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Release Notes - 3.2.0 (Jan 2014)

These are the project wiki release notes for the 3.2.0 release, available as of Jan 8, 2014.

Heritrix3 is most suitable for advanced users and projects that are either customizing Heritrix (with Java or other scripting code) or embedding Heritrix in a larger system. Please review the Current Limitations, below, to help determine if Heritrix3 or a current Heritrix1 (1.14.4 or later) release is best suited for your needs.

Those new to Heritrix3 should also review the Heritrix 3.0.0 Release Notes for an overview of differences and limitations compared to earlier versions.

The 3.2.0 release is available via our build box, at:

(Source and .zip variants are available in the same directory.)

Documentation for Heritrix3 is available via the Heritrix 3.0 User Guide, Heritrix 3.0 API Guide, and other notes on the Heritrix project wiki.

Please discuss questions, problems, and ideas at our project discussion list, and submit bug reports or feature requests via our project JIRA issue tracker.

1. Version Numbering Convention

Beginning with this release, we are dropping the convention of using an odd/even point numbering as a signal whether a build or release is 'development/testing' or 'official'. See Version Numbering for details.

2. New and Notable

Through Heritrix 3.2.0 (January 2014)

Minor version number bumped because there are some changes that are not backward-compatible. For one, heritrix now requires java 1.6. It's also been a while since the last release, and there some some significant new features, and lots of other changes.

URL-agnostic deduplication (HER-2022)

Deduplication for identical content, even at different urls. Configuration is documented here: Duplication Reduction Processors

Automatic form login (HER-2031)

With new processors ExtractorHTMLForms and FormLoginProcessor, heritrix can detect typical html login forms and submit a configured username and password to them. Configuration is documented at

Option to forget all but latest checkpoint (HER-2051)

Enable periodic checkpointing without worrying that it will overflow the disk.  When enabled, earlier checkpointed logs are rolled up into new checkpointed log, earlier bdb checkpoint dirs are deleted and earlier checkpoint dirs are deleted. Related is HER-2056, option not to rollover warcs on checkpoint.

Handle stats consistently on checkpoint (HER-2048)

On checkpoint resumption, all stats resume counting from where they left off when checkpointed. In addition, dns lookups are not repeated in a checkpoint-resumed crawl (unless they're expired, same as in a normal crawl).

Custom extractor that constructs outlinks from strings found in content (HER-2024)

Very flexible extractor module ExtractorMultipleRegex, which can look for arbitrary regular expressions in the url and content of a page, and construct urls from the matching groups.

Responsive web UI using freemarker templates (HER-1726)

Web UI uses freemarker templates to replace hard-coded html in java source, and foundation for responsiveness.

Improved speculative link extraction from javascript (HER-1523)

Significant tightening of speculative link extraction heuristics based on statistical analysis.

Through Heritrix 3.1.1 (May 2012)

Nicer code editor for crawl config and script console (HER-2001)

The crawl configuration cxml editor and the scripting console editor now use CodeMirror, which adds syntax highlighting, line numbers and other features

Fixed occasional mangling of DNS records in ARCs and WARCs (HER-1983)

A longstanding bug that caused some DNS records in ARCs and WARCs to be mangled, due to unsafe use of a shared variable among threads, is now fixed.

Remember all surts across checkpoint/resume (HER-1985)

Surts that were derived from seeds, or listed as surts in the seeds source, or that were added using a .seeds file in the action directory, can now be remembered across checkpoint/resume. For that to work the relevant SurtPrefixedDecideRule must be a top-level bean. The default cxml distributed with heritrix now includes the key decide rule as a top-level bean with id "acceptSurts".

Support for saving script state (HER-1984)

Added a shared map for arbitrary use during a crawl. It can be used for state persisting for the duration of the crawl, shared among ScriptedProcessor, scripting console and other scripts, or other purposes. In scripts it can be obtained with appCtx.getData().

Through Heritrix 3.1.0 final (October 2011)

More conservative speculative javascript extraction (HER-1951)

Heritrix 3.1.0-RC1 speculative javascript extraction produced many false positives, most of which would be 404s when crawled. As of 3.1.0 many of the common, obvious false positives, including strings containing characters that rarely appear in urls, strings that look like mimetypes, and a few other cases, are not treated as likely urls.

