Managing time-triggered events with Zeit

Adding Tasks

For recurring jobs, either go to Time | Add Task, press the Add Task button, or press Ctrl+A. A dialog box opens where you can then define the new task in more detail (Figure 2). In the upper two input boxes, start by defining the description and the command to be executed.

Figure 2: The entry for lunch at 12 noon from Monday to Friday.

Next, specify the time of execution. Basic allows a simple selection for every minute, hour, day, week, month, or every weekday. Things get more detailed in the Advanced section, where you can specify the exact minute, hour, day, weekday, and month. You can use the same notation as with crontab, for example, 1-5 for Monday to Friday. Context help supports you in your endeavors to correctly specify the individual values.

Below the input boxes, a box tells you what the values you entered actually mean, making it clear when the system will want to execute the task. Note the Enabled checkbox at the bottom: If checked, the task is enabled; otherwise, it will only be added to the table as a comment. Pressing the OK button completes the creation of the new task.

For one-off jobs, the menu item is named Add Command, which opens the matching dialog box in Figure 3. In addition to the description and the command, you need to specify the execution time. Press the Now button to insert the current time, and Reset to reset the input boxes. If you check the box next to Show OSD notification, you will see an additional message on screen ("On-Screen Display") when the command is executed. This helps you keep track of jobs the system executes in the background.

Figure 3: Zeit executes the command to create a one-time backup just before midnight.

Editing Tasks

To edit an existing task, first select an entry in the list and then navigate to Zeit | Modify Task or click on the Modify Task button. Alternatively, you can use the context menu or the Ctrl+M keyboard shortcut. (For one-time jobs, use Modify Command.)

Depending on the task type, the dialog box shown in Figure 2 (recurring task) or Figure 3 (one-time command) appears. The content is the same as when creating a new task. Pressing OK completes the task edit. You can delete an existing task in the same way via Zeit | Delete Task, the Delete Task button, or by pressing Ctrl+D. (For one-time jobs, use Delete Command.)

In addition, you can copy existing tasks via the Zeit | Copy Task menu item or the Copy Task button (one-time tasks use Copy Command). Alternatively, press Ctrl+C to create a copy. Zeit adds the copied task to the end of the task list, where you can now customize it as desired.

Task List

The Zeit GUI offers two possibilities to customize the display in the task list. You can filter the tasks using a search term by either going to View | Show Filter or by pressing Ctrl+F. An input field for the filter text then appears below the task list. Zeit only processes plain text, not regular expressions. Zeit interprets text as case-insensitive and then searches in the description, the execution times, and the stored command.

Another option is a short text display. You can enable this either via View | Shorten Text or by pressing Ctrl+H. In testing, this function had no effect, but maybe the descriptive text I chose was already short enough.

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