Senior backend developer
Last year, GitHub quietly released a feature that was quickly noticed by the community – profile READMEs. A profile README is a global
file for your GitHub profile, which you can set up by creating a public repository whose name is identical to your GitHub username. For instance, as my username is
, I created the
A little box like this one should appear while you add your own:
Once the repository is created, add a
file with a short description explaining how great you are, and your GitHub profile page will display its content by default:
Neat and simple.
As I was browsing examples for some inspiration, I stumbled upon Simon Willison’s version, which features some dynamic content like recent work and blog publications. He explained how he used a combination of GitHub Actions and Python to achieve this in a blog post, and I decided to do something similar with PHP.
The first thing to do is to create a placeholder in the
file where the dynamic content will go. Since I wanted to automatically insert the latest publications of my blog, I used the following tags:
<!-- posts --><!-- /posts -->
You might recognise this format; since Markdown files also support HTML, I used some HTML comment tags to make sure they wouldn’t show up on my profile page.
The PHP script
I can’t remember the last time I wrote some PHP without a framework; as a result, I had to do a quick search just to get started with a basic PHP script and some Composer dependencies.
Turn out it’s quite simple! The first step is to initialise the project with the following command:
$ composer init
$ composer require dg/rss-php
I then added a
file at the root of the project, with the following content:
Nothing too complicated here – Composer’s autoload is required at the top, allowing me to load the RSS parser to generate a list of blog posts as a string, in Markdown format.
The existing content of the
file is then loaded into the
variable, and the Markdown string is inserted between its
<!-- posts -->
<!-- /posts -->
Finally, the file’s entire content is replaced with the new one, using the
The GitHub action
GitHub Actions are a fairly recent addition to GitHub, allowing developers to automate various CI/CD tasks, like running test suites or deploying web services.
They must be defined using YAML format in a
folder at the root of the project, and contain a list of steps that they are to execute.
Here’s mine, which I named
Again, nothing too complicated. We first give the action a name, and then define a list of events that should trigger it – pushing some code to the repository, a manual trigger from the interface (
), or periodically like a cron job (here, every day at midnight).
We then indicate that the action should run on an Ubuntu image, where it will:
That’s it! My GitHub profile is now automatically updated every time I publish a new article.
This was a quick experiment aiming at exploring GitHub Actions, which I expect to use more and more in the future. It was also fun to use PHP as a simple scripting language again, in a procedural way.
I’ve voluntarily left out a few things in order to keep this article short and simple – please refer to the repository for implementation details.
This story was originally published on tech.osteel.me.
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