Tracking Web Page Updates
Every Friday, the friendly neighborhood Intuit developers meet up.
We talk about struggles we’ve had during the week, our software progress, and ways we can improve the general Intuit third-party dev experience.
One important topic that came up recently was how to tell when APIs are updated and what exactly was changed.
With this in mind, I set out on a magical Google journey to find the best tools for tracking web page updates.
After installing Page Monitor, there are a few different steps to take. First navigate to the page you wish to monitor. Click the page monitor icon in the top right and choose “Monitor this Page.”
Afterwards, right-click the page monitor icon and choose “Options.” A page will show up in Chrome allowing you to adjust various options.
As you can see, there are several different options for each web page. You can adjust how frequently the web page is checked for updates. You can also choose whether or not desktop notifications are shown for the update, and how long those notifications last. Make sure to click “Advanced” to see all options.
Although Page Monitor does a great job differencing web pages, it has one glaring issue. This shortcoming is that you need Chrome running to determine when a page has been updated. Distill.io is a Firefox extension that handles this by providing cloud tracking (a few web pages for free), as well as emailing when a web page is updated.
Distill did a great job with the many different features available to you. You can even be so granular as to choose which parts of a page you actually want to track, rather than just the whole page. You can use this to make sure you can avoid getting updates when, for example, a comment is added to a page.
I checked out a few other Firefox extensions, such as Check4Change and UpdateScanner. However, they lacked telling me what had changed. Update Scanner did a successfully told me what was added, but not what had been removed.
Since we can’t get everything we want in a single package, I recommend a hybrid approach. Start by signing up for a free account on Distill (you don’t need Firefox to do this) and tracking the web pages you want to get emails for on there. Then you should head over and install Page Monitor for Chrome so you can go look up what has changed after you receive the Intuit API Update email from Distill.
— Matthew Gritters