Get Apple App Store Alerts by Email


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Apple iTunes RSS

Recently, I heard the tale of an app developer wondering how a journalist found out about the app he made for a record label going live in the app store before any press had come out. It transpired that said journalist was quite the savvy feed muncher; all subscribed to the feeds of new apps coming out of Apple’s iTunes App Store so he’d know about new apps as they hit the store. Smart.

I would quite like to know when new music applications hit the store so I thought I’d build a service that emailed me the updated music app top ten on a daily basis, using SendGrid, Heroku and some Apple RSS. I’m aware that services like this already exist and I could just use one of those, but where’s the fun in that?

The Data

I’m an iOS user so I’m looking for Apple’s iTunes App Store feeds. Luckily, Apple has a tool that allows you to create the exact feed you want. It defaults resulting information to XML, but you can change the ‘/xml’ at the end of the generated URL to ‘/json’ to get a JSON response if you like.

I want to get the top paid for music apps so my feed URL looks like this:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/rss/newpaidapplications/limit=10/genre=6011/xml

But, I would prefer JSON so I’m using this version:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/rss/newpaidapplications/limit=10/genre=6011/json

The Code

Deployment

This is the kind of script you just want to put somewhere and forget about. Heroku is fine for something like that and you can use the Scheduler add-on to handle the daily running. The deployment process would go something like this:

The final command will open the Scheduler dashboard in your browser where you can set how often the script you deployed will run. Set it up. Save it. Forget about it and await the emails.


Martyn Davies is a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid and a creative developer based in London. He has worked in technology for over 14 years with a background in both the music industry and technology. A serial hackathon organiser, mentor and startup advisor, you’ll find him presenting, demoing, hacking and chatting at hack days, conferences and meetups in the UK & Europe on a regular basis.

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