A highly developed expert mode
The possibilities for fine-tuning the settings of each page under surveillance are taken to the maximum in the expert mode. Firstly, it is possible to configure automatic monitoring of the bookmark at the desired interval, day or hour. With this option activated, Website Watcher will autonomously connect to the site and indicate any changes to you. Alerts can be notified as a sound and/or by e-mail, according to your specifications. From an ergonomic point of view, it is very easily to identify which links have been modified, as they are displayed in bright red. With a double click, it is possible to view the document and find the changes, that are highlighted on a yellow background. One very useful option is to divide the window in two, where the old version is shown in one half of the page, and the new one in the other half.
Very quickly, by going further in the configuration details, we notice that Website Watcher’s possibilities are significant, but in most cases require a certain level of computing knowledge. For example, the use of regular expressions is helpful for targeting the alerts on a specific chain of characters, or on the contrary, to filter out recurrent and non-informative changes such as the date, advertisements, etc. Equally, news pages that include the date in their file name can also be monitored by Website Watcher, thanks to regular expressions. The tool is powerful, for those people who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and plunge into the code. A grounding in HTML is also useful for setting up a document model for exporting the results of the monitoring process. This very powerful feature lets you very quickly create an entirely personalized document, based on a company’s graphic charter for example. One little absence to note, as during our test we found it unfortunate not to be able to put a link to the pages which displayed the changes highlighted in yellow.
The set of pages to monitor can grow at great speed, and rapidly reach more than a thousand pages.
In this case, it can be difficult to get to grips with the information rapidly. To deal with this problem, Website Watcher includes a powerful search engine that allows you to do a full text search on a folder or on all the links under surveillance. It is also possible to keep an archive of the most interesting Web pages, so you can browse them at a later date without no fear that their content will be changed during a future update.
If we add to all the features mentioned above (and even here we have not been exhaustive), cookie management, monitoring all links on a site from just one URL, Website Watcher is without a doubt a very complete piece of software for putting in place a monitoring solution. Its main advantage remains the numerous options and settings that can be used to fine tune the results of the monitoring process. The price to pay is the complexity of the ‘expert mode’ that means that it takes many days of practice to totally master this tool.