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Ruby Weekly: A Ruby E-mail Newsletter from Ruby Inside

By Peter Cooper / August 25, 2010

It's time to unveil my latest project: Ruby Weekly, a once-weekly e-mail roundup of 10-20 Ruby related links with a few sentences on each. It's had a brief alpha testing period and it's now ready to roll.

Click here to subscribe to Ruby Weekly - it's a one click process. It's also ultra simple to unsubscribe if it's not eventually to your taste.

As well as featuring links and (very) brief summaries, the weekly e-mail will also occasionally include new event, book, and job announcements and, if something significant is going on in Rubyland, a few paragraphs of editorial. The aim, though, is to keep the e-mail reasonably brief, in a plain format, and, above all, useful.

There's been a renaissance in e-mail newsletters in the last year or two and it seemed, to me, to be a great way to get programming related news. E-mail is not to everyone's taste (Ruby Inside will be staying as-is!) but if you want to avoid daily distraction and get a summary just once a week, it's an alternative to reloading Twitter or Google Reader every day. The popularity of the Ruby5 podcast proves there's an appetite for Ruby news in different media (and if you prefer audio, check them out).

Ruby Weekly goes out once a week on Thursdays, so if you subscribe within the next 16 hours or so, you'll get this Thursday's edition (issue #4).

Comments

  1. T.M. says:

    Why not just publish it via RSS and the website? It seems like a step backwards, it is not like Ruby Inside moves very fast on its own. Email newsletters *are* Renaissance! :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with T.M. Please do this as RSS instead, it's a lot more convenient. Also I hope this is more than just a Rails newsletter.

  3. Peter Cooper says:

    Thanks for the interest guys, but I'm confused. This is an e-mail newsletter for people who want e-mail. If you want RSS, you can subscribe to a collection of sources including Ruby Inside and RubyFlow.

    Or.. is it that getting a single post per week appeals to you?

  4. T.M. says:

    It is about getting content from Ruby Inside. I am just confused about the point. RSS is a digest by its very nature and is integrated into email clients these days. So, if the newsletter is just a digest of the RSS feed, it seems pointless. If the newsletter has new information and links that are not posted on Ruby Inside, then now we have two places we have to go to get information from Ruby Inside which is just annoying.

  5. Peter Cooper says:

    Thanks for sharing your concerns. I think I worded the title of this post poorly by tying it too much to Ruby Inside. Ruby Weekly is a new and different thing - it just comes from the "same guy."

    I'm playing to the strengths of different media. "Posts" on the blog and weekly digests in e-mail. If I were to start a Ruby magazine (and I'm not!) or a podcast, they'd take different approaches yet again, rather than recycling what Ruby Inside already has. You have a point about the content being different/"new information" - I don't know if/how I will address that since e-mail lets me be a little more playful.

    Despite the integration of e-mail and RSS in some cases these days (far from universal, e.g. GMail), there's still a perceived difference between the formats. I heavily pushed e-mail subscriptions to the Ruby Inside RSS feed about a year ago and, in all, only about 200 people subscribe in that way. Yet, 24 hours after launching Ruby Weekly, it has 1105 confirmed subscribers.

    I think there's something to be said for the preciseness of what Ruby Weekly offers. One e-mail per week, on a Thursday. This isn't the same as what a feed offers. Further, Ruby Weekly gives just a few sentences about each link and lets the titles do the hard work. Ruby Inside's posts are a bit longer (since 2-3 sentence posts look stupid on the Web). I could just do a once per week "digest" type post on Ruby Inside each week that's the same as the newsletter, but it's not a good way to use the blog format.

  6. Peter Cooper says:

    One reason why the newsletter has a little different information to the blog, by the way, is that it's easier to throw in a link and a few sentences about something that looks interesting but I don't have much knowledge of on to an e-mail.. whereas if I do a blog post, I need to write something more substantial. I have not been convinced by the new link-only posts I've been running on Ruby Inside recently, so perhaps Ruby Weekly comes a little out of the frustration with that.

  7. Peter Cooper says:

    Since this thread is becoming a "thinking out loud" venue, I have something else to add ;-)

    Ruby Weekly is an attempt to get a better hold of my audience. Even though the FeedBurner counter says 24,500 subscribers on here, there's no way I'm hitting 24,500 people every time I post here. Worse, I have no solid idea of how many or /who/ I *am* reaching. With e-mail, I do.

    On a separate note, Ruby Weekly really is just a "digest." Though I might link to a few things in it I haven't linked to on the Web site, there's no full length or proper "content".. since that's what this site's for.

  8. T.M. says:

    Thanks for the clarification. In the case that it is just a digest, great! I really like RubyInside because the posts are well thought out and chosen with a purpose. Seeing it turn into just another Ruby/Rails blog aggregator, would be extremely annoying and is exactly why I do not subscribe to the other generic Ruby blogs like RubyFlow.

  9. Peter Cooper says:

    So you can get a feel for what Ruby Weekly looks like, I've taken a screenshot:

    http://skitch.com/petercooper/duhqc/rubyweekly4

    It is, basically, a digest, yeah, though a reasonably considered one. Things like the best new library of the week feature add a little extra flavor too. (That "ye olde" link to StringScanner has proven the most popular link in the whole issue surprisingly..!)

  10. Sheldon Hearn says:

    E-mail's advantage is that there are established, proven mechanisms for injecting advertising into it, without upsetting readers. Well, most readers. Some people are just an upset waiting to happen.

    RSS's advantage is that it honors the privacy and preferences of the reader more. It's not yet clear how to inject advertising into an RSS feed without upsetting the reader.

  11. Sheldon Hearn says:

    Doh. Don't you hate it when you don't finish your own comment?

    I wanted to say that I'm not subscribing for the email, but that I was left with a niggling "What am I missing?" It's just that I've learned over time that email subscriptions don't work for me as well as RSS does, and that preference is strong enough to overrule the niggle.

  12. Peter Cooper says:

    And that's a perfectly acceptable standpoint :-) Ruby Inside, RubyFlow, and sites like PlanetRubyOnRails or Reddit.com/r/ruby will all still be rocking it. Oh, and coder.io's #ruby tag too.

    You're right about the advertising systems. In Ruby Weekly's case, I ideally want to keep it quite clean and instead use it to promote my own products or new Ruby sites over time :-) If I were to take advertising, it'd have to be at a strong CPM and probably limited to just one tastefully formatted ad per mailing (but if anyone's ready to advertise at $120 CPM, do get in touch ;-)).

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