Code Along for Web Automation with Selenium: Building a Bot to Book COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

Step 1: Set Up Selenium and Web Driver

  • Install Selenium using pip: pip install selenium
  • Download and install the appropriate web driver for your browser (e.g., ChromeDriver for Google Chrome, GeckoDriver for Firefox).
  • Import the necessary modules in your Python script: from selenium import webdriver

Step 2: Launch the Web Browser and Navigate to the Target Website

  • Initialize a new instance of the web driver: driver = webdriver.Chrome()
  • Use the driver to open a website: driver.get("")

Step 3: Inspect the Web Page and Identify the Elements to Interact With

  • Right-click on a web element and select “Inspect” to view its HTML code.
  • Identify the appropriate selector for each element (e.g., ID, class name, XPath).

Step 4: Interact with Form Elements and Submit the Form

  • Use the find_element_by_* method of the driver to locate a form element (e.g., text field, dropdown menu, checkbox).
  • Interact with the element (e.g., enter text, select an option) using the appropriate method (e.g., send_keys(), click()).
  • Submit the form by locating the submit button and calling the click() method.

Step 5: Handle Captchas and Other Security Measures

  • Implement manual intervention or use third-party libraries to solve captchas automatically (e.g., pytesseract, 2Captcha).

Step 6: Add Robustness to Your Script

  • Implement error handling and retry mechanisms to deal with common issues (e.g., element not found, network errors).
  • Use implicit or explicit waits to ensure that your script waits for elements to load before interacting with them.

Step 7: Automate the Process of Finding and Booking Vaccine Appointments

  • Use the techniques learned in previous steps to automate the process of navigating to the vaccine appointment booking page, selecting the desired options (e.g., location, date), and submitting the form.
  • Implement logic to handle different scenarios (e.g., no available appointments, fully booked) and take appropriate actions (e.g., try a different location, check for appointments at a later date).