Anthony’s Mac Labs Blog

📦 New and Updated AppleSupportArticle Recipes

Posted 2018 September 19

About a week ago, Apple made a subtle change in the internal formatting of their Support Articles. That broke my AppleSupportArticle AutoPkg recipe (which helps you track whether an Apple Support Article has been updated) because the date format had changed. The good news was that I could now cleanly grab an ISO 8601 date format (which is what I prefer) and is not language-specific like my original solution. So I updated that recipe with that in mind.

This week, I thought a little more about how I’ve come to use this recipe, and really wanted the date first in the filename because, as I explained in a previous blog post, very often the file will report being changed (because statistics about the webpage are included in the header of the HTML file) but the displayed content and publication date will be static. The recipe will dutifully overwrite the previously cached copy with the same publication date information, so the real indicator of whether the article has changed or not is the filename. I can sort by dates if I put the date first in the filename, thus making it easier to spot when an article has changed. (I currently track 6 articles with this recipe.) The other shortcoming was that I couldn’t always remember which article went with which number. I learned which one HT208020 was (Imaging is Dead) a while ago, but had not memorized the others. I looked again at the formatting inside Apple’s support articles and realized I could grab the article title. Putting those two things in the filename was a much better solution.

Rather than break what I already had, I created a second recipe, AppleSupportArticleDateTitle. It does what what you think it does. It gives the page you downloaded a filename that starts with the ISO 8601 date and then adds the title. If you are grabbing a page in a language other than English, it grabs the title in that language. For how I use this recipe, this is a great improvement, but you can use whichever suits you.