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ontime

ontime: a human-readable cron

ontime is a cron-like job scheduler with readable time expressions. For example, the following code invokes the given function on 4:30AM and 9AM every day (i.e., twice a day).

var ontime = require('ontime')

ontime({
    cycle: [ '04:30:00', '9:00:00' ]
}, function (ot) {
    // do your job here
    ot.done()
    return
})

It supports:

  • to describe jobs that should get done yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, every minute, every second or on specified times;
  • to skip running a job based on a specified step; e.g., to run it every 2 weeks;
  • to use a local time or UTC;
  • to track the last day of a month; possible to run a job on the last day of every month; and
  • to wait for the currently running job to get finished, which ensures that at most only one instance of your job be running at a time

but does not yet support:

Options

Options to ontime control the cycle of a job, choose between a local time and UTC, enable to keep track of the last day of a month and so on. In explaining options, each section header shows the option it explains and its default value in parentheses.

Time expressions (cycle: '')

ontime determines the cycle of a job based on the format of time expressions. The time expression basically has the form of an ISO-8601 Date Format, YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss where YYYY indicates a year, MM a month, DD a day of the month, hh an hour, mm a minute and ss a second, except that:

  • A unit can be omitted only when units greater than that are also omitted, which means the day part(DD) cannot be omitted unless the year and month parts(YYYY-MM-) are. This makes ontime's time expression differ from the original ISO-8601 format because the later allows smaller units to be omitted in times. For example, 12 and 12:00 denote hh and hh:mm respectively in the ISO-8601 format while ss and mm:ss respectively in the ontime's format;
  • A space can be used to separate the time part from the date part instead of T as in 2010-01-09 11:00:00; and
  • ontime allows digits not to be zero-padded; for example, it accepts 2014-5-4T0:0:0 as well as 2014-05-04T00:00:00.

The time expression is given to ontime through the cycle option. You can give a single expression of the string type like '01-01T12:00:00' or multiple ones as an array of strings like [ '01-01T12:00:00', '7-1T0:0:0' ].

Yearly jobs

The year part(YYYY-) should be omitted to specify yearly jobs.

ontime({
    cycle: '2-9T00:00:00'
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('my birthday!')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on February 9 every year.

Note how the last day of February is handled on a leap year. If you set the time expression to February 29 as in '2-29T00:00:00', the job will be triggered only in leap years. See the keepLast option to change this behavior.

Monthly jobs

The year and month parts(YYYY-MM-) should be omitted for monthly jobs.

ontime({
    cycle: [ '1T12:00:00', '15T12:00:00' ]
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('review the project')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on the 1th and 15th days of each month.

Note how the last day of a month is handled. If you set the time expression to the 31th day as in 31 23:59:59, the job will run only on January, March, May, July, August, October and December since others have no 31th day. Use the keepLast option to change this behavior.

Daily jobs

The whole date part(YYYY-MM-DDT) should be omitted for daily jobs; note that the separator T should be also dropped.

ontime({
    cycle: '12:00:00'
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('lunch time!')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on noon every day.

Weekly jobs

Weekly jobs have a different format to specify a day of a week.

ontime({
    cycle: [ 'Sunday 12:00:00', 'sat 12:00:00' ]
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('weekend!')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on Saturday and Sunday every week.

Hourly jobs

The date and hour parts(YYYY-MM-DDThh:) should be omitted for hourly jobs.

ontime({
    cycle: [ '00:00', '30:00' ]
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('30 mins to next run')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints every 30 minutes (twice an hour).

Jobs on every minute

By omitting all units except for seconds, a job can be invoked every minute.

ontime({
    cycle: [ '10', '30', '50' ]
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('20 secs to next run')
})

This code prints on the 10th, 30th and 50th seconds of every minute.

Jobs on every second

An empty string denotes jobs that get started every second.

var count = 0

ontime({
    cycle: '',
}, function (ot) {
    console.log(++count)
    ot.done()
    return
})

This counts up every second.

