mechanize

Stateful programmatic web browsing in Python. Browse pages programmatically with easy HTML form filling and clicking of links.

Quickstart

The examples below are written for a website that does not exist (example.com), so cannot be run.

import re
import mechanize

br = mechanize.Browser()
br.open("http://www.example.com/")
# follow second link with element text matching regular expression
response1 = br.follow_link(text_regex=r"cheese\s*shop", nr=1)
print(br.title())
print(response1.geturl())
print(response1.info())  # headers
print(response1.read())  # body

br.select_form(name="order")
# Browser passes through unknown attributes (including methods)
# to the selected HTMLForm.
br["cheeses"] = ["mozzarella", "caerphilly"]  # (the method here is __setitem__)
# Submit current form.  Browser calls .close() on the current response on
# navigation, so this closes response1
response2 = br.submit()

# print currently selected form (don't call .submit() on this, use br.submit())
print(br.form)

response3 = br.back()  # back to cheese shop (same data as response1)
# the history mechanism returns cached response objects
# we can still use the response, even though it was .close()d
response3.get_data()  # like .seek(0) followed by .read()
response4 = br.reload()  # fetches from server

for form in br.forms():
    print(form)
# .links() optionally accepts the keyword args of .follow_/.find_link()
for link in br.links(url_regex="python.org"):
    print(link)
    br.follow_link(link)  # takes EITHER Link instance OR keyword args
    br.back()

You may control the browser’s policy by using the methods of mechanize.Browser’s base class, mechanize.UserAgent. For example:

br = mechanize.Browser()
# Explicitly configure proxies (Browser will attempt to set good defaults).
# Note the userinfo ("joe:password@") and port number (":3128") are optional.
br.set_proxies({"http": "joe:password@myproxy.example.com:3128",
                "ftp": "proxy.example.com",
                })
# Add HTTP Basic/Digest auth username and password for HTTP proxy access.
# (equivalent to using "joe:password@..." form above)
br.add_proxy_password("joe", "password")
# Add HTTP Basic/Digest auth username and password for website access.
br.add_password("http://example.com/protected/", "joe", "password")
# Add an extra header to all outgoing requests
br.addheaders += [('My-Custom-Header', 'Something')]
# Don't handle HTTP-EQUIV headers (HTTP headers embedded in HTML).
br.set_handle_equiv(False)
# Ignore robots.txt.  Do not do this without thought and consideration.
br.set_handle_robots(False)
# Don't add Referer (sic) header
br.set_handle_referer(False)
# Don't handle Refresh redirections
br.set_handle_refresh(False)
# Don't handle cookies
br.set_cookiejar()
# Supply your own mechanize.CookieJar (NOTE: cookie handling is ON by
# default: no need to do this unless you have some reason to use a
# particular cookiejar)
br.set_cookiejar(cj)
# Tell the browser to send the Accept-Encoding: gzip header to the server
# to indicate it supports gzip Content-Encoding
br.set_request_gzip(True)
# Log information about HTTP redirects and Refreshes.
br.set_debug_redirects(True)
# Log HTTP response bodies (ie. the HTML, most of the time).
br.set_debug_responses(True)
# Print HTTP headers.
br.set_debug_http(True)

# To make sure you're seeing all debug output:
logger = logging.getLogger("mechanize")
logger.addHandler(logging.StreamHandler(sys.stdout))
logger.setLevel(logging.INFO)

# Sometimes it's useful to process bad headers or bad HTML:
response = br.response()  # this is a copy of response
headers = response.info()  # currently, this is a mimetools.Message
headers["Content-type"] = "text/html; charset=utf-8"
response.set_data(response.get_data().replace("<!---", "<!--"))
br.set_response(response)

mechanize exports the complete interface of urllib2:

import mechanize
response = mechanize.urlopen("http://www.example.com/")
print(response.read())

When using mechanize, anything you would normally import from urllib2 should be imported from mechanize instead.

Indices and tables