Adam Thurlow

GitHub Gists + RSS Reader = GistRSS

Jun. 10, 2010 - Posted by Thurloat

I am pleased to announce GistRSS (a.k.a "Pretty GitHub Gist RSS Feed App") to the world. The idea for this application came about after a frustrating conversation with a friend of mine. The problem that we exposed was that GitHub currently has mediocre Gist atom feeds. GistRSS will allow you to subscribe to any GitHubber's Gist feed and their Gist content will be sent straight to your RSS Reader fully syntax highlighed.

The History

After scouring the internet for some great tech RSS feeds, and bugging my friends for help, Erik Kastner came to the rescue with an idea to get fresh content into my RSS Reader.

The Transcript

Erik: I have a programming section but don't really have much in there
Erik: I also follow defunkt's gists ;)
Me: i never thought of following gists, thats a neat idea
Me: publish a new gist, so i can see what reader does when you post a new one
Erik: it's not very great :/
Me: sounds like a cool project, github gist pretty rss maker
Erik: that would be fantastic
Me: \*adds to to-do list\*
Erik: ttyl :)

A few hours later, I had a working prototype. Since then I've added some caching and syntax highlighting to the raw Gist content. I'm pretty excited to have people using GistRSS and it's become something that I use every day. There's no charge and never will be for this service, thanks for Google's App Engine for hosting my tiny apps for nil without coming anywhere near my free quota. According to my control panel, there are somewhere around 10-15 folks subscribed to 3-4 feeds each. Which is pretty impressive to me, for something that I may have only mentioned once or twice on Twitter.

GistRSS in Google Reader

The Future

I'm hard at work on the next version, where I'm doing a bottom up re-write. This includes caching of popular content in the Datastore, and using the task queue to re-fetch any new Gists rather than continuously pound the GistHub API when my memcache copy goes away. I'm also working on generating a dynamic 'popularly subscribed gist feeds' so you can find out what other people have subscribed to. If you encounter any bugs, irregularities or have some comments on how to improve GistRSS, head over to my open project repo: and please submit an issue report. I'll be checking it occasionally. So now that you've reached the end; head over to and consume someone's Gists.