Would you download a podcast app that specified it needed permission to read your Gmail?
I certainly wouldn’t!

But that’s one of the dilemma’s that Shifty Jelly Adelaide Based developers of Pocketcasts have to deal with as a part of their Beta testing that both Lucas and I are involved with.

Due to an installation issue that I encountered when installing the beta build I had to remove pocketcasts from my phone, then reinstall from the apk that was sent to me. As most users of pocketcasts do, I utilize their OPML export from the app to ensure I have copy of all of my podcast feeds seperate from the device for just such an occasion.

Here’s where the complication comes in for the devs: As a Google native device, it’s fairly safe to assume that the users are utilizing gmail as their primary email account. Unfortunately for the app to read opml exports (the feed export that the app keeps) from your email, pocketcasts has be setup to read your Gmail.

Thus enters the dilemma: Do the developers

  1. setup pocketcasts to read Gmail which would no doubt cause many users massive concern?
  2. or

  3. leave the app without permissions to read Gmail, but risk errors importing the opml data, unhappy clients and support emails coming in?

I was more than happy to help them out with their testing of this issue and discovered that you could download the attachment to your device, THEN open it from my SD storage without issue. Unfortunately not all users would think of this without prompting to download the attachment. A few emails later, they’ve added some error messages in along the lines of “if you’re importing an OPML file, do it from your SD card to avoid errors”.

It’s been an interesting experience being involved with the Beta testing so far. I’m really pleased to have been able to assist in developing such a great app.

Thanks to Russell and Phil from Shifty Jelly for having us on the Beta and consenting to me writing about the experience.


    1. Why bother attempting to store the OPML file remotely at all? Can’t they just write it to SD?
      This is how Doggcatcher does it.

    2. Firstly, the name “Shifty Jelly” probably doesn’t help if you’re asking for access to someone’s email.

      Secondly, can’t they just set it up to use Google Reader so I don’t have to worry about OPML export / import stuff in the first place?

      Thirdly, they could just store users’ OPML export files on their servers…