The Newsletter began in June 2012 from the habit I had to send weekly newsletter in Codegreen for our team to know what is happening in our company. That was purely a teamwork tool for general transparency. But with time passing I also included there some links to what I was finding around that would be of interest for my geek colleagues.
That CodeGreen Internal newsletter began to be cluttered with various links at the bottom of it. So I decided to separate that links gathering bunch in another newsletter. But then it could also be useful for my friends, out of the scope of our team.
At that time I had to test Mailchimp service for one of our projects, so because they offer a free package when volume is not too big, I thought I should just create that newsletter as a public freely available publication.
So in February 2013 I sent the first Green Ruby Newsletter to 3 subscribers. Well, mostly our team :) Then it became a weekly habit, so I got a domain name for it, and organically it's growing slowly.
Now that it became a well rounded habit, the process stabilized in an efficient routine.
At first I have been using a lot of rss readers, first Google reader, then they closed, I used Newsblur and then Feedspot, Prismatic and Reddit. I also extended my list of podcasts with Gpodder and I gathered a bunch of links that I check weekly.
So each week, I listen to various podcasts during my 50 min commute twice a day, when I catch something in my daily work I got tweet it on @greenrubist using a Buffer free account (but really those people rock, one day I will pay for it).
And on Sunday, William (aka xenor) also sends me a list of links. Simon began to send links as well, starting in autumn 2014. In the evening I begin to build the yaml file that I use for generating the letter and the website. I spend between 4 and 6 hours, reading around, checking what's up, and so on. Very often it's 3am when I'm done and then I send the letter manually from Mailchimp.
Two years passed. Not one week came without its publication. It became a Sunday routine for me, with various benefits for myself and my friends. Few people subscribed each week from the website.
There have been various attempts to automate the publication tool, using ember, or other toys. But the most reliable toolset ended up being a couple of rake tasks for producing the mailchimp template and the website content. Some hope can be preserved about the evolution of the platform, but I have been busy quite a bunch, changing job, as well as xenor, that helped me with some links each weeks.
The non-commercial aspect of this media is stronger than ever. It's actually too small scale to have any cost. Mailchimp still is free for less than 2000 subscribers.