Quick Project: Movies Database/Google Form

For a long time, I’ve wanted to create a database of the movies I have. Because I have movies scattered around on various media, I’d like to be able to point friends to a site where they can see all the movies I have, and I can look up to see what media it is available on. In my case, I have a PVR, a PVR on the Mac, some DVDs, and movies I’ve bought off Google Play.

Eventually, I realised that Google Forms just saves to a Google Sheets spreadsheet and I could use this spreadsheet to find the location, or share a link to it so my friends can pick a movie. I also figured that I could somehow script the act of responding to the Google Form or otherwise populate the data, reading the list of recordings on my Mac PVR from the filesystem.

After a bit of searching around, I came across this Reddit thread, How can I use Python to submit a Google Form (or write to a response spreadsheet)? which suggested the easiest way to submit the Google Form. With a bit of Python magic, I created a simple script to read the files and folders in a directory, and submit them straight to the Google Form!

Read on to find out how!

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Posted by Anthony in Short Projects

The Right Tools for the Job

I’ve been involving myself in a few projects lately, for both work and personal life. During these projects, I’ve been thinking about what tools and technologies I use, and to use while I’m in the planning process. I’d like to share some of these.

Updated: 29th March 2018 – Git Bash for Mac

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Posted by Anthony

Website updates from Google Chrome Lighthouse

Recently I heard about Chrome’s Lighthouse extension for auditing websites and web apps. Lighthouse analyses websites for a few key metrics and suggesting ways they can be improved if needed. These include:

  • Progressive Web app improvements
  • Performance
  • Accessibility
  • Best Practises

While I don’t currently build web applications, I think it’s still a good test to use to find where improvements could be made, even so, I’ll learn something for the future.

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Posted by Anthony

Short Project: Chat Log Parser

I’m using Viber to communicate with someone, and we have many chats. So I looked into Viber’s chat backup capability. I found that Viber has two backups — one that you can restore, and one that you can email. It turns out that the email-able backup is actually in CSV. And so I realised I could parse it very easily with Python; and use a templating module such as Jinja2 or Mako, format it into an easy to read HTML page.

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Posted by Anthony in chat log parser

Improving code with RegEx

Background

Because of the way the prerequisites were entered into the course websites, I needed to write a little function parse strings such as “INFS1200 + GEOM1100 + 1200 + 1300″. In English, we know that 1200 and 1300 refer to GEOM1200 and GEOM1300 but that was assumed so left off. However, I needed to create a List object with the course codes themselves. So after I use list.split() on the string, I iterated over the list and the letters of the previous element to any current element that consists only of digits.

My little function was fine while I could list = string.split(” + “), but this breaks down when you discover that sometimes they are entered as “INFS1200 or GEOM1100 and 1200 & 1300” or something equally inconsistent.

Improvements

So it was time to learn RegEx! And therefore re-write the function in a more generic way. I needed to find any string that consisted of 4 uppercase letters followed by 4 digits or 2 uppercase letters followed by 4 digits, putting each result into the list.

After some searching and experimentation, I found that (simple) RegEx wasn’t as difficult as I thought and kind of fun. I used the following:

This works well and means I don’t have to worry how they separate the course codes. After adding the course codes to the list, I then iterate over it to fix the missing subject matter letters (INFS or GEOM etc).

Posted by Anthony

Database Correction Interlude

This is the third post in a series, documenting the progression of the project and the challenges I faced at each stage. I’m intending these posts to be almost reflective in nature, rather than very technical, though I will lightly justify some technical choices also. Once I feel that I can move the project out of a prototype stage, I’ll put up a more formal page documenting the technology and some overall reflections.

Because the state of the database kept bugging me, I went back to the original ER diagrams with my friend, and we came to a quite simple solution.

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Posted by Anthony in Course Chooser

UQ Course Chooser Stage 2 – Database Planning and Evolution.

This is the second post in a series, documenting the progression of the project and the challenges I faced at each stage. I’m intending these posts to be almost reflective in nature, rather than very technical, though I will lightly justify some technical choices also. Once I feel that I can move the project out of a prototype stage, I’ll put up a more formal page documenting the technology and some overall reflections.

Following on from part one, I have a Python script to scrape UQ’s course and program websites and now need to design and build a database to store the scraped data.

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Posted by Anthony in Course Chooser

Project: UQ Course Chooser

A project I’m currently working on in my spare time is a Python script/database/web app to help UQ students choose their subjects for the next semester.

This is the first in a series of blog posts almost in a diary format, so I can document the progression of the project and the challenges I faced. I’m intending these posts to be almost reflective in nature, rather than very technical, though I will lightly justify some technical choices also. Once I feel that I can move the project out of a prototype stage, I’ll put up a more formal page documenting the technology and some overall reflections.

Rationale

The idea stemmed from my own frustrations with choosing subjects for my Graduate Certificate in Information Technology. We have a list of courses (at UQ, a subject is a referred to as a “course”, I’ll use them interchangeably) we can choose from for a particular Program (qualification). This list of subjects unfortunately just divides the subjects into categories related to the program such as “Part A – Compulsory”, “Part B – Introductory Electives”. So when I was choosing my own subjects, I would just open up each course in the list in a new browser tab and then remove the subjects (close the browser tab) that are only offered in a different semester or that I don’t have the prerequisites for.

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Posted by Anthony in Course Chooser