June 21, 2018

I built a smart newsletter service for Hacker News

Hello Indie Hackers,

This is my very first post on IH :D

Hacker News is a wonderful source of information which continues to inspire me to explore and learn. Given tons of posts are created everyday, sometimes it could be difficult to keep up with stories that I’m interested in, wouldn’t it be great to be able to collect and digest stories regularly based on my own interests?

To solve this problem, I built a “smart” weekly newsletter service which delivers HN content based on topics/keywords. I find it pretty useful to me, so I want to share it with you guys in case you need it.

HN Mail: https://hnmail.io/

  1. 2

    Nice work!

    One small bit of feedback - I didn't know that those were form inputs to put in my email and my topic. The color is the similar to the link font and there isn't anything to input I should put something there until I press Subscribe. Just my $0.02.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback Kevin! I agree and will change their appearance so they could be identified easily as form inputs.

  2. 1

    What did you use for the design?

    1. 1

      If you meant the background image, I use free design from https://undraw.co/. Other than that, it’s just plain HTML+CSS.

  3. 1

    Hey Desmond!

    I was looking for something like this. I love the quality of content on HN but the site never appealed to me. Getting stories delivered to me in digest form would be great! Subscribed already.

    Also, I've subscribed to Storyrake.com which sends daily summaries of top stories from subreddits that I follow.

    Thanks for building this :) Good luck

    1. 1

      Thanks for subscribing Adith! Glad to know you also needed this.

  4. 1

    Hey, this looks great! good job, I'm building something very similar to NH Mail, https://remotejobsweekly.com :D

    1. 2

      Thanks Shashi! Great work! I think it would really help people sign up if you add a sample email or archives link on the website :)

      1. 1

        added to my todo list, thanks for the h/t :)

  5. 1

    Looks really neat, Desmond. I can definitely see commercial value in this if you can extend it beyond HN. Something I would subscribe for folks. I thought about building it but have been focused on other ideas.

    1. 1

      Thanks tt! I was also thinking about the possibility of subscribing from multiple sources. This is something I will definitely look into.

      1. 1

        That would make things very interesting. I've always felt that HN has kept me miles ahead of everyone else when it comes to startups + tech and I can see your newsletter service giving people an advantage.

        Would you have any interest in collaborating?

        1. 1

          I’d be more than happy to discuss that. Please feel free to email me your thoughts, like how to integrate more sources into the service.

  6. 1

    Good job!

    May I know what teck stack did you use to build the backend? Does it involve natural language processing?

    1. 1

      Thanks. The backend is built with Node.js + MongoDB. It might disappoint you but there's nothing fancy like NLP involved in this project.

      How it works:

      1. User topics are collected and saved into DB.

      2. The server will scrape HN stories of the past week on this page based on user topics. The search is powered by algolia which makes the results good most of the time.

      3. Organize topics properly for each user and deliver emails to users.

      1. 1

        Thanks. Not disappoint at all, actually I think it quite smart to do search instead, simple and intuitive.