Introducing selfh.st/releases, a Collection of RSS Release Feeds for Self-Hosted Software
Self-hosted release update feeds for applications across a variety of categories and sites
I spend a fair amount of time each week gathering information and content for our weekly self-hosted newsletter, This Week in Self-Hosted. A large potion of this time is spent monitoring self-hosted projects for noteworthy updates.
There was a point in time I could rely on r/selfhosted and other self-hosted/open-source communities for these updates. However, given the impacts of the recent actions surrounding Reddit's API changes and the realization that self-hosted software is much larger than any single community, I've been searching for a better way to aggregate this content.
The obvious solution is to simply subscribe to each GitHub repository's release notifications, which I initially tried. However, GitHub doesn't provide filters for which types of notifications are received. As a result, my inbox quickly filled up with pre-release notifications for beta and release-candidate updates that I just wasn't interested in receiving. Additionally, I'm not interested in signing up for more e-mails – I digest most of my news and content via RSS.
I tried to come up with fancy workarounds, which included adding a separate Kill-the-Newsletter e-mail address to my GitHub account for release notifications via RSS. This still didn't resolve the pre-release/beta notifications, and I was also missing out on notifications for repositories that didn't reside on GitHub.
I found other neat solutions, like newreleases.io, which is a great (and somehow free) tool that allows users to sign up for release notifications across a number of sites – not just GitHub. It allowed me to easily filter out the pre-release notifications for each repository I followed, but because it reads tag data, I was still regularly logging in to my account to fine-tune which updates I was receiving through custom RegEx (developers don't always tag their releases appropriately). (Also, it's not a self-hosted solution.)
So I did what any other normal, self-hosting amateur would have done – I sat down and spent hours learning how to write a Python script to scrape the GitHub API every hour and return an RSS feed (using the feedgen library) for each repository while filtering out pre-release data and other noise.
The end result is a collection of custom RSS feeds that provide the latest updates for many self-hosted GitHub repositories (GitLab support is in-progress). Each feed entry links directly to the release on GitHub and the release notes are imported directly into the body:
While I wrote the script under the pretense that I'd use these feeds privately to build the weekly newsletter, I've decided to publish the feed links in the spirit of self-hostedness. I'm also committing to publishing a repository with the script and mapping dictionaries I've created after it's been fine-tuned for those who'd like to generate and host their own feeds.
I'm not a technical person by trade (self-hosting is a hobby), but I'm also looking into other streamlined solutions – like developing an RSS-Bridge plugin to make it easier to filter individual applications from the master feed rather than maintaining 200+ release feeds. (If you have any better ideas, please reach out.) In the meantime, consider this a work-in-progress and be gentle with your feedback.
If any of this interests you, check out the link below for more information and an appendix of RSS release feeds for your favorite self-hosted software. I've provided individual feeds for each application as well as a total, aggregated feed containing all releases and separate feeds for software categories.
If you're interested in monitoring the latest self-hosted releases but don't have a desire to spin up your own feed reader, feel free to bookmark the public, read-only instance of RSS I've deployed at releases.selfh.st that's subscribed to the category feeds for easy filtering:
I'll continue adding new and existing software to the list over time and am completely open to requests if I'm missing any you'd like to follow.
Thanks, and as always – happy selfh.st/ing!