Sunday, May 2, 2010

Productivity tweak: mailing list email -> RSS

It's spring cleaning time, and my inbox was starting to really show the clutter. The biggest culprit: the many mailing lists I subscribe to in order to keep a finger on the latest happenings in various GIS & developer communities.

I do the same thing via RSS, using Google Reader, and it works much better than email. Unfortunately, most of the mailing lists I'm interested in don't have RSS-ified archives. So I wrote a short script that downloads email messages directly into an RSS feed; this is just a quick post to share it with the world:

Here's the short rundown on how I've set things up:
  • I set up a filter in gmail that automatically labels mailing list traffic and has it get archived immediately.
  • The email-to-rss script downloads new messages from that gmail label, converts them to HTML, and builds an RSS index. I have it save the results into a public dropbox folder to save me the step of uploading them to a server somewhere.
  • Then, I just give the public address of the final rss file to Google Reader, and schedule the script to run automatically.
Nothing too complicated; so far it's working nicely (although weekend traffic has been too light to be sure it's 100% there). Hopefully it's useful to someone besides just me; bug reports and patches are more than welcome!