A few XML API tag names have changed to follow camelcase convention (HER-1953)

The tag names of some children of sizeTotalReports have changed to use camelcase, following the convention used everywhere else.

HTTP authentication type fallback (HER-1917)

Previously heritrix HTTP authentication would fail if the first authentication method requested by the server was not supported, even if another one was. Now fallback to the supported method works.

Cookie saving and loading (HER-1914)

Heritrix now supports saving cookies to a file and loading them from the file.

Through Heritrix 3.1.0-RC1 (July 2011)

Distinct directories for each re-launch of a job (HER-1901, HER-1900)

Heritrix will now create a new subdirectory of the job directory at the moment of a job 'launch', to collect files uniquely related to that launch. The CXML at the time of launch will be copied to that directory, as well as any other files read as part of individual bean configuration. The default paths for logs, reports, and arcs/warcs are now set to subdirectories of the launch directory, though these may as always be explicitly set to any desired path.

Use of Spring 3.0 (HER-1908)

Heritrix has moved to the Spring 3.0.5 inversion-of-control framework. Operators should update their custom configurations to be based on the new default template. (In general, simply updating the declarations in the top <bean> element, along with any other properties renames as required elsewhere, will be sufficient to bring an H3.0 configuration forward.)

CrawlController pauseAtEnd option replaced with runWhileEmpty (HER-1776)

Previously, H3 offered the ability to auto-pause a crawl when it appeared to have exhausted all eligible URIs. Thus, if desired, an operator could add more URIs and 'unpause' the crawl to continue crawling in the same job launch (or simply terminate or 'unpause' while empty to end the crawl). Instead, H3.1 now offers the option for a crawl to continue in an active running state even while empty (indefinitely), via the runWhileEmpty property. The default value for this property is false, meaning the old behavior of automatic termination when the frontier is empty of any eligible URIs. The benefit of the new approach is that URIs can be added at any time and crawling will continue, without the need to 'unpause' in some situations. A crawl with 'runWhileEmpty' set will only end when explicitly terminated by operator action.

Optional logExtraInfo in crawl.log, such as name of ARC/WARC file (HER-834, HER-1790)

If the CrawlerLoggerModule's 'logExtraInfo' property is set to 'true' (default is 'false'), extra information in JSON format will appear after all other crawl.log fields. (Since the JSON includes whitespace, fields are only whitespace-delimited up to this field.) This extra info will include the target ARC/WARC file, if any, to which a URI's contents was written. (Other processors may also add info here in the future.)

Discover charset as declared in content (HER-741)

Heritrix HTML and XML extractors will now try to discover and use a charset declaration appearing in the content, as long as it is sufficiently self-consistent that the same charset declaration is discovered once it is in effect.

Support for HTTP proxy authentication (HER-915)

Heritrix can now be configured to crawl through a proxy that requires authentication. Contributed by Adam Wilmer.

Allow fetching to begin before full load of large seed list (HER-1905)

TextSeedModule has a new property, 'blockAwaitingSeedLines', which if non-negative will only block the beginning of active crawling for the given number of seed lines to be enqueued into the frontier. (The remainder of seed lines will be loaded in the background, while other processing of the already-loaded seeds proceeds.) The default value is '-1', meaning the old behavior, only starting fetching after all seeds have been loaded. An example use of this new property would be when you are starting with hundreds of thousands or millions of seeds, to begin network fetching after only a few thousand have loaded.

Important caveats of this feature include: (1) if your scope is derived from your seeds (not recommended for giant seed lists), URIs may be discovered before the seed is added which expands the scope to accept them, which may lead to unexpected undercrawling; (2) the background thread loading the seeds is unaffected by crawl pauses and checkpoints, and may take many hours to complete its seed-enqueueing. This thread's completion is only confirmable indirectly (via a JVM thread dump, or observing no further growth of 'queued' while paused).

(Crawls using large numbers of seeds also probably want to disable the 'trackSeeds' property of StatisticsTracker, as its dynamically-updated 'Seeds Report' is expensive to maintain with giant seed lists.)

