urlwatch man page

urlwatch — Watch web pages and arbitrary URLs for changes


urlwatch [options]


urlwatch watches a list of URLs for changes and prints out unified diffs of the changes. You can filter always-changing parts of websites by providing a "hooks.py" script.


show program's version number and exit
-h, --help
show the help message and exit
-v, --verbose
Show debug/log output
Read URLs from the specified file
Use specified file as hooks.py module
-e, --display-errors
Include HTTP errors (404, etc..) in the output
-t, --mailto=ADDRESS
Send results via e-mail to ADDRESS
-f, --mailfrom=ADDRESS
Alternate From: address for e-mail (--mailto)
-s, --smtp=SERVER
SMTP server for e-mail (--mailto)
-q, --quiet
Avoid diff output on stdout (--mailto)

Advanced Features

urlwatch includes some advanced features that you have to activate by creating a hooks.py file that specifies for which URLs to use a specific feature. You can also use the hooks.py file to filter trivially-varying elements of a web page.

Icalendar File Parsing

This module allows you to parse .ics files that are in iCalendar format and provide a very simplified text-based format for the diffs. Use it like this in your hooks.py file:

from urlwatch import ical2txt

def filter(url, data):
if url.endswith('.ics'):
return ical2txt.ical2text(data).encode('utf-8') + data
# ...you can add more hooks here...

HTML to Text Conversion

There are three methods of converting HTML to text in the current version of urlwatch: "lynx" (default), "html2text" and "re". The former two use command-line utilities of the same name to convert HTML to text, and the last one uses a simple regex-based tag stripping method (needs no extra tools). Here is an example of using it in your hooks.py file:

from urlwatch import html2txt

def filter(url, data):
if url.endswith('.html') or url.endswith('.htm'):
return html2txt.html2text(data, method='lynx')
# ...you can add more hooks here...


A list of HTTP/FTP URLs to watch (one URL per line)
A Python module that can be used to filter contents
The state of web pages is saved in this folder


Thomas Perl <thp.io/about>




February 2015 urlwatch 1.18 User Commands