Introducing Changed.Page

I’m excited to announce something I’ve been working on for a little while: Changed.Page. This is a platform that notifies you when web pages change. Every day this checks pages to see if they’ve changed and send you an email if they have. It’s that simple.

I’ve been using this myself for a little while, and now you can too.

The website is at: https://changed.page

I’m going to try to cover as many questions about this as possible.

Why did you build this?

This was born of frustration. In my day job we use a number of APIs that change, but there was no way to be notified of the upcoming change. While there might be a blog post or a release notes page, there was no way to get notified they had changed. This was and still is extremely frustrating.

While the companies that provide the APIs could simply notify people of the changes in advance, they didn’t. Or they force you to log into their platform to get updates. Either way it meant manually checking pages to see if there was an update.

It seemed like such a waste of time to manually check the pages. It was crying out to be automated. So I built this.

How does it work?

In a word: serverless. I saw this as a real opportunity to build something interesting using serverless computing. Serverless provides the promise of allowing you to write code without worrying as much about how it gets hosted. It means you no longer have to deal with building servers, whether they’re cloud based VMs or physical servers. It means no more patching required.

Serverless also provides a much better way to scale out based on load. Under most models of hosting, as load increases you scale out with more servers, typically based on things like increased CPU load. However it takes time to provision new servers, deploy the software and start handling the load. Often it also takes time before the servers are fully operational and “warm” enough to perform well.

Serverless allows new resources to be added in smaller increments. Rather than adding a server, you add just what you need, when you need it.

It’s also a very cost effective way of hosting a platform. It means you only pay for the resources you use. If the load isn’t constant, then serverless is a great way to manage that load. And in almost all cases, load is not constant.

I’m going to write a few follow up posts about how this has been built.

Other questions

What are you doing with my email?

We’ll send you emails when pages change or updates about improvements to the platform. That’s it.

Why is there a limited set of pages to monitor?

I’m not ready to open this up to monitor any and every web page. I’m not 100% sure how people might use this at this point if it’s totally open. That could change in future.

How is this different from archive.org?

They have a different focus. Archive.org aims to provide a comprehensive digital library. Changed.Page just looks to send a notification when something changes.

How will you make money from this?

I won’t. This a free service because I think it’s valuable for other people. For reasons I’ll go into later blog posts, this should cost close to zero.

Where will this go?

I’ve built this because it solves a problem for me. At the same time, I think it might be helpful to other people. If I had the problem, other people might also.

So where it goes from here? I’m really not sure but I definitely expect to keep adding more pages to be monitored.

I’m happy to keep improving this to continue to make it useful. If you’ve got any suggestions, feel free to get in touch at [email protected].

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