Get email notifications any time an author you follow posts in Hacker News.

This app is a scheduled TypeScript function that will poll Hacker News for any new posts by authors you want to follow. You can fork & customize any piece of it.

Email example screenshot of hnFollow app

Instructions

  1. Log in or sign up to Val Town
  2. Edit the list of HN usernames you want to follow
  3. Press Install
  4. Check your email 🥳

Architecture

@rodrigotello.hnFollowApp is a TypeScript function that returns a function that polls Hacker News. We save that returned function in your Val Town account as hnFollow and schedule it to run every hour.

Below is a simplified view of call stack for this app, starting with installing it at the top, polling the Hacker News Agolia API down the lefthand side, and formatting the email to send you down the righthand side.

hnFollow referencing hnFollowApp which references hnLatestPosts and hnEmail...

Forking

You can fork & edit any of these functions. You'll need to start by forking @rodrigotello.hnFollowApp, and then you can replace any calls to functions you want to change with calls to your own forked version.

Prior art

It's been tricky to strike the right balance between a personal script and a ready-to-use app. This is the 5th iteration of hnFollow. It has been:

  1. a tutorial
  2. a better tutorial
  3. a standalone app: HNFollow
  4. a forkable val: @stevekrouse.hnFollowPollJob
You can read more about the vision behind Val Town on our blog, and our first blog post in particular: End-Programmer Programming.
👆 This is a val. Vals are TypeScript snippets of code, written in the browser and run on our servers. Create scheduled functions, email yourself, and persist small pieces of data — all from the browser.