Simon icon Simon
Flexible server monitoring

Suggestions for next version

I've been using Right Soft's Web Monitor for the PC and like it very much, but am tired of keeping my Mac running (via Bootcamp) in XP. I use it to monitor retail websites for when limited availability products become available (and usually sell out in minutes!). There are a few features that are missing from Simon that keep me from switching over, but, if implemented into the new version would really help swap me and maybe be something that others would be interested in.

1) Allow for a "seconds" checking frequency drop down, so that users can monitor changes on certain web sites every 30 seconds or whatever they would like.

2) A "preview" of what we are actually monitoring in the source code (and/or plaintext) on the site. It's nice to be able to decide where we want to monitor changes, but it would be nice to be able to see the code we are monitoring as highlighted or something (ala Webmon or Right Soft Web Monitor).

3) Possibly an import/export function of monitoring lists. This is a feature implemented into Webmon (by Colin Markwell) that is missing from RightSoft. It would be nice to be able to put together a list and export the file and be able to run it on a work computer, etc, and not have to re-enter everything.

There's some great features in this program and I hope that you take some of my suggestions into consideration in your next version.

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Suggestions for next version

Thank you for the feedback. To reply to your suggestions in order:

1. This has been asked for a couple of times, but I've resisted as I'm concerned about the risk of Simon being used as part of a denial of service (DoS) attack on a server, by checking too frequently. I have considered allowing some minimum like 30 seconds.

2. I agree that the UI for the Smart Change Detection feature could be improved. It is a powerful feature, allowing monitoring a portion of the page, but configuring it could be easier. I do want to improve that in future versions. I also want to add more options, e.g. multiple filters.

3. Good news, I plan on adding import and export in version 2.3. Version 2.2 adds the Setup Assistant, which allows easily adding tests from bookmarks, and 2.3 will help further by allowing exporting and importing tests, services, notifiers, and reports.

Thanks again for the feedback. I've made a note of the ideas, and will definitely consider them for the next version.

Suggestions

For your consideration

1. When a failure occurs in a http request it would be beneficial to see what was returned. This would help in identifying the problem.

2.Dependency. I do three checks, ping the router, a web server static page request and a dynamic sql request. This checks all three components of our relatively simple site.
If the router check fails I then get three SMS messages about failures and three messages when the site comes back again. It would be great to have the checks dependent on each other.

Just a note here about messages. I have been getting situations where I have received an up message without a down message. My assumption is that my link has gone down during a check which means the check fails but no email can be sent to me as my line is down. Is this a possible reason?

Cheers

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Suggestions

1. You can see the error in the Failures table. I thought there was a service and notifier variable for the last error, but there wasn't... so I've just added one: it's called {TestLastError}.

2. I plan to add a groups feature in a future release; that will allow amalgamating the notifications as you want.

Yes, if your internet connection is totally down, the email notifier would probably fail to send the notification - though it'd require remarkable timing, since the check wouldn't occur if there is no internet connection, so it'd have to fail after starting the check but before sending the notification. Normally, that wouldn't be an issue.

Thanks for the feedback!

Suggestions and votes

Hey David -

Great to hear that import/export of settings is coming. I know I emailed you about this a while back, but would like it if Simon could check for response from a web server within a certain number of seconds. i.e. I want to make sure Application X is delivering a page within 10 seconds... And application Y needs to repond within 5. If it doesn't (even if the right thing is eventually returned) it should be considered a failure.

Thanks!
Matt

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Suggestions and votes

It'd probably be possible to write a Script-based service to do this now.

It'd make a note of the time when starting, fetch the page (e.g. via curl), then look at the time when done. If the time is greater than a variable-specified value, exit with an error.

But yes, it'd be nice if such a feature were built-in. Perhaps the best way would be to make the timeout interval customizable: currently it's hardwired to two minutes. I'll add it to the list of feature suggestions.

10 seconds interval please!

I just tried Simon; it's the best of its kind...

... but I really need check interval by the seconds.

If second-by-second is deemed "risky", can we please have 10-second interval? My line of work requires really up-to-date stuff by the second, time is literally money...

David Sinclair's picture

Re: 10 seconds interval please!

This has been requested before, and yes my main concern is people using Simon as part of a denial of service attack on a server. Of course, there are easier ways of doing that, but I've also yet to come across any real reason why an interval less than a second is necessary.

Can you explain further why this would be useful for you?

By the way, a workaround to check more frequently would be to have two or more tests for the same location, started manually 30 seconds apart, so they alternate.

I have tried using having 2

I have tried using having 2 tests 30-second apart. Problem is, the setting does not stay that way if there's any break of service. Meaning, if I restart, the interval does not stay that way (and I think it would occur if my wireless happens to be off i.e. on failed tests).

I have THREE tests on the same page now at 20-second interval and without fail all of them would reset to the same test interval after each restart.

Alright just so you know why this is important to me: I am part of an investment group that shares information over the internet. The chief analyst would update his 'picks/suggestions' on a particular website (which Simon checks).

Problem is, early bird gets the worm. The first/early people that are AWARE of the change, would place the trade/order first, therefore giving them the best prices and eventually the best profits.

If let's say I am only aware of the change 1 minute later, hundreds (maybe thousands??!) of people would have 'pounded' the market already and I'm left with the scraps.

I'm a recent Mac converter. For Windows I used Website Watcher which lets me check every second if I want to. I need something similar, a product that's catered to professional users.

But like I said if every second is too much, a 10-second interval is a good enough compromise.

PRETTY PLEASE, thanks... I'm on day 6 of my trial program, would love to purchase it with this feature turned on :) :) :)

David Sinclair's picture

Re: I have tried using having 2

I can see where that might be beneficial in such a situation. Another person had a similar request, but relating to checking for job offerings in a competitive market.

Given the demand for this feature, I will probably add it in an upcoming version.

I'd like to use simon to produce availability reports for SLA's

This comment has been moved here.

Highlight changes

While we're asking... :p

Would be great if Simon can highlight any text that has changed from the last/cached version.

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Highlight changes

Yes, that's been requested a few times, and is something I'd like to implement sometime. It's not as easy as it may seem, but some changes planned for upcoming releases should help.