GitHub 2 Evernote – Making the watch button useful again.

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I love GitHub. But there was a feature that was never very useful to me (and it seems I’m not alone at this): watched repositories.

When I see a repo that I might be remotely interested in, I start watching it. Sort of a bookmark since GitHub does not have a “Like” button. But then what? One day I want to use a library I’m sure I’ve added to my watched repos but… what was the name again? Damn these non descriptive project names! Well, I’m guilty of that one too

There should be a solution to this but I could not find any. And being a developer, avid user of Evernote and wanting a project to use as an exercise to learn Django I decided to take matters into my own hands and do it myself.

So I made a Django app that will take every watched repositories of a GitHub user (or even more than one), scrape their readmes and add them as notes in an Evernote notebook.

I’ve been testing it with my GitHub repos and my Evernote for a few weeks and it really changed the way I work with GitHub. I’m using Evernote to find “lost” repos almost every day now and I started watching even more repos than before. I had 100 watched repositories when I started and now I’m at 130.

So I decided it was time to release my baby in the wild. After a few days waiting for GitHub to give me their blessing (I wanted to make sure I was not violating any TOU) and authorize me to use their logo (I made a very cute octophant but they did not like that and I had to replace it with their regular octocat) now I can release it. And it’s the right day for it because a lot of people are complaining about the watch button on HN. I’m limiting registrations to 100 users so I can see how my server reacts but since I’m using Heroku for hosting I think I can just scale up if there’s need for it. I’ll release more spots as soon as I can guarantee the server can handle.

The process is simple: just authorize access to your Evernote account (you have one, don’t you?), enter your GitHub user name, choose an Evernote notebook (I recommend you create a new one just for this) and you’re done. The readme of every watched project you have will be added as a note to your chosen Evernote notebook. This is done every now and again so when you start watching a new repo it’ll eventually find its way into your notebook. After you register and configure your account you should see notes being added to your notebook in a few minutes.

I’m thinking about open sourcing the app but I would have to reorganize the code to remove my Evernote API keys for example.

I hope you like the service and start making good use of your watched repos. I might even have some you might want to watch….

And if you think this is worth a couple of bucks, just buy a copy of Snap, my iPhone camera app.

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  • Marcus Potter

    thanks for scratching a useful itch we all have with our GIT Watch lists (haha). My Watched repro’s and colleagues are now importing to Evernote. I will see how confusing that gets (haha2)

    Thanks again

  • Björn Wilmsmann

    This looks very interesting. This certainly scratches an itch I’m having with Github, too. However, I’m kind of wary of granting an application all-out access to my Evernote account. Could you maybe limit the access permission request to a specific notebook? Apart from that, do you still intend to open source this app?

    • Gustavo Ambrozio

      I agree about the very broad access but there is (or at least there was not at the time) another way to do this.

      I should open source it as it is but I’m afraid it’s probably not even working anymore…. Not sure about it to be honest. Evernote changed a few things on their API and I don’t know if my app still works…