AppForce1 podcast

Since October 2020 I run a podcast focussed on iOS developers. On twitter I was suggested to also include content from the Swift forums in my podcast. I'm in the proces of setting up aggregation of content from the Swift forums. But from next week onwards, I will include an overview of things happening on the forums. This should integrate nicely with the new article section I already have on my podcast from the start.

On top of that I also have weekly interviews with iOS developers doing great things with the Swift language and iOS platform.

If you are into iOS development and want to help me develop the format of the Swift forums part of my episodes, please consider subscribing in your podcast player of choice, just search for "AppForce1", you can not miss it. Subscribe and send me feedback through this topic or any other channel I am available on.

You can also have a look here for subscribe links to most podcast players: https://appforce1.net/podcast

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Ok, it kind of went out of control. In my search for a digest format of the Swift forums and evolution I started reading a newsletter more thoroughly, Swift Weekly Brief. Then the owner of this newsletter signalled on social media some costs involved with running it. I picked up on that, my infra now runs the newsletter. :upside_down_face:And this week I hope to give a meaningful contribution to the newsletter contents.

So no content on Swift Evolution has been mentioned in my podcast yet. :man_facepalming: I got "kinda" side tracked. :joy:

Still trying to figure out how to stay on top of the whole Swift forums. It is just so much. Any thoughts on how to stay somewhat up to date on everything going on here besides scrolling and reading for hours on end?

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Personally, I’d be very interested in hearing about your infra and how it saved Swift Weekly Brief money. How was the transition? What tech is involved in a digital newsletter, and what are the various trade-offs authors struggle with? Any of it written in Swift, and if not, what’s missing from the language or library ecosystem? Etc.

Swift Weekly Brief was hosted on Mailchimp. And that gets expensive fast when it is a spare time activity.

I run an instance of Sendy, a PHP based app that connects to Amazon SES. I already had all the infra and capacity available to run this. So I offered my support. Result: newsletter on Mailchimp 80+ US Dollar each month, on my setup below 2 US Dollar additional cost each month.

The website swiftweeklybrief.com is a statically generated site with Jekyll. It also generates an unlinked page containing the actual newsletter content.

Now comes the little bit of Swift code in this whole setup. Each month I run a small CLI tool that scrapes the template page and submits it to my Sendy install.

The Swift CLI source: GitHub - AppForce1/swift-weekly-brief-news-cli
The Swift Weekly Brief repo where people can help out if they feel like it: GitHub - SwiftWeekly/swiftweekly.github.io: A community-driven weekly newsletter about Swift.org
The website where people can sign-up to the newsletter and read past issues: https://swiftweeklybrief.com/

As to answer your questions.

Transition involved

  • exporting and importing subscribers
  • creating / transitioning the existing newsletter template into the new system

Newsletters is pretty low-tech. Hardest part is the costs involved when you are note tech savvy. Sending newsletter messages through something like Amazon SES is cheap and has great deliverability. The thing to watch out for is to create content subscribers expect. Otherwise they unsubscribe. Unsubscribes are not bad, I'd rather not land in someone's inbox if they don't want the messages. :innocent:

Service like mailchimp: great to get started, costs rise quick once you go beyond the free tier. Normally when you reach that level you should be able to offset those costs through your audience.

Setup like Sendy: Cheap, some tech involved. Run a PHP app on GOOD shared hosting or VPC and then some config and setup on Amazon SES. You will also have to bring your own newsletter template with all the things related to display on many email clients. Browser compatibility is "interesting", email clients are way way worst in that regard. So it is best to get a good template online and don't modify it too much.

Swift as a language / library was great when automating some tedious aspects of the news setup, hence the Swift based CLI to execute the sending of the newsletter.

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