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File: Cron_parser_documentation.txt

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File: Cron_parser_documentation.txt
Role: Documentation
Content type: text/plain
Description: Documentation on intended usage
Class: PHP Cron
Parse cron schedules to find when cron job ran
Author: By
Last change:
Date: 17 years ago
Size: 2,743 bytes


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PHP Cron parser documentation

This is some rudimentary documentation to explain the purpose and 
intended use of the Cron Parser class.  Currently, the class exists 
in isolation, but when Iíve worked more on an implementation, Iíll 
post concrete examples and perhaps a complete cron replacement system.

This class does *not* read in your crontab.  It relies on being told a
schedule from a crontab and parsing that.  A typical implementation would
be to use a database to store data about cron jobs.  Typically, in
a two-server environment, serverB's crons would be set to run 2 minutes 
after serverA's crons were due to run, first checking if the cron on serverA
actually ran, thus providing cron redundancy.

Current functionality

The class has various internal methods, but it is not intended that 
these be invoked.  Instead, just one method should be used, as follows:

$cron_schedule = "0 5 * * *";//example schedule, (5am each day)

//Constructor - takes cron schedule as an argument
$cron = new CronParser($cron_schedule);

//getLastRan method - returns array (0=minute, 1=hour, 2=dayOfMonth, 3=month, 4=week, 5=year)
$lastRan = $cron->getLastRan(); 

//Make a timestamp from the array
$cron_ran = mktime ( $lastRan[1] ,$lastRan[0],0 , $lastRan[3] ,$lastRan[2], $lastRan[5]);

So, in this example, itís obvious that the last ran time was 5am 
on the current day.  However, this calculation becomes more complex 
when some other cron schedules are involved, like:

$cron_schedule = "0,12,30-35 5,7-9 * 9-12 0-3,6";

This example asks cron to run a program at a variety of different 
times, and the last ran time might be last yesterday, last week, 
last month, or even last year.  So, if you need to know if a cron ran, 
you can add logging to your app, and then create a CronParser instance 
to determine when the cron job was due to run last and use fuzzy time 
comparison between that time and the timestamp of your log entry in your 

Using this system, you can add an environment variable to your crontab 
like (HOSTNAME="serverA") and use this in your logging to determine 
which server ran the cron.  Use logic to run the cron on serverB if 
serverA failed to log success.

Future expansion of this project

The basic parsing of cron schedules has been cracked, and thereís no 
reason why a whole host of PHP applications to control scheduled execution 
of scripts canít be created, for sysadmin and web management use.  I plan 
to write some apps that I can release under GPL / LGPL for these purposes.

Mick Sear (,
For more information send a message to info at phpclasses dot org.