Be notified when a new release is created in a GitHub repository

A few weeks ago, a co-worker told me that I didn't use the latest version of TypeScript. After a quick check, I was using the version 2.1.4 whereas the latest was 2.1.5. The first thing that came in my head was, I should be notified when a new release is available on GitHub. So, I searched for a checkbox or something similar on GitHub to enable email notifications for new releases. Unfortunately, this setting is not available (or I didn't find it). However, I found the URL of a RSS feed in the source code of the page:

<link href="https://github.com/Microsoft/TypeScript/releases.atom" rel="alternate" title="TypeScript Release Notes" type="application/atom+xml" />

You can add this RSS in Feedly or any other feed readers. However, I prefer receiving an email to be sure I don't forget to install the latest version. The idea is to use Zapier to automate the process of sending an email when a new item is added the feed. (Note: you can also use IFFFT, or Microsoft Flow)

On their home page, I searched for "RSS" and "email". The second suggested zap was the one I look for:

The creation process is very simple. First, you enter the URL of the feed:

Then, enter your email address and the content of the body:

Zapier will send you a test email with the latest feed item:

Your zap is created 😃 You'll now receive an email when a release is created in the TypeScript repository.

Conclusion

From a developer point of view, this post shows how implementing standard functionalities, such as a RSS feed, allow the users of your service to get lots of additional functionalities. Developing an email notification system is not trivial and requires a few days of work. With Microsoft Flow, Zapier or IFFFT, you can provide this functionality and even lots more for free (or almost free), and in a highly customizable way. For instance, you can create a card in trello or a work item in TFS.

Feel free to look at those applications to find some ideas of workflow you can provide to your customers.

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