planned coding, everything is still right on schedule and it looks like my initial goal of having a beta out by the end of June will be possible. At this point all the core features that I want implemented before the first development release have been added, which means the next few weeks will be focused on fixing a handful of remaining bugs and then additional polish before I release it into the wild for the first time.

Please keep in mind any screenshots you see may very well change between now and the final release. This is still a look at a work in progress.

Screenshot from 2014-05-22 22:02:28

Screenshot from 2014-05-26 15:35:06Vocal feels a lot more functional as of late. For one thing, the downloads system has been added (although there are some small problems I need to fix). Active download information is presented in a new popup available from the toolbar. Files are downloaded to the local library, and Vocal knows whether to play the local or remote version automatically. Users are able to tell whether or not a file has been downloaded by looking in the episode view. Not only that, but now unplayed episodes are marked with a star so you can always tell what you have and haven’t listened to yet.

It has also received further integration with the desktop. Once episodes have been downloaded, or if it discovers that new episodes are available, a system notification gets sent. The dock icon also displays information about the number of unplayed episodes and total download progress.

Screenshot from 2014-05-23 18:40:54Lots of other fixes have been implemented, including a critical fix for a bug in the the feed parser that prevented certain podcasts from being added. I also fixed an issue where only certain episodes were added to the library.

The beta is still a few weeks away, but the most challenging parts for this pre-release are behind me. That being said, I want to make the app feel as solid as possible before I let others kick the tires.

Vocal Development Update #3

Big features and new improvements have been added to Vocal this past week, including two of the most critical components: the database and the episode updates. While there are plenty of bugs remaining to be squashed, those two parts are now operational.

Check out the latest screencast:

Although development this week has been primarily focused on those two features, additional bug fixing and polishing has been underway. The welcome screen text has been reworded to be more clear and concise. A new error message has been added when a feed cannot be parsed (as opposed to simply crashing). Overall, Vocal feels much more stable than it did just a week ago.

But there is still quite a lot of work to be done before an alpha or beta release will be available. I still need to add downloads, which also means adding local podcast file management. Additionally, I need to add OPML support so that you can transfer your subscriptions over to Vocal.

So stay tuned! We’re getting closer and closer to Vocal’s first public development release.