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 Automatic website change logs and notification

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documentation: general usage

ChangeDetection is useful tool that allows anyone to monitor and track changes to any page on the web. It's a great way to efficiently keep up-to-date on what interests you on the web.

This document covers general usage of our service. If you are a webmaster and want to improve your site using our service, please also refer to Webmaster Usage.


Table Of Contents


Assurances

Use our service with confidence. We keep your email address private. ChangeDetection does not sell, rent, or trade your email address to spammers. See our privacy policy. Our system requires that all participants "double opt-in" to prevent someone else signing up with your email address.


Signing Up

To get started simply sign up on our home page at www.changedetection.com. You well be sent an email with a special authorization code that is required to complete the process (this is done to prevent someone else from signing up using your email address). When you receive your email simply follow the instructions in the email. If you do not receive your email within a few minutes please check your spam folder.

To ensure more reliable delivery of our emails we recommend that you "whitelist" our sending address:

Note that this is a 'sending only' email address. Emails sent to this address will be ignored..


Home Page

The home page has three primary elements. First, if you are logged in a very concise summary of your account activity is displayed at the top of the page. Next, a simple form allows you to easily monitor a page for changes. Finally, a list of recent changes to the internet is displayed. This list contains all pages with public monitors that have recently changed in a significant way. The controls at the start of this list can be used to select how the changes are displayed for each page.


Your Account

To see a summary of your account status use the summary link on the right side of most pages, or use the account link in the header at the top of all pages.

This page has five primary elements:

  1. account summary - At the top of the page is a very concise summary of account activity.
  2. monitor a page - A small form allows you to create a new page change monitor.
  3. pages being monitored - A short list of the pages being monitored. The most recently created monitors are displayed first.
  4. email alerts - A summary of emails we have recently sent to you. This can be very handy in diagnosing problems with email delivery.
  5. recent page changes - A list of pages that you are monitoring that have recently changed.
Additionally you can use the account settings link on the right to view and update general account info (email address, etc).


Monitoring A Page

To monitor a page for changes simply fill out the complete page address ("http://...") then press "next".

Note: If you do not have an account you will be able to enter your email address and create an account as you create the monitor.

After ChangeDetection verifies the page is accessible, you will be able to choose various options for the monitor:

  • Alert name - This is your private name for this alert. It is what will be displayed when you see a list of your alerts. It should be short.
  • Send alert up to once per... - Use this to limit how often we tell you about changes to a page. We still check frequently so you will be promptly notified of changes, but we will not mail out multiple alerts more often than indicated. Choose RSS only to only be notified via an RSS feed.
  • Only send alert if sizable change - Use this option to ignore minor changes to a page. This is useful because many pages that appear to not change actually change every time they are viewed. For example, they might show the current time or indicate how many page views they've had. This option tells ChangeDetection to ignore those types of minor changes and to only to alert you when the change to a page is sizable.
  • Only send alert if text added/removed - Use this option when you are only interested in whether text was added to (or removed from) a page. This can be handy, for example, when you are monitoring a page that lists things (blog entries, classified ads, etc) and you don't care when something in that list dissapears. To enable this feature use the checkbox, then choose 'added' or 'removed'.
  • Only send alert if text contains words - Use this option when you are only interested when a specific word (or words) are mentioned. This can be used to monitor for product or technology references, among other things. Remember to check 'added' and/or 'removed' as appropriate, then fill in the words to watch for.
  • Pressing the 'create' button will create your new monitor and move you to the change log for that page.


    Pages Being Monitored

    A list of the pages you a currently monitoring is available on your account summary page. To see a complete list use the all monitors link on the right.

    This list allows you to view and have full control over your monitors. To view and/or edit monitor details, click in the checkbox to the left of the monitor then click on the edit button at the buttom of the list. To delete monitors (or "unsubscribe"), select them using the checkboxes on the left then use the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the list. To see the change log for the page being monitored click on the monitor name in the name column.


    Email Alerts

    A list of alerts that have been recently emailed to you is available on your account summary page. To see comprehensive details on specific emails use the recent alerts link on the right.

    To view the contents of a specific email click on the alert's subject in the list of alerts.

    Hint: If you are receiving alerts when it appears that a page hasn't changed, edit your monitor to only send alerts for sizable changes.


    Recent Page Changes

    This list contains all pages that you are monitoring that have recently changed. The first few changes are shown for each page.

    The controls at the start of this list can be used to select how the changes are displayed for all pages.

  • show added and deleted - Makes both additions to and deletions from the page visible.
  • only added - Only text that has been added to the page will be visible.
  • only deleted - Only text that has been removed from the page will be visible
  • show context - Shows some unchanged text before and after changed text.
  • hide context - Only shows changed text. Unnchanged text will not be shown.
  • For each page in the list the following options are available:

  • (the page title) - First, the title of the page is displayed in bold. Click on the title to leave ChangeDetection.com and go to the page being monitored.
  • view changes - Shows the full html of this page change in context.
  • change log - Shows the history of changes for this page.
  • more... - Shows the full text of this page change.
  • flag as spam - Lets us know about spam so that it can be removed.
  • flag as adult - Lets us know about adult content.

  • Account Settings

    This page allows you to view and change your basic account information. This includes your contact information (email address, password, and auto-login status) and also the default settings for new monitors.


    Directory

    The directory lists all pages with public monitors. It is available using the directory link in the header at the top of all pages. To view a history of changes for a page, click on it's title in the show change log column of the table.

    Please help us maintain this directory by flagging any spam or adult content you see. To do this check the box next to the listing then use the adult or spam button at the bottom of the list.


    Compare

    This page is a handy tool that allows you to compare any two web pages.

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     Automatic website change logs and notification

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