Work is going on to standardize a bunch of information specific to podcasts in RSS feeds. A subset of this work has been to specify a format for podcast chapter information, in the form of a JSON file which can be linked from the RSS feed itself. Somehow, one of the energetic people working on the standard discovered the JSON export option I added to Podcast Chapters a while ago, reached out and suggested we collaborate so that the standard and the app could work well together.
My contribution mainly consisted of moving away from how Podcast Chapters exported in a few places, solutions and names I had chosen simply because they were convenient in my particular situation.
I also sat down and added the new format as an export option, so if you use the latest version of the app you will be able to create JSON files which will hopefully be used by podcast apps and hosting services in the future.
I was very flattered that the creators found me, invited me to participate, and were so interested in my suggestions. I am also just a little bit frustrated that I did not discover all this interesting work on my own. Not as some angry frustration, more like "what else I would really enjoy and learn is out there that I do not know about?" How do I find goodies faster, that kind of thing.
Chapters were of course very natural to support for me, but there are several more interesting tags in the standard, for information which it might be natural to enter in Podcast Chapters if the app is a part of your workflow. So one next step for me is to try and find out if and how I can extend the app to become a good puzzle piece in a workflow for more things than a single MP3 file. Should I export snippets of RSS? Should I take on exporting entire RSS items or feed templates? Suddenly there is a world of interesting possibilities.
Another interesting aspect is the mental shift: what this podcast namespace does is in many cases lifting information into a more easily managed and distributed format which was already available as ID3 metadata inside of audio files. After a little while wondering if that would eventually render Podcast Chapters obsolete, it dawned on me that I should probably think of the app as a somewhat more general metadata manager for a podcast. It may be focused on MP3 metadata right now, but if you also want to put the information inside RSS - or some completely different format - the app should still be able to provide value.
(Yet another tangent of no use to pretty much anyone: Because of the flexibility of the ID3 format, pretty much anything from the podcast namespace could easily be baked into the MP3 as well. Not that any app would think to look there, but it would work very well if for some reason you wanted to store all the data inside the file.)