Scheduled tasks and build your own dashboard widgets

Perch 2.0.8 has just shipped. A minor release that brings with it a couple of interesting bits of functionality.

Something we are really excited about, because it should make your lives easier, is the introduction of scheduled tasks within Perch. Sometimes an app needs to do something on a regular basis. An example would be the Twitter App. It needs to run the script that loads in new tweets and caches them at regular intervals.

In the past you had to configure each script as a cron job or Windows scheduled task individually, and there was nothing in Perch to manage those tasks.

The new scheduled task functionality means that you can set up a single cron job or scheduled task on your server when installing Perch, and then any other apps that need to run a script on a regular basis can be managed from within Perch. Upgrade to 2.0.8 to take advantage of this feature and then read the documentation for scheduled tasks. App developers can also take advantage of this feature from within their apps.

The second feature is something we laid the groundwork for in the initial Perch 2 release. In the Admin Settings in Perch 2 you can check a checkbox to enable the Perch Dashboard. With the Dashboard enabled, the initial page after logging into Perch shows information about the different apps that you have installed in panels or Widgets. Most of our official Apps include a Dashboard Widget. This release makes it possible for you to also add standalone widgets that do not have a full app behind them.

Dashboard Widgets can be as simple as a chunk of HTML or can do quite complex things before rendering their output. Along with the 2.0.8 release we’ve added some widgets to our add-ons section of the site.

You can create your own widgets very easily, the Dashboard documentation can be found in the API section of the documentation. We’ve also written a solution that demonstrates how to create your own HTML only widget, as a starting point.

We hope you enjoy our new features and if you do something interesting as a Dashboard Widget. Or would like to see an official widget for something in particular, let us know.