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

  • Gérald Barré

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 version 2.1.4 whereas the latest was 2.1.5. The first thing that came to 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 an 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 to 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's point of view, this post shows how implementing standard functionalities, such as an RSS feed, allows 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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