Spring-configurable reports (HER-1812)

The reports that are available during a crawl, and that are written at the end of a crawl, are now configurable, and new types of reports can be created and added to the configuration.

Persisting of history optionally dependent on fetch having been archived (HER-1791)

PersistStoreProcessor and PersistLogProcessor have a new option "onlyStoreIfWriteTagPresent", enabled by default. Writers such as WARCWriterProcessor set "writeTag" on the current fetch if it, or an earlier identical fetch, has been archived. PersistLogProcessor/PersistStoreProcessor need to come after the writer in the processor chain if onlyStoreIfWriteTagPresent is enabled, or fetch history will not be persisted.

Through Heritrix 3.1.0-beta (April 2011)

Optional Support for 'chunked' Transfer-Encoding, HTTP/1.1-identified requests, and 'gzip,deflate' Content-Encoding (HER-1876, HER-726, HER-1053)

Heritrix will now properly decode the 'chunked' Transfer-Encoding when encountered – even if encountered in a response to an HTTP/1.0 request, when technically it should not be used. Additionally, the FetchHTTP processor now includes the parameter 'useHTTP11' which if true will cause Heritrix to report its requests as 'HTTP/1.1', which (among other things) allows sites to use the 'chunked' Transfer-Encoding. (The default for this parameter is false for now, and Heritrix still does not reuse a persistent connection for more than one request to a site.)

FetchHTTP also now includes the parameter 'acceptCompression' which if true will cause Heritrix requests to include an "Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate" header offering to receive compressed responses. (The default for this parameter is false for now.)

As always, responses are saved to ARC/WARC files exactly as they are received, and some bulk access/viewing tools may not currently support chunked/compressed responses. (Future updates to the 'Wayback' tool will address this.)

Easier robots-policy configuration and new capabilities (HER-1803, HER-1861, HER-1620, HER-1880)

The robots policy in effect is now primarily switched via a single short string: CrawlMetadata's 'robotsPolicyName' parameter. The names 'obey' and 'classic' are synonyms and always available and mean strict compliance with standard robots.txt conventions. The name 'ignore' is also always available and means robots.txt rules are not considered. The parameter is Sheet-overlayable for individual sites, to allow the common case where robots-rules are followed by default but for a small number of crawl-affiliated/permission-granted sites, robots rules may be ignored. Changes to the name during a crawl take effect immediately, rather than upon next fetch of robots.txt for affected sites.

The robotsPolicyName may also be the bean name of any instance of a RobotsPolicy subclass declared in the crawler configuration, to allow more fine-grained (or even custom) policies. The FirstNamedRobotsPolicy is a new policy which checks a series of User-Agents in order, and follows the first to match any specific User-Agent directive in a site's robots.txt.

Our robots.txt parsing now tolerates trailing '*' wildcards in Disallow directives (a common deviation from the original standard) as being equivalent to the same path-prefix without a trailing '*'. We do not yet support the internal '*' wildcards or trailing-anchor '$' introduced by Google, but there is an issue, HER-1621, to eventually address this.

The handling of overlapping 'Allow' and 'Disallow' directives has been made to match other crawlers and webmasters' likely intuitive understanding (more specific/longer-in-length directives win) (HER-1880).

Liveness of frontier and settings-overlay information improved (HER-1768, HER-747, HER-1823)

Handling of queue-budgeting and rotation/retirement operations has been refactored to ensure mid-crawl changes (via new overlay sheets or direct editing with the bean-browse tool or scripting-console) take effect immediately. Additionally, CrawlURIs may be marked to force the retirement of their source queue by Processors, and the DispositionProcessor has an (sheet-overlayable) setting to apply this marking. More generally, settings changes via new Sheets and Sheet-associations during a crawl (as inserted via scripting until a separate UI is developed) now take effect on all URIs being dequeued for processing, rather than just newly-discovered URIs.

