How to schedule dynamic function with cron job?

Problem :

I want to know how I can schedule a dynamic(auto populated data) function to auto run everyday at saved time?

Let's say I have a form that once the button is clicked it sends the data to the function, which the posts the data. I simply want to automate that so that I don't have to press the button.

    foreach($Class->retrieveData as $data)
        <form method="post" action="">
                <input type="hidden" name="name">'.$data['name'].'<br/>
                <input type="hidden" name="description">'.$data['description'].'<br/>
                <input type="submit" name="post_data"  value="Post">

Now, the form will pass the data to the function.

if(isset($_POST['post_data'])) // if post_data button is clicked then it runs myFunction()

    $name        = $_POST['name'];
    $description = $_POST['description'];

I tried doing the following but the problem is that Cron Job can only run the whole .php file, and I am retrieving the saved time to run from MySQL.

foreach($Class->getTime() as $timeData)
    $timeHour    = $timeData['timeHour'];
    $timeMinute = $timeData['timeMinute'];

    $hourMin    = date('H:i');
    $timeData   = ''.$timeHour.':'.$timeMinute.'';

    if($hourMin == $timeData)
        run myFunction.

$hourMin is the current hour:minute which is being matched against a saved time to auto run from Mysql. So if $hourMin == $timeData then the function will run.

How can I run Cron Job to auto run myFunction() if the $hourMin equals $timeData?


List 1 = is to be runned at 10am
List 2 = is to be runned at 12pm
List 3 = is to be runned at 2pm

The 10am, 12pm, 2pm is the $timeHour and $timeMinute that is retrieved from MySQL but based on each list id's.



1) I can schedule cron jobs.
2) $name and $description will all be arrays, so the following is what I am trying to accomplish.

$name = array(

$description = array(
    'Jon is a great person.',
    'Steven has an outgoing character.',
    'Carter is a horrible person.'

I want to parse the first arrays from both $name and $description if the scheduled time is correct.

In database I have the following

postDataTime table

| iD | timeDay | timeHour | timeMinute | postiD |
| 1  | *       | 9        | 0          | 21     |
| 2  | *       | 10       | 30         | 22     |
| 3  | *       | 11       | 0          | 23     |

iD         = auto incremented on upload.
timeDay    = * is everyday (cron job style)
timeHour   = Hour of the day to run the script
timeMinute = minute of the hour to run script
postiD     = this is the id of the post that is located in another table (n+1 relationship)

If it's difficult to understand.. what is quinoa

if(time() == 10:30(time from MySQL postiD = 22))
    // run myFunction with the data that is retrieved for that time ex:

    $postiD = '22';
    $name   = 'Steven';
    $description = 'Steven has an outgoing character.';

    // the above is what will be in the $_POST from the form and will be
    // sent to the myFunction()

I simply want to schedule everything according to the time that is saved to MySQL as I showed at the very top(postDataTime table). (I'd show what I have tried, but I have searched for countless hours for an example of what I am trying to accomplish but I cannot find anything and what I tried doesn't work.).

I thought I could use the exec() function but from what it seems that does not allow me to run functions, otherwise I would do the following..

$time = '10:30';
if($time == time())

Solution :

you have 2 ways, although only one will do exactly what you want to do;

  • 1st way requires that you have access and privileges to change cron-jobs server side (example via PHP or other). Depending on what OS there are tutorials: Win , Nix

  • 2nd way will do something close to what you want but without the minutes precision, you will loose at max 2 minutes each cycle. (see exaplanation below).

1st Way perfect way

  • As soon as the user hit the form create a unique cron-task for that user using the desired datatime.

if you don't have those privileges you can use 3d part service like they also offer a Free version with limited query. they also provide a REST API method to manage (CRUDE) cron-tasks.

2nd Way imperfect way

  • add a new VARCHAR column, i called it today with this we will ensure that the task will run only once per day.


| iD | timeDay | timeHour | timeMinute | postiD |   today  |
| 1  | *       | 9        | 0          | 21     | 30-05-04 |
| 2  | *       | 10       | 30         | 22     |          |
| 3  | *       | 11       | 0          | 23     |          |
  • after that create a php file i called it crontask.php we will call it each 5 minutes

  • add this to your cronjob panel:

  • 0,5 * * * * /usr/bin/php /www/virtual/username/crontask.php > /dev/null 2>&1

  • in the crontask.php file


// include() Database Config file here with mysql_connect etc...
// include() the required files ex. the file where myFunction reside...

$cron_cycle = 5; // set it equal to what used in cron command-line
$today = date('Y-m-d');
if($result = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM postDataTime WHERE today != '{$today}'")){
    while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result, MYSQL_ASSOC)) { 
        $postID = $row['postID'];
        $timeHour = (int) $row['timeHour'];
        $current_hours = (int) date('H'); // current hours
        $current_minutes = (int) date('i'); // current minutes
        $timeMinute = (int) $row['timeMinute'];
        // force to run at the closest cycle
        $timeMinute = ($timeMinute % $cycle === 0) ? $timeMinute : toCloser($timeMinute, $cron_cycle); 
        if( $current_hours === $timeHour && $current_minutes === $timeMinute ){
            // ensure that we have already runned a cron for this user...
            mysql_query("UPDATE postDataTime SET today = '{$today}' WHERE postID = '{$postID}'");
function toCloser($n,$x=5) {
    $j = (round($n)%$x === 0) ? round($n) : (round(($n+$x/2)/$x)*$x);
    return ($j-$n) >= round($x/2) ? ($j-$x) : $j;


Explanation of the function:

Assuming that the cron shedule runs each 5 minutes, lat's say we are at 20:00 o'clock, now the cron will run at 20:05, 20:10, 20:15, 20:20 and so on...

then assuming in our DB we have those time

Jonh  : 20:05, 
Mario : 20:32, 
luke  : 20:48, 
David : 20:57, 
Jimmy : 20:06, 
Eddy  : 20:16

when the script checks against those times it will run as below:

at 20:05 -> run 20:05 Jonh, 20:06 Jimmy
at 20:10 -> run null
at 20:15 -> run 20:16 Eddy
at 20:20 -> run null
and so on....

As you see you would loose in the worst case 2 minutes each time. I think it's fair enough! ;)

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