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Python libary for managing Google Alerts

Project description

Intro

galerts is a Python client for managing Google Alerts. Currently it resorts to scraping html from Google’s web interface since there is as of yet no public API. If they ever decide to publish one, galerts will switch to using it.

Please find galerts on github if you have any questions or would like to collaborate.

Usage

First create an alerts manager for a given account:

>>> import galerts
>>> gam = galerts.GAlertsManager('cornelius@gmail.com', 'p4ssw0rd')

(Note: The plaintext password is used only to get a session cookie, i.e. it’s sent over a secure connection and then discarded.)

Now you can access the existing alerts for that account via the alerts property, which provides a generator you can use to iterate over corresponding Alert objects:

>>> list(gam.alerts)
[<Alert for "Corner Confectionary" at ...>]

Looks like we have one existing alert, but it has a typo. Let’s fix it:

>>> alert = next(gam.alerts)
>>> alert.query
u'Corner Confectionary'
>>> alert.query = 'Corner Confectionery'
>>> alert
<Alert for "Corner Confectionery" at ...>

So far we’ve only changed the value in memory; as far as Google knows, the alert still has the old value:

>>> list(gam.alerts)
[<Alert for "Corner Confectionary" at ...>]

To save the result to Google, do:

>>> gam.update(alert)

And now it should be updated:

>>> list(gam.alerts)
[<Alert for "Corner Confectionery" at ...>]

You may have noticed that the Alert.query property returns a unicode value. Google allows alert queries with non-ASCII characters, so we support this via unicode. For convenience, you can set Alert.query to a string instead of a unicode as we did above and it will be transformed to a unicode automatically; just be sure that unicode(yourstring) doesn’t fail.

As we see above, every time you access gam.alerts, GAlertsManager asks Google for your alerts and creates new Alert objects with the information Google returned. It’s okay (and desirable) that we may have one object representing an alert which we can hold onto and manipulate while the manager continues to create new objects representing the same alert every time we access gam.alerts. The alerts returned by gam.alerts should be taken as a snapshot of the information Google has at the time it was requested, rather than as canonical representations of the data which are kept up-to-date. Alert objects are disposable; they’re used merely to wrap some string attributes. As such, you can pass any old Alert object to gam.update and the manager will tell Google to update its information to match the object passed in. Alert.__eq__ has been overridden so that two different Alert objects with the same attribute values compare equal.

Keeping this in mind, let’s return to our old Alert object. Let’s say we’d like to change some other attributes:

>>> alert.type
'Blogs'
>>> alert.deliver
'Email'
>>> alert.feedurl # we expect this to be None since it's an email alert
None
>>> alert.freq
'once a week'
>>> alert.type = galerts.TYPE_COMPREHENSIVE
>>> alert.deliver = galerts.DELIVER_FEED

We’ve just changed the type of results the alert delivers from only blog updates to a comprehensive mix, and we changed the delivery method so that results will now be delivered via feed rather than via email.

After we pass this Alert object to gam.update, our changes should stick, but we’ll have to grab a fresh Alert object if we want to know the url of the alert’s feed:

>>> gam.update(alert)
>>> alert.feedurl # this is now stale
None
>>> oldalert = alert # so get a fresh one
>>> alert = next(gam.alerts)
>>> alert.feedurl # and now it's up-to-date:
'http://www.google.com/alerts/feed/...'
>>> alert == oldalert # feedurls don't match
False

The other properties are as we left them:

>>> alert.query
u'Corner Confectionery'
>>> alert.type
'Comprehensive'
>>> alert.deliver
'feed'

Except that when we change an email alert to a feed alert, Google automatically changes the alert frequency to “as-it-happens”, since new results are added to the feed in real time as they are found. The new alert object’s freq property reflects this:

>>> alert.freq
'as-it-happens'
>>> oldalert.freq # stale
'once a week'

Let’s say we no longer want this alert. To delete it, do:

>>> gam.delete(alert)
>>> list(gam.alerts)
[]

And to create a new alert:

>>> query = 'Cake Man Cornelius'
>>> type = galerts.TYPE_COMPREHENSIVE
>>> gam.create(query, type)
>>> list(gam.alerts)
[<Alert for "Cake Man Cornelius" at ...>]

Notice that we didn’t specify whether we wanted an email alert or a feed alert. In this case, GAlertsManager defaults to creating a feed alert. If we had wanted to create an email alert, we could have passed the additional keyword argument feed=False and an optional delivery frequency freq if we wanted something other than the default “as-it-happens”.

Let’s demonstrate changing the feed alert we created to an email alert:

>>> alert = next(gam.alerts)
>>> str(alert)
'<Alert query="Cake Man Cornelius" type="Comprehensive" freq="as-it-happens" deliver="feed">'
>>> alert.feedurl
'http://www.google.com/alerts/feed/...'
>>> alert.deliver = galerts.DELIVER_EMAIL
>>> alert.freq = galerts.FREQ_ONCE_A_DAY
>>> gam.update(alert)

And now:

>>> alert = next(gam.alerts)
>>> str(alert)
'<Alert query="Cake Man Cornelius" type="Comprehensive" freq="once a day" deliver="Email">'
>>> alert.feedurl
None

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