Infer '/favicon.ico' and optionally root page ('/') (HER-1799, HER-1010)

The ExtractorHTTP processor will now consider any URI on a hostname as also implying that the '/favicon.ico' from the same host should be fetched as well. Optionally, the 'inferRootPage' setting, if true, means to infer the '/' root page from any other URI on the same hostname, as well. (The default for this setting, matching the old behavior of only fetching the root page is it was a seed or otherwise discovered and in-scope, is false.) Discovery via these new heuristics is considered to be a new 'I' (inferred) hop-type, and is treated the same in scoping/transclusion decisions as an 'E' (embed).

New global ExtractorParameters settings 'extract404s' and 'extractIndependently' (HER-1848, HER-1836)

The interface for crawl-wide extractor parameters, ExtractorParameters (usually provided by the Frontier), includes two new settings. To avoid extracting links from 404 ("not found") response content, set 'extract404s' to false. (Default is true, matching the old behavior.) To encourage extractor processors to always perform their best-effort extraction, even if a previous extractor has marked a URI as already-handled, set 'extractIndependently' to true. (Default is false, matching the old behavior.)

Improved string-might-be-URI testing (HER-1763)

The tests used to determine if a string (such as may be found in otherwise unparsed/uninterpreted Javascript) is sufficiently likely to be a URI that it may warrant a fetch attempt have been unified into a UriUtils class and slightly improved. Note that this technique is still error-prone, and likely to generate some false requests that occasionally cause problems or annoyance at target websites. To refrain this approach, either on a full crawl or on a site-by-site basis when you notice it causing problems, disable or remove the ExtractorJS, and set ExtractorHTML's 'extractJS' and 'extractValueAttributes' settings to false.

DiskSpaceMonitor component for detecting, pausing in low-disk-space conditions (HER-1811)

The DiskSpaceMonitor may be added to a crawl, and configured with a list of paths to monitor. When free space at those paths drops below a configured level (checked at the same interval as the progress-statistics.log is updated), the crawl will be paused. Contributed by Kristinn Sigurðsson; replaces the LowDiskPauseProcessor.

New formula and default conventions for ARC/WARC naming to better guarantee uniqueness (HER-1727)

Instead of specifying the formula for ARC/WARC naming in code and using a supplied 'prefix' and 'suffix', a template with variable interpolation may be used. (The configured 'prefix' remains an available variable, as well as other useful local machine, crawl, and writer properties.) The default template is:


Compared to previous practice, this adds the local process ID, and the 17-digit timestamp is provided via a service that will always ensure that each timestamp is at least 1 millisecond after any others previously offered. These new conventions, in this default template, thus protect against inadvertent ARC/WARC name collisions even when many crawls, in many JVMs on the same machine, using the same prefix, are launched/crawling simultaneously. Although the names so generated are long, they are extremely likely to be unique under usual conditions. We recommend against changing this template unless you are certain your alternate naming system also generates unique names, as downstream tools for indexing ARCs/WARCs often assume or otherwise benefit from ARC/WARC filename uniqueness.

Fetcher for 'whois' information (HER-1645)

Heritrix includes an optional fetcher for domain 'whois' data. A small set of well-established 'whois' servers are preconfigured. The fetcher uses an ad-hoc/intuitive interpretation of how a 'whois:' scheme URI should work.

Frontier queue-reporting more configurable (HER-1827)

The standard BdbFrontier (via its superclass WorkQueueFrontier) has two new settings, 'largestQueuesCount' (default 20) and 'maxQueuesPerReportCategory' (default 2000). These control how many of the largest queues are tracked and reported in the textual 'frontier report' and the maximum number of queues per category listed in the textual 'frontier report'. Note that the largest-queues information may be approximate when queues shrink out of the top-N, or the value is changed mid-crawl. (The list is updated only when a queue is noted growing into the largest group.)

Checkpointing based on hard-links for space savings, flexibility (HER-1821)

Where available, 'hard' links will now be used to collect the BerkeleyDB-JE files required to reproduce the crawler's state, and automatic deletion of outdated files not needed for a checkpoint (the ".DEL" files) has been reenabled. This eliminates the need to manually delete unneeded files, and makes saving-elsewhere or clearing of old checkpoints easier.

