IFB104 Building IT Systems - Essaylink

IFB104 Building IT Systems

IFB104 Building IT Systems
Semester 2, 2020
6/9/20 1
Assignment 2, Part A: Runners-Up
(20%, due 11:59pm Sunday, October 18th, 2020, end of Week 12)
This is the first part of a two-part assignment. This part is worth 20% of your final grade for
IFB104. Part B will be worth a further 5%. Part B is intended as a last-minute extension to
the assignment, thereby testing the maintainability of your solution to Part A and your ability
to work under time pressure. The instructions for completing Part B will not be released until
Week 12. Whether or not you complete Part B you will submit only one solution, and receive
only one mark, for the whole 25% assignment.
In most competitive environments people like to see scorecards which tell them who’s currently
winning the race. Here you will develop a Python program that provides such lists but instead
of focussing on the number one competitor it will emphasise number two, the runner-up!
While people normally strive to be number one, there are significant advantages to being in the
runner-up’s position.
• In 1962 Avis Rent-a-Car launched one
of the most famous and successful advertising campaigns ever when it announced, “We’re #2. We Try Harder.”
By openly admitting to not being #1,
and pointing out that its rival Hertz was
complacent due to being in the dominant position, Avis dramatically increased its share of the marketplace
overnight. Avis’ new concern became
the very real danger that it would soon
overtake Hertz and wouldn’t be able to
use the slogan any more!
• Arguably, Microsoft’s entire global empire was built on coming second!
Founder Bill Gates didn’t write the MSDOS operating system, he bought it from the original developers and sold it on to IBM.
Microsoft didn’t invent Powerpoint, they bought out the small company that created it.
The Windows operating system has now duplicated all of the major user interface innovations originally introduced by Apple’s MacOS. Letting someone else go first, do
all the work, and take all the risks, can be a winning strategy!
The runner-up’s position is thus a good one. A runner-up is poised to take the lead but is
protected from the risks associated with being out front.
Your Python program will thus emphasise the runner-up’s strategic position in a set of competitive lists. It will have a Graphical User Interface that allows its user to see the current
runner-up in several lists, as well as the other competitors, and it will extract its data from
online sources so that it is always up to date.
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This “capstone” assignment is designed to incorporate all of the concepts taught in IFB104.
To complete it you will need to use Tkinter to create an application with an interactive Graphical User Interface and use pattern matching to extract specific elements from HTML documents downloaded from the Internet.
In this assignment you will develop an interactive program which lets its users select from
several ranked lists of competitors to see who is the current runner-up in each list, as well as
seeing the other competitors in each list. The lists are extracted from regularly-updated online
web documents, so the user can be confident that the data is current. If desired, the user must
also be able to inspect the original web documents from which the data was extracted.
There must be at least four distinct lists, three of which are derived from online sources which
are updated frequently. The fourth list can be extracted from a previously-downloaded web
document which never changes. (This final list will help you develop your solution by using
an unchanging web document with known contents.)
For the purposes of this assignment you have a free choice of which lists your application will
access, provided they always contain at least ten competitors, are updated frequently, and include at least one distinctive property of each competitor apart from its identity and position.
Your application must offer access to at least three entirely different online lists, e.g.:
• music charts,
• movie or television ratings,
• stock market listings,
• online gaming player rankings,
• book rankings,
• crowd-sourced popularity lists,
• customer ratings of products or services,
• web site statistics,
• etc.
However, whatever lists you choose, you must confirm that the online web documents are updated regularly.
For each competitor in each list the source web site must contain the competitor’s identity and
some other distinguishing property (other than its position). Properties could be:
• a book’s author or publisher,
• a movie’s lead actor or director,
• a music album’s artist or publisher,
• a textual description of the competitor,
• a numeric score, especially one which explains the competitor’s position in the list,
• etc.
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Appendix A below lists many web sites which may be suitable for this assignment, but you
will need to confirm their suitability, and you are encouraged to find your own of personal
interest instead of relying on our suggestions.
Using such web sites as your data source, you are required to build an IT system with the
following general architecture.
Your solution will be a Python program with a Graphical User Interface. Under the user’s
control, it extracts ranked lists of competitors from four distinct web documents. One of the
web documents is stored locally in the same folder as the Python script and never changes.
