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Product News: Enhanced Scheduled/Periodic Job Control

Hi all, this is a quick one from the product team at OpenFn — we've made a major upgrade to how timed/period jobs work.

In the past, if you weren't using OpenFn to drive some real-time (or "event-based") automation, you'd need to set up an "interval trigger." Like the photo above, this was essentially a sand timer. Set your trigger to 10 seconds and your job fetches data from DHIS2, some regional public health data set, or whatever, then cleans, transforms, and loads it into some other system.

For the most part, this has got the job done for the last 5 years, but as our NGO and government clients came up with increasingly specific requirements on not only how often but when a crucial job gets executed, we began finding ourselves creating little customizations for them on a once-off basis. We're happy to annouce that as of v1.75 (released today), you can now schedule jobs to run based on cron expressions, giving you incredible control over when your tasks get executed.

Scheduling is better than timing.

Using cron, you can choose to run a job every minute by typing * * * * *.

Or maybe you've got a batch sync that you want to take place while your users are asleep—why not run it every night at 11pm with 23 * * * *.

What if you've got to submit reuqests for medical inventory only during the onset of flu season? Simply type 0 0 1 2-4 * and your job will run at midnight the 1st of the month, from February through April.

You can still run jobs at the click of a button and create timers with expressions like */10 * * * * for "every 10 minutes", but scheduling with cron gives OpenFn.org users so much more control over how they run their organizations. (And that's a good thing.)

If you're keen on learning by doing but don't have an OpenFn account yet, sign up for free or mess around with cron expressions at crontab.guru, a brilliant site to quickly build complex cron expressions.

That's all from product for today. Speak soon.

Taylor