New to Ubuntu, and first time writing a crontab, or using the Nano editor. Basically I can get a simple python script to fire via a crontab, but not the actual python script needed to be scheduled. Below is what I have done.

I am able to run this simple python script (called testChronScript.py) via crontab:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

print "TESTING"
file_name = "test_outputfile.txt"
output = open(file_name, "w")
print "DONE"

The way I setup the cron tab and the resulting output looks like this:

justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ sudo nano runScripts.cron 
justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ crontab runScripts.cron
justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ crontab -l
41 14 * * * python testChronScript.py  > /dev/pts/19 
justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ TESTING

This python script will run at 2:41PM just like it was assigned, and create the file in the directory.

Now the actual script i'm trying to setup via a crontab scrapes data from wikipedia and saves it to the database. Here is the code:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

# Author: Justin Dano 8/6/2016
# This script was inspired by Michael Halls-Moore articles on Quantstart.com

import datetime
import lxml.html
from urllib2 import urlopen
from math import ceil
from SharedFunctionsLib import *

def scrape_sp500_symbols():
    Scrape S&P500 symbols from Wikipedia page
    :return: List of current SP500 symbols
    timestamp = datetime.datetime.utcnow()

    # Use libxml to scrape S&P500 ticker symbols
    page = urlopen('http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_S%26P_500_companies')
    page = lxml.html.parse(page)
    symbols_list = page.xpath('//table[1]/tr')[1:]

    # Obtain the ticker symbol, name, and sector information 
    # for each row in the S&P500 constituent table
    ticker_symbols = []
    for symbol in symbols_list:
        tds = symbol.getchildren()
        sd = {'ticker': tds[0].getchildren()[0].text,
                'name': tds[1].getchildren()[0].text,
                'sector': tds[3].text}

        # Map ticker information to the columns of our database table
        # The first value (2) represents the status id, which is set to live by default
        ticker_symbols.append((2, sd['ticker'], sd['name'],
            sd['sector'], timestamp, timestamp))

    return ticker_symbols

def filter_symbols(symbols):
    If we are updating our symbols table, we do not want to
    add duplicate symbols, so here we filter out companies
    that already exist in the database.
    :param symbols: The list of symbols scraped from Wikipedia
    :return: List of symbols not yet represented in database
    new_symbols = [] 
    unique_symbols = set() 

    # Attempt to get any existing ticker data
    data = retrieve_db_tickers(con)

    # Collect a set of existing tickers
    for symbol in data:

    # Now add any additional symbols not yet included in the
    # database from the SP500 wiki page
    for s in symbols:
        if s[0] not in unique_symbols:
            print(str(s[2]) + " will be added to the database!")

    return new_symbols

def insert_sp500_symbols(symbols):
    Insert any new S&P500 symbols (that do not already belong)
    into the MySQL database.
    :param symbols: List of tuples where each tuple is data for a specific company
    # Create the insert query
    column_fields = "status_id, ticker, name, sector, created_date, last_updated_date"
    insert_fields = ("%s, " * 6)[:-2]
    query_string = "INSERT INTO symbol (%s) VALUES (%s)" % (column_fields, insert_fields)

    # Insert symbol data into the database for every symbol
    with con: 
        cur = con.cursor()
        # This line avoids the MySQL MAX_PACKET_SIZE
        # It chunks the inserts into sets of 100 at a time
        for i in range(0, int(ceil(len(symbols) / 100.0))):
            cur.executemany(query_string, symbols[i*100:(i+1)*100-1])

if __name__ == "__main__":
    con = get_db_connection()

    # 1.Scrape ticker data for the current companies existing in the S&P500 index from Wikipedia
    symbols = scrape_sp500_symbols()

    # 2.Filter out pre-existing data that may already belong in our database
    filtered_symbols = filter_symbols(symbols)

    # 3.Insert company ticker data into our MySQL database

Now the output looks like this:

justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ sudo nano runScripts.cron
justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ crontab runScripts.cron
justin@JBot:~/PycharmProjects/Quant_Local$ crontab -l
51 14 * * * python obtainSymbols.py  > /dev/pts/19 

Basically, you should be seeing some additional output (along with new entries saved to the database.) The script appears to not have been executed and I cannot figure out why!

Here is the directory proving the files exist in the directory, and their corresponding permissions.

drwxrwxr-x 3 justin justin  4096 Sep 27 14:50 .
drwxrwxr-x 4 justin justin  4096 Sep 24 14:54 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 justin justin  3504 Sep 25 15:02 obtainSymbols.py
-rw-r--r-- 1 root   root      52 Sep 27 14:50 runScripts.cron
-rw-rw-r-- 1 justin justin  5009 Sep 27 12:17 SharedFunctionsLib.py
-rw-rw-r-- 1 justin justin   174 Sep 25 16:56 testChronScript.py

Any suggestions on why my obtainSymbols.py script will not get triggered by my crontab? Or any other suggestions on how to schedule this python script to run (basically just daily) would be of great help!

Thanks for your time.


The output redirection to the text file is incorrect. cron runs the script with sh, therefore your cron line should look like:

41 14 * * * python testChronScript.py >> /dev/pts/19 2>&1

When cron runs the script you should not get an output to the command line. Instead, check the contents of the output file with:

cat /dev/pts/19

Also, there is no point in creating the runScripts.cron file as root.

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