Monday, November 28, 2011

OData, RSS, for your Nuget's

Matt Wrock's Software Development Blog - Track Nuget Downloads using OData, RSS and

"In this post I am going to show you how you can be notified of new downloads of any Nuget package via email from a service that will poll Nuget every 15 minutes. If email sounds overly intrusive, there are other options. So If this sounds interesting, read on.


Switch from a Pull to a Push model

What I found myself craving was a way to let all of this information come to me and announce to me that there is new data rather than me having to spend time pinging several sources for what is likely to be no new information. In my case, I really wanted my phone to beep or vibrate when I get a new download, follower or mention. For me, this would not be a nuisance given the small amount of data. If you owned jQuery, you may want a more unobtrusive notification. Fortunately the solution I am about to propose can channel notifications through a variety of mediums.

Enter If-this-then-that

A few months ago I noticed a new referring link on my blog from a domain called I visited the link and perused the site and discovered that it provided a way of creating sort of mash ups of various social media. ifttt stands for If This Then That. And the site simply allows you to create rules of If something occurs (new tweet, RSS feed item, DropBox item, etc.) Then some other thing should be triggered such as an email sent or a tweet or facebook update, etc. I have to admit my initial impression was “That’s dumb.” Then about a week later Scott Hanselman blogged about this service having been duly impressed by its offerings. I still didn’t really get it.


But Nuget Has no RSS Feed with items representing downloads

Currently Nuget provides no RSS feed or any notification option for subscribing to download stats beyond what is displayed on the project search results and individual project details pages. I don’t know if there are plans to implement this by the Nuget team in the near future, but I wanted something up and running soon that didn’t need to be polished.

All Nuget data is available from the website is exposed through an OData feed

I knew that the data I was interested in was available via OData. There are a few posts out there that talk about this. I found that David Ebbo’s post had the detail I deeded to get started. With the name of any Nuget package Id, you can get its total download count via the public Nuget OData endpoint at


Currently as far as I can tell, there is no facility built into ifttt to consume this OData format. Yes, you can expose OData as an ATOM feed but given the Nuget schema, this would only be useful if you wanted to be notified of new versions. Essentially each version is a child entity of the master Packages entity. DownloadCount is simply a property associated with each version. Note that a version has both a VersionDownloadCount and a DownloadCount. The first is simply the count for a single version and the latter is the aggregate count of all combined versions released in a single package.

At first I tried playing with Yahoo Pipes and some other online RSS builder apps but none of these was going to work. At least not simply. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this since what I wanted was really quite simple and could be coded up fairly trivially. So I ended up just writing my own feed generator and I took the opportunity to create my first Azure application. I plan to blog more specifically on the azure specific details later and how they differed from my work with an AppHarhor application.

Here is the RSS Generator code:


Consuming the feed from an Recipe

Beyond the creation of “one off” tasks. ifttt provides a means of encapsulating common task logic into a reusable “Recipe.” These are handy if you find yourself creating the same task again and again with the only difference being a single variable. In my case here, I wanted to create three tasks. One for each of my Nuget projects. It also seemed reasonable that others may want to make use of this as well. So I created a recipe that anyone can use in order to create their own Nuget Download Notification task. Simply create an ifttt account (Super fast and easy to do) and go here ..."

I liked this alternate approach for keeping up with Nuget packages and consuming the Nuget OData feeds...


Related Past Post XRef:
OData Feed Fun Or There's no Atom/RSS Feed, but there is OData, so there IS an Atom feed (that you can customize to your liking too)

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