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ActivityPub for Podcast Client Apps

As of January 2022

These docs represent the subset of the Fediverse/ActivityPub information necessary to implement the activitypub protocol specified in the comments for podcasting proposal from It's targeted at developers of podcasting apps wanting to integrate these standardized comments into their own apps.

State of ActivityPub implementations

In practice, ActivityPub is comprised of two main modes of interaction. From the spec :


Podcast client apps can use the client-to-server (or c2s) ActivityPub interactions to fetch objects (e.g. public comments, user names/avatars) in a server-agnostic way. The c2s interactions are the easiest to get started with, since the podcast app can interact with existing servers directly, without needing to stand up another internet-facing service of their own.

However, given the open-ended nature of the ActivityPub, ActivityStream, and related specs, popular Fediverse server implementations like Mastodon & Pleroma surface only a subset of their full functionality over c2s ActivityPub, reserving the rest for their proprietary c2s API (such as the Mastodon REST API ).

Reading information via standard ActivityPub is generally available in all servers, but writing back (posting) is constrained (in Pleroma's case) or completely nonexistant (in Mastodon's case).

Authorization is also left out of the ActivityPub spec, so c2s scenarios that require it (like posting) will be server-specific. Fortunately, Mastodon has a simple oauth process (which Pleroma supports as well) as part of their REST API.


Podcast client apps could also choose to use the server-to-server (or s2s) ActivityPub interactions to host their own comments for federation out to the server specified by the podcaster in their feed. This requires more work, but means a higher fidelity integration with popular Fediverse server implementations, since this is the part of ActivityPub they support the most.

This would be the right choice if a podcast client app wanted to use an existing user system without having to deal with users creating new accounts on external servers.

It's more complicated, and requires keeping user-generated content on your own server infrastructure, and operating your own 24/7 internet service as another part of your stack.

Minipub gives you a service you can use to make this much easier.

Podcast client app scenarios

Walkthroughs of specific examples relevant to podcast apps

Useful Docs

ActivityPub Spec

Activity Vocabulary Spec

Activity Streams 2.0 Spec (defines Collection, the type of replies)

Mastodon: Obtaining client app access