I am a programmer, and do not know a lot about crons, but I want to know if this is possible.

Lets say I have an array [option1, option2, option3] and a script which I run in NodeJS called script.js. I want to run this script each day at 1 am. The cron command of this would be:

0 1 * * * node ~/script.js

Well now the tricky part, I want to rotate the options each day, so for example monday I want to run node ~/script.js option1, the next day node ~/script.js option2 and so on. Also, I want to be able to add/remove options when needed, but the rotation should stay intact.

Is this possible in any way? I know I could do this within node also, but I'd rather do this from outside the script, and leave the script as it is.

  • 2
    I would recommend scripting this vs trying to get cron doing it by itself. – earthmeLon Aug 28 '15 at 22:41

Also, I want to be able to add/remove options when needed, but the rotation should stay intact.

That's tricky. What does it mean for the rotation to stay intact after modification of the list of options? After all, you could be completely rebuilding the list, destroying any clue as to where you were.

What you probably could do is set up a directory with files which represent your options (either via their file name, or their content). Then whenever the cron job executes, you'd list that directory, sorting files by last modification time. You take the oldest entry, touch that file to change its modification time to the current time, then use it to run the script.

cd ~/script-options
next=$(ls -rt | head -n1)
touch -- "${next}"
node ~/script.js ${next} or $(<"${next}")

If you want to, you can write this in a single line for cron as well, though it will become harder to read.

Adding options means adding new files to the options directory. Removing options means deleting files. At any point, the oldest file is the one to be run next, so new options will be added at the very end of the cycle, as if the had just been run. If you want to re-order options, you can touch them in any order you want.

  • Absolutely +1 for the way you manage option sequentiality across "list edits". – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 28 '15 at 13:19
  • Thanks for the answer, I like it and will use it. The exact order of the rotation is not that important when I add new ones to the list. The only thing that matters is that they all get a run 1-2 each week each week, and not two on the same day. – Saif Bechan Aug 28 '15 at 16:00
  • 2
    $(ls -rt | head -n1) will of course break on filenames that include newlines, but for this purpose you can probably get away with just "don't do that". – cjm Aug 28 '15 at 21:33

Let's say you want a different option for each day of the week. You can:

  1. Have a separate cron job for these:

    0 1 * * 0 node ~/script.js option1
    0 1 * * 1 node ~/script.js option2
    0 1 * * 2 node ~/script.js option3


  2. Have bash provide the desired options for you:

    0 1 * * * node ~/script.js case `date +%u` in 0 ) echo option1 ;; 1 ) echo option2 ;; 2 ) echo option3 ;;  esac

    (I didn't run the latter, so it might need some tweaking - but that's the general idea.)

  • 2
    Thanks for the answers, but I think it will get messy. I really need to define an array somewhere, else it will not work. I can no work with echo option1 etc, because my options might vary from week to week. Ill just do this in my Node app, and keep track of which one I ran last in my db. – Saif Bechan Aug 28 '15 at 4:07

No, I can think of no clean way to do this. Just write a simple shell wrapper script that checks the date and starts up your node application with your required options each day.

  • +1 the key is 'no clean way'. – Paolo Aug 28 '15 at 5:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.