SurtPrefixedDecideRule 'surtsSource' may use file path or inline String (HER-1857)

To match the flexibility of TextSeedModule's 'textSource', the SurtPrefixedDecideRule 'surtsSource' parameter may now be any ReadSource, such as a ConfigFile (to read from a local file path) or ConfigString (to read from the text inline in the crawler configuration file).

Workaround for Java 6 update 23 GZIP incompatibilities (HER-1865)

Java 6 update 23 (aka JDK6u23) made a backward-incompatible change in how GZIP streams built from multiple concatenated GZIP members were handled by Java's GZIPInputStream. Additionally, it introduced a serious new bug in how GZIP members with 'extra fields' are processed. (Conventionally all ARCs and WARCs use some kind of GZIP extra field.) As a result, the ARC/WARC reading code from earlier Heritrix releases will not work in Java 6 update 23 and update 24 (and possibly later). Heritrix 3.1.0's ARC/WARC reading code includes a workaround based on the non-buggy OpenJDK7 GZIP implementation classes, which also include the new multi-member treatment. The Heritrix 3.1.0 code should work with both pre- and post- JDK6u23 Sun/Oracle Java distributions.

Proper rejection of cookies on top-level-domains/public suffixes (HER-1864)

Heritrix 3.0.0 incorrectly accepted and returned to other servers cookies that some sites erroneously set on top-level-domains/public-suffixes (like ".com"). This was most likely to happen in very broad/national/world crawls, and could result in impractically long and inefficient (crawl-slowing) Cookie headers. This has been fixed.

Crawl.log 'hops path' now shows only last 50 hop-types (HER-1834)

The 5th field of the crawl.log is a symbolic representation of the path by which a URI was discovered, where each character represented the type of outlink followed. For example, 'LLREX' means two navigational links, a redirect, an embed (as with a frame), and a speculative (Javascript/plugin/media) reference. For crawls with no (or very large) limits on link-hops-followed-from-seeds, this string could become arbitrarily long, leading to memory and log bloat and crawl performance problems. This string has been converted to show only the last 50 hop-types, with a leading integer indicating how many prior hops are not shown. For example, a 62-hop path might now appear as "12+LLRLLLRELLLLRLLLRELLLLRLLLRELLLLRLLLRELLLLRLLLRELE".

(Also note that content which is only discoverable through long paths is increasingly likely, with path length, to be auto-generated material of negligible value – aka 'crawler traps', whether intentional or not. So most crawls should use some max-hop value, and we believe that value should be closer to 'dozens' than 'hundreds' or 'thousands'.)

Protecting operator login credentials from casual snooping (HER-1753, HER-1804)

If the parameter supplied to the '-a' command-line option at initial launch is a string beginning with '@', the rest of the string is taken as a local file from which to read the operator login:password. Thus, these credentials are not visible to all other machine users via process-listings. (Of course, if other users are a concern, the local file, and all other job/class files consulted by Heritrix, must also be access-protected.)

Additionally, the output echoed to the terminal and heritrix_out.log now only reminds how the credentials were set, without echoing them, in case the terminal or log are (or become) more widely viewable.

Remember, because of the flexibility of the web operator interface in editing/viewing all local files readable by the crawler process, and the ability to include arbitrary scripting code in multiple JVM languages in crawl configurations, access to the crawler operator web interface gives near-total access to the hosting machine. The crawl operator can do anything through the user interface that the user the crawler is running as could do at a shell. So be sure to secure your running instances of Heritrix, in accordance with the recommendations at Security Considerations and your own organizational practices.

3. All Tracked Changes

An exhaustive list of changes through 3.2.0 can be found here:

The following tracked issues are recorded as addressed in this 3.2.0 release:

Fixed in 3.2.0 final

Key Summary Created Reporter P Resolution

Fixed in 3.1.1 final

Key Summary Created Reporter P Resolution

Fixed in 3.1.0 final

Key Summary Created Reporter P Resolution

Fixed in 3.1.0-RC1

Key Summary Created Reporter P Resolution

Fixed in 3.1.0-beta

Key Summary Created Reporter P Resolution

4. Known Issues

To be determined; follow the project JIRA issue tracker for the latest info.


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  1. Heritrix3 how incremental crawler?If someone know mail to me. thank you.