Html change monitoring logoI recently came across this question in the Q&A section of a forum I belong to:

“I want to run once a day a script that will check whether the specific part of code has been changed, and if it did, we would get some return message (ideally directly to my email). What would be the easiest, simplest way to do that? I’ve read about web crawlers, web scrappers, but they seem to be doing far more than we need.”

Sure, if all you want to do is something as lightweight as monitoring a set of target pages for changes, then using a ready monitoring tool is probably way more than you need. You need to keep it simple. So, here’s a quick solution with Google spreadsheet.

Basically you have to set up a Google spreadsheet to scrape pages’ parts through IMPORTXML function (with an example) using xPath. Then you set up notifications in a spreadsheet: Tools -> Notification Rules

Spreadsheet scrape and notifying

Spreadsheet scrape and notifying

Now each time the IMPORTXML scraping function gets content that is different to previous one, the spreadsheet should trigger an email to you.

Feel free to comment down if you know any other simple way for html change monitoring.