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Published: May 31, 2022 License: AGPL-3.0 Imports: 37 Imported by: 0


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yt2pod is a daemon that monitors YouTube channels and publishes audio podcasts of them.

A podcast episode needn't be created for every video uploaded to a channel. They can be filtered based on title and upload date.

A single instance of yt2pod can monitor multiple YouTube channels simultaneously and publish a separate audio podcast based on each (and even multiple podcasts based on the same channel).

A built-in webserver serves the following for each podcast:

  • RSS Feed:
    • http://YOURDOMAIN.COM/meta/SHORT_NAME.xml
  • Artwork:
    • http://YOURDOMAIN.COM/meta/SHORT_NAME.jpg
  • Audio Episodes:
    • http://YOURDOMAIN.COM/ep/id_of_source_youtube_video.EXT
    • ...
    • ...

The capitalised parts are specified in your config file.


Configuration is specified in a JSON file. Here is an example config file.

Each podcast is configured as an element of the "podcasts" array. In each:

  • yt_channel is either the YouTube channel's Username or its ID (a 24-character string starting "UC"). Note that on modern YouTube, not every channel has a Username. Go to the channel's page using your web browser and look at the URL and you will find either one or the other.

  • epoch is a date ("YYYY-MM-DD" or an empty string to mean the beginning of time). Videos uploaded before the epoch are ignored.

  • title_filter is a regular expression. Videos with a title matching it have a podcast episode created for them.

    • Use an empty string if you want them all.
    • If you want to filter them, when possible, try to use a verbatim substring of the video titles you are interested in (i.e. don't make use of any regexp metacharacters), because this approach will cause less of your YouTube Data API quota to be used up.
  • name is the name of the podcast to be shown to the user in their podcast client.

  • description is the description of the podcast to be shown to the user in their podcast client. If this is omitted or is the empty string, a matter-of-fact description will be generated.

  • custom_image is a filesystem path (relative to the data directory - see the -data flag) for a custom image to use for the podcast's artwork. If this is omitted or is the empty string, the avatar image of the YouTube user this podcast is based on will be used.

  • short_name is a unique name that will be used for things like the podcast feed's file name and logging. For example, for podcast with a name of "This Week In Bikeshedding", use a short_name like "twib".

  • video is a boolean which when set to true will cause the podcast to be a video podcast instead of a traditional audio podcast.

If you do not wish to expose the built-in webserver directly on the internet, you can set a link_proxy top-level key in the config file (e.g. "link_proxy": "",). This will cause the download links in the podcast feeds to be prefixed with that URI scheme & host, instead of http:// and the host yt2pod itself is listening on (which is configured with serve_host).

Command-line Flags

In addition to the config file, there are a handful of command-line flags:

  yt2pod [flags]

  -config string
      path to config file (default "config.json")
  -data string
      path to directory to change into and write data (created if needed) (default "data")
      during initialisation, remove files in the data directory that are irrelevant given the current config
      send log statements to syslog rather than writing them to stderr
      show version information then exit

YouTube Data API

🚨 YouTube's Data API is used to query information. You need your own API key to be able to use that API and hence yt2pod.

Building and running using Docker

This project has a Dockerfile to facilitate containerized building and deployment.

Get the Dockerfile by cloning this repository and then use the following command to build the Docker image:

docker build . --tag yt2pod

It can then be run using, for example, the following command:

docker run --mount "type=bind,src=$PWD,dst=/srv" --publish 8888:8120 yt2pod

After you see from the output that it has successfully started, visit http://localhost:8888/ in your browser to see what's being served. Note that the filenames in the ep directory are not intended to be meaningful; it's the RSS feeds in the meta directory that give each podcast episode its proper title.

Files and persistence with Docker

The --mount part of the docker run command above establishes a Bind Mount between the current directory on the host machine and the working directory that yt2pod uses within the container. The two notable effects of this are:

  1. It allows yt2pod to read and use the example config file that is provided as part of this repository (config.json). You will want to edit this config file. The container image itself does not have a config file baked into it.
  2. The files that yt2pod creates (audio/video, cover-art, RSS feeds) will not be lost if/when later using a rebuilt container image (e.g. yt2pod with a bugfix), because they will exist under the current directory on the host machine. Without doing this, they would exist only inside a specific container's internal filesystem.

For different usage scenarios, you might want to run with a Named Volume instead of a Bind Mount, and/or alter the Dockerfile to bake your custom config file into the container image.

Building manually

Assuming you already have the Go toolchain (installed from your package manager, or from here), run the following, which will download this project's source code and build it:

go install

The yt2pod command should now be built and located in ~/go/bin (or in $GOPATH/bin if your machine has a custom GOPATH defined).

🚨 The yt2pod command calls out to the youtube-dl command at runtime. You should make sure you have youtube-dl installed (it is available in all good package managers).

  • UPDATE: Since the youtube-dl project stopped being maintained in mid-2021, certain maintained forks of it (if installed) will be used instead.
    • See defaultDownloaderNames in this source file for which ones.
    • Or, explicitly specify a custom command name using "downloader_name": "..." in your config file.

Setting up as a Linux service

If you don't want to run using Docker, then you will probably want to set up yt2pod as a service in your Linux distribution of choice.

See hints regarding systemd and OpenRC.


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