Run Command Every Other Week
August 17th, 2014
I run a few things via cron, some of them need to run in intervals that cannot be expressed, for example biweekly or every 8th month.
As a general solution I created the
every command available here.
The supported usage is:
every [-n number] command [argument ...]
This will run
number time it’s invoked. For example to send an email the third, sixth, ninth, etc. time we call it, use:
every -n3 mail -s"Water the plants" firstname.lastname@example.org <<< "It’s time again!"
Using this in a crontab to remind us every second Wednesday could be done as:
# m h dom mon dow command 00 12 * * wed every -n2 mail -s"Water the plants" email@example.com <<< "It’s time again!"
How it Works
The command uses a guard file written to
XDG_DATA_HOME is unset then it defaults to
The name of the guard file is derived from the arguments passed to
every (using sha1) and the content of the guard file is a counter to keep track of how many times we have been called. As a convenience we also write the command to the guard file.
Once the counter reaches the value given via
every will remove the guard file and
exec your command.
The command is implemented as a bash script and should work on both OS X and GNU/Linux.
If the external guard file is undesired or readability is not a concern, then an alternative approach is to use modular arithmetic with the UNIX epoch returned by
date +%s. For an example see this post.