internal tools

big balls of mud killer
, in 13 June 2013

When working on the podcast for datafruits I did lots of repetitive tasks. I was inspired by companies like Github that have a passion for internal tools. I decided to try to whip up a few tools of my own to make this task a little more efficient and fun.

The tools I created are simple command line scripts in Ruby. Its quite easy to make something quickly if you use hoe and an options parsing library like Trollop.

I made a tool for uploading the mp3s so S3 and updating the podcast xml. It uses Nokogiri and the aws gem. This tool might be too specific to my workflow for anyone else to use, I don’t know how other people make their podcasts. :)

I made another tool for tagging mp3s. I was using eyeD3 but I got kind of annoyed about its syntax for adding album art. I could never remember the exact syntax with all the options, so I made my mp3 tagger use a simpler syntax, just --pic <path_to_file>. There are other options in eyeD3 for setting the front or back album art that I never use, so I didn’t bother including them in my tagger.

I decided to upload my mp3 tagger rp3 to, since it might be marginally useful to other people. I’m not sure about podcast_updater however, so I’ll hold off on that for now.

Its educational and rewarding to make your own tools, and the benefits you get from speeding up your workflow are worth it.