Astrophe Astrophe - 1 year ago 259
Python Question

Python mechanize navigation using __doPostBack functions

How can I use mechanize to navigate through a table on a web-page if the table uses __doPostBack functions?

My code is:

import mechanize
br = mechanize.Browser()
br.addheaders = [('User-agent', 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2008071615 Fedora/3.0.1-1.fc9 Firefox/3.0.1')]"")

page_num = 2
for link in br.links():
if link.text == str(page_num): #I suspect this is not correct

for link in br.links():
print link.text, link.url

A search of all the controls in the table (e.g. drop-down menus) does not show the page buttons but a search for all the links in the table does. The page button does not contain a URL so it is not a typical link. I get TypeError: expected string or buffer.

I get the impression that this is something which can be done using mechanize.

Thanks for reading.

Answer Source

Mechanize can be used to navigate a table which uses __doPostBack. I used BeautifulSoup to parse the HTML for the required parameters and followed useful guidance with the regex. My code is written below.

import mechanize
import re # write a regex to get the parameters expected by __doPostBack
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from time import sleep

br = mechanize.Browser()
br.addheaders = [('User-agent', 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2008071615 Fedora/3.0.1-1.fc9 Firefox/3.0.1')]
response ="")
# satisfy the __doPostBack function to navigate to different pages 
for pg in range(2,5):
    br.select_form(nr=0) # the only form on the page
    br.set_all_readonly(False) # to set the __doPostBack parameters

    # BeautifulSoup for parsing
    soup = BeautifulSoup(response, 'lxml')
    table = soup.find('table', {'class': 'RegulatedEntities'})
    records = table.find_all('tr', {'style': ["background-color:#E4E3E3;border-style:None;", "border-style:None;"]})

    for rec in records[:1]:
        print 'Company name:', rec.a.string

    # disable 'Search' and 'Clear filters'
    for control in br.form.controls[:]:
        if control.type in ['submit', 'image', 'checkbox']:
            control.disabled = True

    # get parameters for the __doPostBack function
    for link in soup("a"):
        if link.string == str(page):
            next ="""<a href="javascript:__doPostBack\('(.*?)','(.*?)'\)">""", str(link))
            br["__EVENTTARGET"] =
            br["__EVENTARGUMENT"] =
    response = br.submit()
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