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How to tell when a web page was published?

     
3:22 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is there anyway to tell when a web page was published when the author doesn't indicate a publishing date?

Thanks,

5:34 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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there is no sure way to determine the "publishing date" but you can sometimes get clues by looking at the HTTP Response headers such as Last-Modified.
if you are requesting an actual file that is being served, this date has a chance of being correct.
with dynamically served content, you get whatever.
5:48 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If the website has not locked down the directory, you might get a file creation (upload) date, but if the file has been modified it will be the last mod date. Otherwise phranque's answer is best.
6:42 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies.

@phranque

What are these HTTP Response headers? How can I find them?

@tangor

How do I check if the directory is locked down or not? If it's not, how can I see when the file has been modified?

Thanks a lot,

6:54 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i usually use a command line user agent (lwp-request) to get the headers but i sometimes use the live http headers plugin for firefox [livehttpheaders.mozdev.org].
9:40 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd FTP into the site...

I am curious, why the question as to creation date? If this is "mine came before yours" just proceed that way and let the chips fall where they may. If you are looking for "orphaned" content the proceed at peril.

Frankly, I don't care about creation dates UNLESS IT IS MY CONTENT SCRAPPED SOMEWHERE ELSE. In which case I have alternative methods of proving which came first.

10:18 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There is an online resource, which you can probably find through google, that will show you old versions of pages through the years - might help
10:14 am on Nov 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I use this simple bit of code (won't work for all sites - dynamic content etc. will always shows todays date/time!):

Create a favourite/bookmark called 'last modified' or similar, and paste this JS in the URL field:

javascript:alert(document.lastModified)

Then when visiting a page you want to see the last modified date for 'use' the bookmark and the date/time will be displayed.

Hope that helps...

10:35 am on Nov 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That's a neat little trick Badger37. Just tested it against my own site and it looks pretty good. Its one to keep in the toolbox for when you are not sure how up to date the page you are reading is.