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1 WEB SECRETARY
4 1. OVERVIEW
6 Web Secretary is a web page monitoring software. However, it goes beyond the
7 normal functionalities offered by such software. Not only does it detect
8 changes based on content analysis (instead of date/time stamp or simple
9 textual comparison), it will email the changed page to you WITH THE NEW
10 CONTENT HIGHLIGHTED!
12 Web Secretary is actually a suite of two Perl scripts called websec and
13 webdiff. websec retrieves web pages and email them to you based on a URL
14 list that you provide. webdiff compares two web pages (current and archive)
15 and creates a new page based on the current page but with all the
16 differences highlighted using a predefined color.
18 Personally, I put Web Secretary on crontab to monitor a large number of web
19 pages. When the highlighted pages are delivered to me, I use procmail to
20 sort them out and file them into another folder. Sometimes, when I am busy,
21 I will not have time to accessing the web for a few days. However, with Web
22 Secretary, I can always access the "archive" that it has created for me at
23 my own leisure.
26 2. DEPENDENCIES
28 Web Secretary should be able to run on all Unix systems with a Perl
29 interpreter (and LWP module) installed. At present, it has only been tested
30 on Linux. Users report that it works on Windows too using ActiveState Perl.
33 3. INSTALLATION AND CONFIGURATION
35 Installing Web Secretary is easy.
37 - Un-tar the distribution. The files will be uncompressed into a directory
38 called websec/.
40 - Change directory to websec/.
42 - Edit the first lines in websec and webdiff to reflect the actual location
43 of the Perl interpreter on your system.
45 - Edit the URL list called url.list. Please refer to SECTION 5 for more
46 information on this.
48 - Edit the ignore keyword/URL file "ignore.list". Please refer to SECTION 6
49 and 7 for more information on this file.
52 4. USAGE
54 You can run Web Secretary whenever you want to monitor the changes in your
55 URL list by typing 'websec'.
57 Alternatively, you can add Web Secretary to your crontab and run it on a
58 regular basis (eg. daily). You can even have different URL list files and
59 run them at different intervals (eg. hourly, daily, weekly etc.)
61 It goes without saying that you can use Web Secretary to monitor its own
62 homepage so that you can be informed of the latest news and updates.
64 Web Secretary is available at: http://www.nongnu.org/websec/
67 5. DIGEST
69 This feature is contributed by Matti Airas:
71 > Hi,
73 > I noticed a small bug in websec. Since I'm using a text-based MUA, I'm
74 > not interested in getting the HTML pages, but only the notifications.
75 > However, on line 214 the recipient email address is $email, not
76 > $emailLink.
78 > Also, since I found the separate notification mails inconvenient, I
79 > implemented a new configuration variable "Digest = false|true", which
80 > makes the notifications to come in a single email.
82 > The modified file is attached to this mail. I hope you find it useful.
84 > --
85 > Matti Airas
88 6. INSTALLING LWP
90 Websec requires the Perl module 'LWP' to work. The quickest way to install
91 this module is to type:
93 > perl -MCPAN -e 'install Bundle::LWP'
95 at the command line.
97 Thanks to Jeff for contributing this tip!
100 7. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
102 I would like to thank the GNU people. I don't know them personally, but they
103 have blessed us with free and great tools such as Linux, gcc, emacs, Perl,
104 fetchmail etc. which I now use on a daily basis. In the trails of their
105 selfless spirit, I will also like to share Web Secretary in the same way,
106 and hope many people besides me find it useful.
108 I would also like to thank Chng Tiak Jung, a friend and mentor who inspires
109 me to learn at least one new thing everyday. I am sure if he continues at
110 his current pace, I will never be able to catch up with him!
112 The article "Some Simpler Applications Using LWP" (http://webreview.com/wr/
113 pub/97/12/12/bookshelf/index.html) by Clinton Wong in webreview.com inspired
114 me to modify Web Secretary to use the LWP library for HTTP retrieval and
115 email transmission.