In a previous post I wrote about my positive experience with a tool that automated the creation of launchd plist files for Mac, http://launched.zerowidth.com/. After several weeks of running, I found myself in a position of not knowing if the job was running as scheduled. A bit more searching yielded two interesting things.
First, I found that the plist syntax supports two keywords that allow me to capture the output of my script in files:
<key>StandardErrorPath</key> <string>/Users/myname/backup.stderr.log</string> <key>StandardOutPath</key> <string>/Users/myname/backup.stdout.log</string>
I then changed the program arguments from this:
<key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>sh</string> <string>-c</string> <string>rsync -av -e ssh ~/Documents firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/user/backup/</string> </array>
<key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>sh</string> <string>-c</string> <string>date;rsync -av -e ssh ~/Documents email@example.com:/home/user/backup/</string> </array>
Now the stdout log file contains a timestamp for every time the task is run. I can simply open the file and scroll to the end when I feel uncertain about whether the task ran. 🙂
Second, I stumbled upon an excellent primer on launchd and the launchctl command that exercises it: http://nathangrigg.net/2012/07/schedule-jobs-using-launchd/