A very useful python module for navigating through web forms is Mechanize. In a previous post I wrote about “Browsing in Python with Mechanize”. Today I found this excellent cheat sheet on scraperwiki that I would like to share.
Create a browser object
Create a browser object and give it some optional settings.
import mechanize br = mechanize.Browser() br.set_all_readonly(False) # allow everything to be written to br.set_handle_robots(False) # ignore robots br.set_handle_refresh(False) # can sometimes hang without this br.addheaders = # [('User-agent', 'Firefox')]
Open a webpage
Open a webpage and inspect its contents
response = br.open(url) print response.read() # the text of the page response1 = br.response() # get the response again print response1.read() # can apply lxml.html.fromstring()
List the forms that are in the page
for form in br.forms(): print "Form name:", form.name print form
To go on the mechanize browser object must have a form selected
br.select_form("form1") # works when form has a name br.form = list(br.forms()) # use when form is unnamed
Iterate through the controls in the form.
for control in br.form.controls: print control print "type=%s, name=%s value=%s" % (control.type, control.name, br[control.name])
Controls can be found by name
control = br.form.find_control("controlname")
Having a select control tells you what values can be selected
if control.type == "select": # means it's class ClientForm.SelectControl for item in control.items: print " name=%s values=%s" % (item.name, str([label.text for label in item.get_labels()]))
Because ‘Select’ type controls can have multiple selections, they must be set with a list, even if it is one element.
print control.value print control # selected value is starred control.value = ["ItemName"] print control br[control.name] = ["ItemName"] # equivalent and more normal
Text controls can be set as a string
if control.type == "text": # means it's class ClientForm.TextControl control.value = "stuff here" br["controlname"] = "stuff here" # equivalent
Controls can be set to readonly and disabled.
control.readonly = False control.disabled = True
OR disable all of them like so
for control in br.form.controls: if control.type == "submit": control.disabled = True
Submit the form
When your form is complete you can submit
response = br.submit() print response.read() br.back() # go back
Following links in mechanize is a hassle because you need the have the link object. Sometimes it is easier to get them all and find the link you want from the text.
for link in br.links(): print link.text, link.url
Follow link and click links is the same as submit and click
request = br.click_link(link) response = br.follow_link(link) print response.geturl()
I hope that you got more understanding of the Mechanize module in Python.