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From "David P. Caldwell" <>
Subject How a script can determine latest version of Tomcat
Date Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:48:04 GMT
I have a small program that downloads and installs an arbitrary
version of Tomcat, using the API provided by Apache to select the
proper mirror, and so forth.

The script currently takes the Tomcat version as an argument. My
script provides a default (which in my case is the latest version of
Tomcat 7), but I have to manually update that default whenever I
notice a new version has been released.

What would be the best way for the script itself to determine the
latest available version? Obviously I would give points for "easy" and
points for "robust," knowing that those two things might be in

I can think of many horrifying ways to do it:

* loop through integers starting with the last known version,
attempting to download 7.0.x, until getting a 404
* scraping and parsing the HTML at, which I expect is
rather stable

So my challenge isn't coming up with *a* way to do it, but coming up
with the best way.


-- David P. Caldwell

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