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You've two choices when checking something... polling or catching events.
Since the webserver isn't going to send you an event to say it's changed, you've gone the only route possible. Check it yourself at periodic intervals.
Checking the timestamp is the quickest, which means you do not have to parse the URL.
If you want accuracy, to ensure the file has changed, even if the timestamp has not, you'd need to generate
a checksum on the URL stream contents.
But, I can't see any significant improvement on what you done...
Are you just fishing for complements !