Podcasts on the command-line, in Rust

April 8, 2018

I've been listening to more podcasts recently on my commute and at the gym, including New Rustacean and AB Testing. I currently use Clementine to manage my podcasts, but it's not perfect - the "Copy to device" menu option was greyed out this morning, so I had to copy podcast episodes on manually.

I've been looking for a small project to work on to practice Rust, and here I have a problem that needs solving - so I've spent some time today hacking together a simple text interface program in Rust to manage podcasts. The code is at https://github.com/rkday/podcast-manager.rs.

Here's a screenshot:


Currently, it can:

  • download and parse an RSS feed
  • show all podcast episodes as a list
  • allow the user to scroll through that list with Up and Down
  • show extra information about an episode in the siebar

Next steps:

  • download the MP3 to my MP3 player when I hit 'y'
  • allow multiple podcasts (currently, AB Testing is hardcoded)
  • fix the unhelpful delay at the start where it downloads the feed URL (a loading screen? caching?)

Longer-term futures:

  • support feed formats like Atom
  • support deleting podcasts off a device
  • maybe even support playback from the console?

Rust turned out to be a pretty reasonable language for this kind of thing - the https://github.com/fdehau/tui-rs crate is quite impressive, and the ecosystem is already far enough along for https://github.com/rust-syndication/rss to exist.

I did spot one bug in the wider Rust ecosystem when writing this - the AB Testing podcast's descriptions crashed the Rust textwrap library due to https://github.com/mgeisler/textwrap/issues/129 - but that's now fixed.