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Tutorial for web page monitoring?

I saw this question asked back in 2012, so I'm going to ask it again!

I just downloaded the demo version, and the learning curve is steep for me. I'm a creative (I have no programming or even web design experience). I need to monitor IMDB pages in order to get alerts when people I have worked with in the past have new elements added to their profiles.

Specifically, I want to look only at a few specific CSS sections (sheets?) of the pages, and disregard everything else.

Is there anywhere where someone has created a walkthrough tutorial for laymen?


David Sinclair's picture

Re: Tutorial for web page monitoring?

Hi Matt,

I've written a few tips blog posts on Simon features (there are Time Out tips mixed in with that URL).

One that you may find helpful is the default "Dejal posts" test case study. There are some other examples in other blog posts, too.

Briefly, if you just want to look at a specific portion of a web page, your best bet is the "Block" filter, which lets you specify start and end text that wraps the relevant section; the test will only look between those. You can use the Preview pane to find the text to look for.

I hope this helps!

Re: Tutorial for web page monitoring?

Well, let me ask a more general question...

I currently use a windows program called Website Watcher to monitor pages. This is currently the only remaining PC app I use, so I'd love to find something for Mac that can do the same thing. Here's what I need:

Monitor a number of IMDB Pro pages for changes to only certain areas of the page. IMDB Pro requires a login, but once logged in, it usually keeps you logged in indefinitely. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I get logged out.

When a change is detected, Website Watcher emails me a version of the new page with the changes highlighted. It doesn't email the HTML code... it actually emails me a version of the page that more or less matches the web layout version, expect the changes are highlighted.

In the event that something has been deleted from the page, it tells me what was deleted at the bottom of the email, after the web page.

Can Simon do this?

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Tutorial for web page monitoring?

Simon can certainly check a portion of the page for changes; you'd typically use the Block filter for this.

It can also log in to most sites by providing cookies, that you can record via the Preview.

Simon can also email you when something changes, via the Email notifier.

What it can't do is include a highlighted rendering of the page, though the email could include a link to the page. I would like to add a highlighted rendering at some point.

Re: Tutorial for web page monitoring?

I see. So in other words, it could include a link to the page, but then I would be on my own to actually recognize which content had changed?

If so then drat, I have to stay on this PC for a while longer. There is just too much data on the page I'm monitoring and the changes can be subtle. I really need the highlighting.

When this feature is added I'm assuming it will be noted on your blog?

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Tutorial for web page monitoring?

It can include the text that changed in the email notification, to help you find it. There's also a Context filter to include some of the text around the change, if that helps.

You could try using Simon to see if it works for you; there's a free trial. Maybe it'll work well enough for your needs.

Yes, I will certainly announce it on the blog (and Twitter etc) when that or other features are implemented. Though I don't have a timeline for when it might be; probably not for some time.