How to download a web page with Perl 6

Because of various personal issues I stopped using IRC a while ago. Once in a while I am still joinng the #perl6 channel on, when I have an urgent question, but usually I have enough other distractions.

As I publish articles about Perl 6, once in a while people mention my name, or paste a link to my web site. I don't have time to follow the channel, but I'd like to know when something related to my work is mentioned.

Or just smile I was mentioned on ze Internets!

Luckily Moritz Lenz runs an IRC bot that creates beautiful logs of various IRC channels. Including that of Perl 6.

We are going to write a script that downloads the page containing today's log and check if certain strings were mentioned. If they were, we can dispatch an e-mail.

Note! This site is about Perl 6.
If you are looking for a solution for Perl 5, please check out the Perl 5 tutorial.

Monitoring a web site

Thanks to the LWP::Simple module of Cosimo Streppone, this is a simple task.

(Check here how to install Perl 6 modules.)

use v6;

use LWP::Simple;

sub MAIN($day = 0) {
    my $d = - $day;
    say $d;

    my @strings = <szabgab maven>;

    my $html = LWP::Simple.get('' ~ $d);

    if @strings.grep(-> $p { $html ~~ m:i/$p/ }) {
        say 'found';
        my @rows = split /\n/, $html;
        say @rows.elems;
        for @strings -> $s {
            for @rows.grep({ m:i/$s/ }) -> $r {
                say "$s -- $r";

Checking out the web site of the Perl 6 IRC logs, you will see that every day has its own page. The name of the page is built from the date in YYYY-MM-DD format.

How can we get that?

Perl 6 has a Date class which has a constructor called today It returns a Date object, which happens to be in that exact format, when stringified. So generating of today's URL is just a matter of

my $d =;
my $url = '' ~ $d;

As I wanted to be able to check earlier dates as well, I let the MAIN subroutine define a command line argument for $day. That should represent the number of days in the past. It defaults to 0, which means today.

LWP::Simple.get() download the content of a page and we assign it to the $html variable.

As we allow for multiple strings to look for we use grep to check the original HTML with each one of the expected strings. The m:i prefix makes our regex to be case insensitive.

@strings.grep(-> $p { $html ~~ m:i/$p/ })

Then we split the html to work on rows and print out the rows that have any of the strings we are monitoring.

A better approach would be to parse the HTML and check the strings in the right places, but for now this works well enough.

Sending e-mail was left as an exercise to you.

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Gabor Szabo
Written by Gabor Szabo

Published on 2012-09-21


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