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Introducing Simon 5!

Simon version 5 is now available. It is a massive update, introducing a much-requested feature: syncing the Simon data between multiple Macs, plus a Simon Status service, a Link Checker filter, improved Find filter, iMessage and Speak Error notifiers, a new app icon, and much more.

Important: please note that Simon 5 requires a minimum of macOS 10.12 (Sierra), and is a paid upgrade from Simon 4. Purchasers since September 1, 2020 automatically get a version 5 license (that also works in previous versions).

Read the Simon What's New page for details.

Monitoring changes


I was wondering if I could tap your collective knowledge, as I have hit my technical knowledge ceiling, and think that Simon may be the answer to my prayers...!

I work for a recording company that creates musical assets for advertising and films. These assets are saved in a number of different formats (AIFF, WAV, MP3 and a few others). As new assets are created they get logged in to our database. We have an internal AJAX-based page which autoupdates as new assets get added.

The format on the page appears thus:


What I'd ideally like Simon to do is to notify me via email when assets appear in a particular file format determined by the CLIENT_NAME but delivering me both CLIENT_NAME-ASSET_NAME.

For example, if the following were to get logged:

[12:00 04/02/09] AIFF Disney-Jingle

Is it possible to set up an email notification that could take that information and deliver to me the CLIENT_NAME and ASSET_NAME, in this case Disney-Jingle? I envisage having a number of tasks running for different file formats, I thought so that the "start text" would be the file format.

I've spent all day trying to get this to work, and fear for my remaining hair. I apologise in advance if this is not clear. ANY help would be massively appreciated.

Many thanks,

David Sinclair's picture

Re: Monitoring changes

Hi Matt,

Getting Simon to email you when a change occurs on a page is very easy, as you've probably already found. You can use the Smart Change Detection feature to look the relevant portion of the page, and output everything between the Start and End blocks.

In the E-mail notifier, you can use the {TestChangeDifferenceWithoutHTML} variable to output the portion of the page that is different from the previous check. Or {TestChangeText} to get everything between the Start and End blocks.

So you could easily get an email listing "[12:00 04/02/09] AIFF Disney-Jingle", which is probably adequate for your needs.

Customizing the output further than that would require more work. You'd either need to create a custom Script-based service to fetch the page via curl and analyze it with grep or similar, and output the desired change text. Or create a custom Script-based notifier to take the output of the {TestChangeText} variable, extract the desired portion, and generate an email.

Another (perhaps easier) way to do it could be to use two tests: a Web-based one to check the page, that uses a Script-based notifier to extract the desired text and write it to a local file. Then another test to watch that file and notify you via email of its contents when it changes.

By the way, in a future version I plan to make this easier, by adding another layer between the test and notifier: a filter. The Smart Change Detection feature will be one of the built-in filters, but there will be others, including the ability to write custom scripts. This will be a very useful enhancement.

David -- Fantastic thank you

David --

Fantastic thank you - I will have a play around and see if that can give me the desired results. It sounds like it should.

When do you think you will be introducing the filter features you mentioned?

Thank you,

David Sinclair's picture

Re: filter features

Sometime this year. I don't have an exact date, and if I did it'd probably change, but I'm currently planning to work on the version that includes that feature (and much more) around August. Simon is an ongoing project, always improving!