• United States

Change alert

May 21, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Web site monitoring with WebSite-Watcher

There are many reasons to monitor the content on Web sites – you might be trying to get a jump on news announcements, you might be tracking data or you might be watching what your competitors are up to.

We’ve covered Web site monitoring tools before but today we have one that is different, it is a shareware product called WebSite-Watcher published by Martin Aignesberger (see links below).

WebSite-Watcher is different because it will display differences. It records the last version of the site, filtered however you please, and compares that to the current version. If changes are detected, the pages and words changed are highlighted and versions can be archived. Archived site contents can also be searched and exported to help file format (.CHM).

WebSite-Watcher is claimed to be fast – the author says that 100 sites a minute can be checked for changes. When updates are detected WebSite Watcher can play a sound, send an e-mail or open the changed Web site with another program.

The site filtering can be done using simple filters (useful for disposing of advertising banners) or by regular expressions so that really complex constraints can be specified. In the retrieved contents you can automatically highlight not only all changed words but also specific words or terms.

If a Web site needs the POST command to return contents, for example, if you are trying to automatically monitor shipping data that requires a form to be filled out, there is free add-on MiniBrowser that will handle the POST for you (this is in its own right a really cool tool that’s well worth checking out).

Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, NetCaptor and NeoPlanet browsers are support and you can import and export bookmarks, add opened URLs from your browser to WebSite-Watcher or download opened Web sites straight into the WebSite-Watcher archive. WebSite-Watcher can also back up browser settings, bookmarks and downloaded files into a zip archive.

WebSite-Watcher is available on a 30-day free trial and the licensed product costs $30 for the personal edition and $99 for corporate and educational use – volume discounts are available.

Also take a look at the author’s freeware utility AM Deadlink that will check all of the links in your browser’s bookmark list. It will show the status of each bookmark and allow you to remove those you select. It will also find duplicates and backup your bookmarks. Very useful.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

More from this author