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How can I navigate / interact with a web page using a program?

Posted on 2011-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I believe this is a very common practice; however, I am having trouble finding the right way to ask it.

I want a "hello world" program that accomplishes the following:

1. Goes to http://www.experts-exchange.com/
2. (left clicks) Member Login button
3. (left clicks) in the user name box (I want redundancy - assume it doesn't default here?)
3. provides the user name
4. (left clicks) in the password box
5. provides the password
6. (left clicks) the "Log In" button
7. once signed in, the program must pull the first posted comment in the "Recent Activity" table and store the string in a variable.
8. the page must then refresh and repeat 7

I would greatly appreciate source code and the program language used to make it.  Preferably freeware software, but I have C#, Visual Studio and notepad. (using windows xp or 7)

Please understand that this is not my final objective.  The proposed program above is only a "hello world" type program.  If you have a program that accomplishes these (or similar) tasks and are willing to share it, that will answer my question.

Thank you.
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Question by:dangermound
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Accepted Solution

by:
tearman earned 1000 total points
ID: 35112863
Python has a pretty good aptitude with doing this.  urllib and urllib2 are quite capable in this regard.

You won't actually use a mouse style system.  What you'll do is submit your login credentials directly to the post location on the form at EE, after creating a "cookie jar" to hold your session data, THEN you'll go to the URL you want and download info from that file.

After that you can parse it using regular expressions or whatever.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dangermound
ID: 35112930
Exactly what I was looking for, thank you.
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