Scripting for OSX: repeating job

I collect little quotes and funny thoughts and have them randomly shown below my mail, one at a time. Over the years I have done this in a number of ways, but never found a really practical solution other than running a dedicated program, when I was on Windows. I was never able to find a proper solution for OSX.

The only way forward was writing a shell script. This was relatively easy and I found some easy hints for selecting a line from one file and inserting it is another HTML/text file. Let’s just say I never bothered to understand ‘sed’ but copy-pasted a nice solution from the ‘Net.

The problem was that I want to repeat the job every 15 seconds or so, to create a new tag-line over and over again. The script I found did it with an infinite loop and a sleep=command. Not the nicest way, to put it mildly. The other obvious reason is creating a cronjob, but it seems OSX has a better solution for running scripts repeatedly.

The trick is to create a plist file. It is a bit of a weird crossover between an XML and a property file (i.e. order matters!), but the syntax is straightforward. And by adding the <StartInterval> you control the number of seconds the app is restarted. Easy!

So my plist file is

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “”>
<plist version=”1.0″>



The next step is to copy this file to ~/Library/LaunchAgents and the next time you login (or restart?) the script runs.

An easy solution, out of the box, when you know what to look for on OSX.

One response to “Scripting for OSX: repeating job”

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