Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

17 May 2004

Getting movies and showtimes with python

by Nick

Recently I was looking into a way to find out movie times for my local theater over my cell phone using SMS text messaging. (Actually it is using the AOL IM for connectivity, but that’s another article.) Looking at Yahoo’s movie listings and the Python Mechanize module I was able to come up with a pretty cool little function to strip out the movie titles and the times.

Because I’m sending this out to a cell phone which has a pretty limited screen size, I used a regular expression to strip out vowels from the titles and to strip out the : from the times. A bit of a hack, but it really managed to compress things down well enough that it will all fit on phone’s screen yet still be readable.

At any rate, be sure to check out the Python Mechanize module, it is really useful for doing all types of web-related programming (i.e. programmatically simulating a user sitting at a browser). Right now I’m using it to try and implement some of the things I read in O’Reilly’s Spidering Hacks.

from mechanize import Browser

from mechanize import Link


 def getMovies(self):

  print "Starting the movies"

  output = "nothing"

  response = b.open("http://movies.yahoo.com/showtimes/theater?id=1246")

  output = response.read()

  links = b.links()


  # Get the links. Go through them, looking for movies and the times.

  showtimes = ""

  for link in links:

   if (link.attrs[0][1][0:29] == "http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?"):

    showtimes += "\n" + re.sub(r'a|e|i|o|u', '',link.text)

   else :

    showtime = re.findall(r'[0-9]{1,2}:[0-9][0-9]', link.text)


     showtimes += " " + re.sub(r'(:00)|(:)', '', showtime[0])


  output = showtimes



  print "Done with the movies"

  return output