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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Python script to compose iPhone marketing images

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An excuse to use Python

I consider myself a polyglot programmer and try to learn a new language every now and again. My latest is Python and I can say that I love it! It’s easy to learn, has a HUGE library, very good support for lists and dictionaries and is flexible enough to be an ideal choice from small scripts to large frameworks.

I’ve been doing a lot of Python scripts for all sorts of small jobs and my latest script might be of interest to some of the readers of this blog.

I was creating a press kit for my latest app and I wanted to get some screenshots of the app and compose them inside an iPhone image.

So, I wanted to get the image on the left and create the one on the right:

    

Of course I could use PhotoShop or Pixelmator and do this all manually but I had 8 of these and a craving for Python. So I fired up CodeRunner and started writing a Python script. Turns out that, with the use of the incredible Python Imaging Library it was a breeze.

So I decided to open source this so everyone could use it: https://github.com/gpambrozio/PythonScripts. Feel free to grab it, fork it, improve it and make a pull request.

Pre-requisites

This script uses PIL. The easiest way to install PIL is using pip:

sudo pip install PIL

Using the script

To use the script place your screenshot files in the same folder as the script and the EmptyiPhone.png file and run it. The script will create new files with ss_ prefixes for all .png files found in the folder.

Changing the iPhone image

To use a different image or to adapt the script for an iPad screen for example, change the EmptyiPhone.png image or the name of the image in the script and change the coordinates used to paste the original screen shots. I plan to automate this step by analyzing the image and finding the transparent rectangle in the middle but so far this is a manual step.

Hope you like it.

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