Jobs on specified times

You can trigger your job on explicitly specified times.

ontime({
    cycle: [ '2100-1-9 9:00:00',
             '2200-1-9 9:0:0' ]
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('what is this day?')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This prints on 9AM of 9 January 2100 and the same time of 2200 if you're using node.js until then.

Mixing different cycles

In order to keep the model and the interface simple, a single type of job cycle is allowed for each invocation of ontime. Mixing different cycle types can be achieved by introducing multiple invocations to ontime as in:

ontime({
    cycle: [ '01-09 11:30:00',        // yearly
             'Saturday 12:00:00' ]    // weekly
}, job)    // mixed types of cycle result in error

ontime({
    cycle: '01-09 11:30:00'    // yearly
}, job)
ontime({
    cycle: 'Sat 12:0:0'    // weekly
}, job)

Skipping steps (step: 1)

The step option enables a job to be skipped periodically. Setting it to n forces ontime to skip a given job n-1 times after a run, which leads to launching the job eveny n cycles.

ontime({
    cycle:    '31T00:00:00',
    keepLast: true,
    step:     3
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('every 3 months')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This prints on the last day of a month every three months.

Note how this option interacts with the single option.

A local time vs. UTC (utc: false)

Setting the utc option to true changes ontime to interpret the time expressions as UTC.

This is useful

  • when you cannot be sure of what the time zone on your system is; and
  • when you do not want to miss or run twice your job when the time shifts back or forward an hour for DST.

Preserving a single instance (single: false)

ontime launches a job on its scheduled time. If the job takes longer than the time interval of the cycle, more than one instance of the job may run at the same time. The single option keeps another instance of a job from starting if there is already a running one.

To be precise, with single set to false, ontime schedules the next run at the start of the current run. Changing that to true has the next run scheduled when the ot.done() method is invoked by a user.

The following two diagrams show the difference, where labelled | and + denote time spots to start new instances, and * indicates their execution.

ontime({
    cycle:  [ A, B ],
    single: false    // default
}, function (ot) {
    // ...
    ot.done()
    return
})

     A          A    B     A         BA
- - -|----------|----+-----|---------+|- - -
     *************
                *********
                     ****
                           *****

ontime({
    cycle:  [ A, B ],
    single: true
}, function (ot) {
    // ...
    ot.done()
    return
})

     A          A    B     A         BA
- - -|----------|----+-----|---------+|- - -
     *************   *********       ****

Exclusiveness of job execution is guaranteed only within a single invocation to ontime. Two difference invocations to ontime cannot interpose with each other.

Keeping the last day of a month (keepLast: false)

It is sometimes necessary to run a job on the last day of each month, which have been replaced with doing it on the first day of each month instead. By setting the keepLast option to true, ontime automatically adjusts the date part(DD) to the last day according to the value of the month part(MM) if necessary.

ontime({
    cycle:    '31T10:00:00',
    keepLast: true
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('the last day')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on the 31th day of a month when the month has the 31th day, on the 28th or 29th when February, or on the 30th day otherwise. Another example goes for yearly jobs:

ontime({
    cycle:    '2-29T10:00:00',
    keepLast: true
}, function (ot) {
    console.log('the last day of Feb')
    ot.done()
    return
})

This code prints on 29 February on a leap year and on 28 February otherwise.

Logging messages (log: false)

ontime has a very simple form of logging that is useful when checking if your configuration works as intended. It can be turned on by setting the log option to true.

Methods

A job function should be defined as to accept at least one argument that is referred to as ot in this document. The argument contains these methods:

  • ot.done(): should be called after the job has been finished. This is important especially when single is set to true because scheduling the next run is done in the method.
  • ot.cancel(): clears timers for scheduling jobs that the ontime instance knows. This does not terminate the current execution of a job; you still need to call ot.done() for that purpose.

INSTALL.md explains how to build and install the library. For the copyright issues, see the accompanying LICENSE.md file.

If you have a question or suggestion, do not hesitate to contact me via email (woong.jun at gmail.com) or web (http://code.woong.org/).