Generate a RSS Feed of recent files inside a Git repository

Posted on 16 Mar, 2021

I like to log my notes & TILs in a git repository and recently I had an idea to showcase (& automate) my most recent learnings on my github profile.

Github is nice enough to provide us with RSS feeds for the latest commits inside a repo but it lacks the most basic thing of telling me what commit introduced a new file (i.e recent files in a repo).

The following command will show each new relative path that was added to the git history along with the commit date (sorted by most recent).

git log --no-color --date=format:'%d %b, %Y' --diff-filter=A --name-status --pretty='%ad'

If you just want the file names, leave the --pretty option empty

git log --no-color --date=format:'%d %b, %Y' --diff-filter=A --name-status --pretty=''

You should see something like this

 A   scripts/oib
 A   scripts/surf
 A   snippets/python.snippets
 A   snippets/markdown.snippets
 A   .Xmodmap
 A   codesnippets/
 A   scripts/areyouok.go
 A   scripts/
 A   scripts/

To generate recent N results use the -n flag

git log --no-color -n 5 --date=format:'%d %b, %Y' --diff-filter=A --name-status --pretty=''

If you want to follow renames as well,

git log --no-color --date=format:'%d %b, %Y' --diff-filter=AR --name-status --pretty=''

The magic here is done by the --diff-filter=A option that only shows files that were Added. I remember using this to find birthday of README files.

NOTE: We are assuming that the file creation date to be the date of the commit that introduced the file and since its a Feed for a git repo, this should make sense (I was born when I was committed 😁️)

Here is a python script to generate a valid RSS feed

#!/usr/bin/env python3

# Script to generate a feed of recently committed files in a git repository

# TODO: Add Commit Author #

import subprocess as sp
import pathlib
import re, os
import datetime
from dateutil.parser import parse

HEAD = """<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">

FOOTER = """</channel>

# Assuming your current working dir is the repo
repo_name = os.path.basename(os.getcwd())
current_date ="%a, %d %b %Y")

def get_recent_files():
    cmd = "git log --no-color -n 10 --date=rfc --diff-filter=A --name-status --pretty='%ad'"
    result = sp.Popen(cmd, shell=True, stdout=sp.PIPE, stderr=sp.PIPE)
    out, err = result.communicate()
    clean_output = out.decode("utf-8").replace("A\t", "").split("\n")
    clean_output = list(filter(lambda x: x != "", clean_output))

    files = []
    for item in clean_output:
        if is_valid(item):
            date = item
        elif pathlib.Path(item).exists():
            entry = item, date
    return files

def is_valid(date):
        if isinstance(parse(date), datetime.datetime):
            return True
    except ValueError:
        return False

def get_repo_link():
    repo_origin = "git config --get remote.origin.url"
    result = sp.Popen(repo_origin, shell=True, stdout=sp.PIPE, stderr=sp.PIPE)
    result, err = result.communicate()
    return result.decode("utf-8")

if __name__ == "__main__":
    files = get_recent_files()
    with open("feed.xml", "w") as feed:
            f"""<description>Recently committed files in {repo_name}</description>\n"""
        for item in files:

The XML generated is valid enough to be consumed without any issue. Here is a demo of output from the above script.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">
<description>Recently committed files in til</description>
<lastBuildDate>Wed, 17 Mar 2021</lastBuildDate><item>
<pubDate>Tue, 16 Mar 2021 16:24:47 +0530</pubDate>
<pubDate>Tue, 16 Mar 2021 16:24:47 +0530</pubDate>
<pubDate>Mon, 15 Mar 2021 19:26:12 +0530</pubDate>
<pubDate>Sat, 13 Mar 2021 13:11:02 +0530</pubDate>
<pubDate>Sun, 7 Mar 2021 19:42:28 +0530</pubDate>

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