Radio UserLand Kick Start: Publishing Files Automatically

This is part of Chapter 1 of the book Radio UserLand Kick Start by Rogers Cadenhead, published by Sams Publishing

Another reason that I keep Radio running during the workday is to let it handle one of the more burdensome chores of Web development: transferring files to the Web when they are ready for publication.

Radio is designed to publish content automatically to a Radio Community Server, an XML-RPC Web hosting service that's free for a year with the purchase of the software.

Most Radio webloggers are using UserLand's server or the one offered by the online magazine Salon. There's also Python Community Server, an open-source project suitable for Radio hosting.

As an alternative to community servers, Radio can publish Web sites to any server with File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Because I run my own Linux server, I publish Workbench there with FTP.

Radio uses a method of Web site publishing that may be unique, a process that UserLand calls upstreaming:

  1. If you are working on a Web page, you save it on your computer in Radio's www folder or one of its subfolders. Your file is either a text file or an XML outline, not an HTML document.
  2. Radio finds the file, recognizes that it has been added or changed recently, and uses it as the source material for a Web page.
  3. The finished product, a Web page, is uploaded to the server hosting the site.

The result is two versions of your Web content: Source files on your computer in text or XML format, and rendered output files on the server in HTML format.

This is illustrated by Figure 1.5, which uses an FTP program to show the source folder on my computer (left pane) and the destination folder on the Web server (right pane).

Viewing local and remote folders managed by Radio

Figure 1.5.

Viewing local and remote folders managed by Radio. (Enlarge)

Upstreaming also can be used for more traditional publishing, uploading a file without modification from your computer to a server. This is what happens when a text file or XML outline is saved in Radio's www\gems folder, a convenient place to store files that should be transferred verbatim.

As Radio runs, it monitors the www folder and its subfolders. If a file is deleted in one of these folders, Radio will detect this and remove the server's version of the file. Radio also looks for new files to upstream and files to upload without modification.

What makes this an essential part of my daily workflow is Radio's capability to designate different folders to publish in different ways and different places.

Right now, I'm using Radio to handle each of these tasks automatically:

  • Weblog entries on Workbench and its categories are upstreamed automatically to the /web/workbench folder and its subfolders.
  • Files saved to Radio's www\cadenhead folder are uploaded without modification to the /web/cadenhead folder and its subfolders.
  • Graphics files saved to Radio's www\client folder are uploaded as-is to a different Web server, where they are used as banner ads for another site that I maintain.

Chapter 1:

  1. Introduction
  2. Using Radio UserLand
  3. Starting the Application
  4. Reading XML Information Sources
  5. Extending Radio's Capabilities
  6. Finding Documentation
  7. Extending Radio with Tools
  8. Publishing Files Automatically
  9. Summary

Radio UserLand Kick Start home page