Jobs

Jobs are the kind of things that urlwatch can monitor.

The list of jobs to run are contained in the configuration file urls.yaml, accessed with the command urlwatch --edit, each separated by a line containing only ---. The command urlwatch --list prints the name of each job, along with its index number (1,2,3,…) which gets assigned automatically according to its position in the configuration file.

While optional, it is recommended that each job starts with a name entry:

name: "This is a human-readable name/label of the job"

URL

This is the main job type – it retrieves a document from a web server:

name: "urlwatch homepage"
url: "https://thp.io/2008/urlwatch/"

Required keys:

  • url: The URL to the document to watch for changes

Job-specific optional keys:

  • cookies: Cookies to send with the request (see Advanced Topics)
  • method: HTTP method to use (default: GET)
  • data: HTTP POST/PUT data
  • ssl_no_verify: Do not verify SSL certificates (true/false)
  • ignore_cached: Do not use cache control (ETag/Last-Modified) values (true/false)
  • http_proxy: Proxy server to use for HTTP requests
  • https_proxy: Proxy server to use for HTTPS requests
  • headers: HTTP header to send along with the request
  • encoding: Override the character encoding from the server (see Advanced Topics)
  • timeout: Override the default socket timeout (see Advanced Topics)
  • ignore_connection_errors: Ignore (temporary) connection errors (see Advanced Topics)
  • ignore_http_error_codes: List of HTTP errors to ignore (see Advanced Topics)
  • ignore_timeout_errors: Do not report errors when the timeout is hit
  • ignore_too_many_redirects: Ignore redirect loops (see Advanced Topics)
  • user_visible_url: Different URL to show in reports (e.g. when watched URL is a REST API URL, and you want to show a webpage)

(Note: url implies kind: url)

Browser

This job type is a resource-intensive variant of “URL” to handle web pages requiring JavaScript in order to render the content to be monitored.

The optional pyppeteer package must be installed to run “Browser” jobs (see Dependencies).

At the moment, the Chromium version used by pyppeteer only supports macOS (x86_64), Windows (both x86 and x64) and Linux (x86_64). See this issue in the Pyppeteer issue tracker for progress on getting ARM devices supported (e.g. Raspberry Pi).

Because pyppeteer downloads a special version of Chromium (~ 100 MiB), the first execution of a browser job could take some time (and bandwidth). It is possible to run pyppeteer-install to pre-download Chromium.

name: "A page with JavaScript"
navigate: "https://example.org/"

Required keys:

  • navigate: URL to navigate to with the browser

Job-specific optional keys:

  • wait_until: Either load, domcontentloaded, networkidle0, or networkidle2 (see Advanced Topics)

As this job uses Pyppeteer to render the page in a headless Chromium instance, it requires massively more resources than a “URL” job. Use it only on pages where url does not give the right results.

Hint: in many instances instead of using a “Browser” job you can monitor the output of an API called by the site during page loading containing the information you’re after using the much faster “URL” job type.

(Note: navigate implies kind: browser)

Shell

This job type allows you to watch the output of arbitrary shell commands, which is useful for e.g. monitoring an FTP uploader folder, output of scripts that query external devices (RPi GPIO), etc…

name: "What is in my Home Directory?"
command: "ls -al ~"

Required keys:

  • command: The shell command to execute

Job-specific optional keys:

  • none

(Note: command implies kind: shell)

Optional keys for all job types

  • name: Human-readable name/label of the job
  • filter: filters (if any) to apply to the output (can be tested with --test-filter)
  • max_tries: Number of times to retry fetching the resource
  • diff_tool: Command to a custom tool for generating diff text
  • diff_filter: filters (if any) to apply to the diff result (can be tested with --test-diff-filter)
  • treat_new_as_changed: Will treat jobs that don’t have any historic data as CHANGED instead of NEW (and create a diff for new jobs)
  • compared_versions: Number of versions to compare for similarity
  • kind (redundant): Either url, shell or browser. Automatically derived from the unique key (url, command or navigate) of the job type

Settings keys for all jobs at once

See Job Defaults for how to configure keys for all jobs at once.