Github based projects have RSS syndication feeds for their releases

November 21, 2020

Today I discovered that Prometheus had made two bug-fixing point releases without sending email to their regular announcement list, which meant that we were still running 2.22.0 instead of the current 2.22.2. The bug fixes in 2.22.1 and 2.22.2 fortunately don't look too important to us, but it's still a bit disconcerting to discover we're out of date.

As it happens, if I want to I can arrange to never be surprised this way again. The Prometheus public repository is hosted on Github and Github provides an automatic 'RSS' syndication feeds for the release pages for all projects (it's actually in Atom syndication format, but most people don't care about that). This means that the moment something is tagged and given release notes, it will show up in the feed and then in my feed reader. So if I wanted to never be surprised by Prometheus, I could subscribe to this.

(If you have a Github account, you can also get this information in email.)

This is also a convenient way to track projects that don't have any convenient normal source of information for releases, like Grafana. Grafana doesn't announce all releases through email or any other readily tracked source, but they do have a Github repository and so for a fair while now I've subscribed to its release page in my syndication feed reader. It's been very handy and has definitely reduced the annoyance level of the whole situation.

(Big periodic Grafana releases are announced on their blog, but they don't announce point releases like v7.3.3 there. There is a Discourse topic that does get the release notes for new point releases (eg), but you have to keep checking the specific topic for the latest release to see point releases.)

However, my Grafana release syndication feed has also shown me the potential hazards of completely trusting it for release information. Grafana appears to sometimes expose the tag before having fully released everything, with the artifacts available for download, release notes published, and so on. So I've learned to hold off a bit and to check Grafana's other information sources. Just because a tag and some build artifacts have appeared on Github doesn't mean that I want to immediately grab them (for anything).

PS: I'm not sure where and how I found this out, but it was back in February of this year and I think someone told me.

PPS: Github also has feeds for other things, and I suspect that other 'forges' like Gitlab also have similar feeds but I haven't checked.

Written on 21 November 2020.
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Last modified: Sat Nov 21 01:24:16 2020
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