What's New Pussycat?

Charly's Column – urlwatch

Article from Issue 230/2020

Experienced system administrators attach great importance to always being up to date when it comes to information technology. Urlwatch is a command-line tool that presents the latest news from websites that do not offer RSS feeds by email.

Some years ago, I reported on the Miniflux RSS feed aggregator [1] in this column, and I still use it. Miniflux is lean, fast, and easy to use. The media have been predicting the death of RSS feeds for what feels like an eternity, but it still has not happened. However, some websites simply don't offer feeds. I have to do something different here. What I need is a tool that alerts me when a particular website changes.

That's far more complicated than it sounds at first. Using a web service for this purpose (there are countless numbers of them) is out of the question for reasons of data economy. However, the biggest problem is something else. Things on websites that I don't find relevant are constantly changing. For example, a daily newspaper that I regularly read displays job ads that change with every reload. If I was notified every time, it would drive me crazy. There has to be a better way – and there is: urlwatch.

Written in Python 3, urlwatch is included in most popular distributions. If you want to know exactly if and which version of urlwatch is available in your favorite distro, you can find out on Repology.org [2]; DIY enthusiasts can use GitHub [3]. For example, I instructed urlwatch to keep an eye on the online news page for Linux Magazine (Listing 1) – pointlessly, because it actually still offers RSS.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Charly's Column: Miniflux

    Sys admin Charly Kühnast typically follows 40 to 50 RSS feeds using Tiny Tiny RSS on his own server. Now, the good times spent with the faithful Tiny are coming to an end. Read on to discover the whole story.

  • Miniflux: No-frills RSS aggregator
  • Workspace: RSS Aggregators

    Read and manage your favorite feeds with open source RSS aggregators.

  • The sys admin's daily grind: grepcidr

    Often it is the very simple tools that, when used appropriately, lead to the greatest success. This time, sys admin columnist Charly employs an IP address filter to count the devices in his home and trip up spammers to boot.

  • Charly's Column

    Ornithologists already know that magpies don’t really deserve their reputation. The true kleptomaniac in the world of birds is the raven. And it’s worthwhile for data dealers to make the acquaintance of Munin, a monitoring tool named after one fabled raven.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95