WatchMe has a set of environment variables that can alter default base organization and setup, along with variables that can be set across watcher tasks to change how the outputs are saved there.


WatchMe will default to saving your configuration in a subfolder of your home, $HOME/.watchme, and with the configurations for your watchers (the groups of pages to watch, and the frequencies). For example, if you have a watcher called jobs, one called watcher (this is the default) and one called pizzas, your .watchme folder would looklike this:


What goes in each folder? It’s actually a git repository, and this helps to track changes for pages. We do this instead of saving duplicates of the pages, and if you are doing research, you have a GitHub repository that updates with each.

Watcher Folder

Thus, if you want to change the default folder base ($HOME/.watchme) you can do the following:

export WATCHME_BASE_DIR=$HOME/.creepywatcher

If you decide to make this change, it’s important to write this into your .bashrc or equivalent, otherwise the default will be used.

Default Watcher

If you want to set a default watcher (different than “watcher”) to interact with, you can do that too:

export WATCHME_WATCHER=pizzas

And remember that you don’t have to do this - you can specify the watcher name on the command line to setup and create commands.


By default, when you run a task for a watcher, it will save the result in the watcher folder, in a folder named for the task. For example, if we run the task “task-harvard-hpc” for a watcher called “watcher,” the result will (without any special change) save like this:


Of course this isn’t ideal for all use cases! If you want a custom file name for the task, just use the variable file_name when you create the watcher. Let’s say we want to use the default urls watcher to post to some endpoint, and save the result as json with a custom file name:

$ watchme add-task watcher task-api-post url@ file_name@manifest-latest.json save_as@json func@post_task

“save_as” is custom for the urls watcher (so json is returned) but for any watcher that is saving some file, you can customize the file_name variable:

Name Required Default Example Notes
file_name No unset file_name@image.png the filename to save, only for download_task

Where should I go next?

Read about Concepts or go back to the Quick Start