How to receive email alerts when someone talks about something - 6 steps tutorial using Atomisator

I like Google Alert, the idea of receiving a mail every day that summarizes all articles related to a given topic is really helpfull when you need to focus on a specific subject for a while.

But this is not enough. I want to receive a mail that points me to any mailing list or planet feed or blogs out there as well, that talks about the topic.

You can't do it with Google Alerts as far as I know.

Let's take an example:

I want to receive a daily mail that points me to any mail thread or blog entry, that is related to the word "buildout" or to the word "pycon".

Basically, to do it manually, I need to read Planet Python, Planet Zope, then take a look at the Python, Zope and Plone mailing lists. It takes at least 10 minutes, and more if you want to read all entries to make sure you won't miss anything.

Since online systems like Nabble provides RSS feed for mailing lists (don't find yours ? just add it there !), it is easy to read them as they where regular feeds.

From there, a script that reads all the selected feeds and sends a mail pointing to the entries that match the selected words is simple to write as well, and fill the need.

But don't code it : Atomisator will let you do this with a few lines of configuration.

Here's a step-by-step tutorial.

Step 1 - install easy_install
- download ez_setup : [][] - run it with your Python interpreter

Step 2 - install Atomisator and SQLite

- run the command : easy_install Atomisator - make sure SQLite is installed on your system. If not, install it:*

Step 3 - create an "atomisator.cfg" file

The content of the file has to be:

store-entries = false

sources =






filters =

  buzzwords words.txt

outputs =

  email email.cfg

This file will look into Planet Python, Planet Zope and various mailing lists (Python, Plone, Zope). Of course you can add or remove feeds in the sources option.

Step 4 - Create the words.txt file

This file contains regular expressions, one per line, that will be used to match the entries. The file has to be saved besides atomisator.cfg.

For our example:


You can put any expression you want in this file, as long as you have one matching expression per line.

Step 5 - add an email.cfg configuration file.

This is where you define the target emails that will receive the alerts (tos option). You can also specify the from email, or the smtp server location. The file has to be saved besides atomisator.cfg.

In our case it can be:

tos =

from =

smtp_server =

Step 6 - Run it !

The command to be called is atomisator (installed by easy_install) followed by the configuration file:
$ atomisator atomisator.cfg

Reading data.

Launching worker for rss - ('',)

Launching worker for rss - ('',)

Launching worker for rss - ('',)

Launching worker for rss - ('',)

Launching worker for rss - ('',)

Retrieving from rss - ('',)

Retrieving from rss - ('',)

Retrieving from rss - ('',)

Retrieving from rss - ('',)

Retrieving from rss - ('',)


Writing outputs.

Data ready.

Check your mails. This call can be put in a daily cron.

Tested under Mac OS X and Linux.