This previously-downloaded list can be used to help perfect your data extraction code on an
unchanging source. The other web documents are all downloaded “live” from the Internet
whenever you run your progran. In this case the web documents’ contents will likely be different each time you run your code. This produces more interesting data for the user but is
obviously more challenging for you to process.
Having extracted a list of competitors from one of these sources, your program must prominently display the competitor in the number two position as the current “runner-up”. In addition, the other nine competitors at the top of the list must be displayed separately, with a clear
indication of their position in the list. All ten competitors displayed must be accompanied by
some additional characteristic property, also extracted from the source web document.
As well as viewing the extracted data in your program’s GUI, the user must also be given the
ability to view the original web documents from which the data was extracted. For this purpose
your program must allow the user to open the source HTML document in their computing
platform’s default web browser. (As well as giving the user a chance to find out more about
the competitors, this helps you confirm that you have extracted the data correctly.)
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Illustrative example
To demonstrate the idea, below is our own “runners-up” application, which uses data extracted
from four different web documents. The screenshot below shows our solution’s GUI when it
first starts. We’ve called our application What’s on Second? in homage to the classic “Who’s
on First?” vaudeville sketch popularised by Abbott and Costello, and have included a relevant
image to serve as the application’s logo.
The GUI offers the user four distinct lists of competitors. One list, the most popular TV Shows
viewed on iTunes Australia as of August 11th, is static and is never updated. The other three
categories, the current most-popular iTunes Australia TV shows, the current movies most-pirated internationally on torrent sites, and the current UK music album chart, are all “live” and
represent the contents of these lists right now. These three lists may contain different data each
time we check them because all three web sites we use as data sources are updated on a regular
The user can select a list by clicking on the corresponding radio button. For instance, the user
may choose to look at the static list of TV shows first, by selecting it and pressing the “Update”
button. This causes the names of the TV shows and the specific episodes to be shown in the
GUI as follows, reflecting the state of this list on August 11th:
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Given our interest in who’s coming second, the runner-up is displayed prominently on its own
at the bottom left. In this case the runner-up was an episode of the TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills called There’s No Place Like Rome.
The other nine competitors are listed separately. All of these competitors must be clearly numbered to show their position in the list, given that the second one does not appear in the list on
the right. Thus, the first competitor was the opening episode of the new Perry Mason series,
the third competitor was the pilot episode of Euphoria, and so on.
Also note that two episodes of War of the Worlds appear on the right. In this list the same
competitor can appear more than once, which is why it’s essential to include another property,
in this case the episode name, to uniquely distinguish the entries.
Apart from this static list, the user can also see who is currently runner-up in the other three
lists by selecting the corresponding “live” option, e.g., the current UK music album chart:
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The screenshot above was taken when we ran our program on August 24th (the final three
entries in the right-hand list could be seen by scrolling down). We thus discovered that Taylor
Swift was the current runner-up on the official UK music albums chart at that time. For this
category our program lists each album’s title and artist. The extracted text is all in upper case
because this is the way it appeared on the source web site. Our program simply copies the text
verbatim from the original web document, although we are careful to remove any unusual
Unicode characters or HTML entities that would not display properly in our Tkinter GUI.
Our application also gives the user the option of seeing the current list of iTunes TV shows,
rather than the previously-saved one. In this case it produced the following results on August
We thus learnt that the first episode of the new Perry Mason series was still the most popular
show, but that a different episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills now holds the coveted runner-up position. Several other changes since we copied the web site on August 11th
can be seen further down the list. (The tenth show could be seen by scrolling down the list on
the right.)
Finally, selecting the second radio button and pressing “Update” allows us to see which movies
are currently being pirated most frequently on torrent sites. When we did this on August 24th
the runner-up was Tax Collector. Each of the ten entries shows the movie’s title and its user
rating on the widely-used IMDb rankings.
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As well as showing a curated version of the data, which emphasises the runner-up, your program must also make it easy for the user to inspect the original web documents, for all four
data sources. In our sample solution this is done by selecting an option via the radio buttons
and pressing “Show Source”. Doing so for the three “live” sources causes the original web site
to be opened in our computer’s default web browser. For instance, selecting the current TV
shows list and pressing “Show Source” causes the original web site from which we extracted
our data to appear in our web browser:
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This allows us to see more information than we showed in the GUI (and to check the accuracy
of our program!).
Similarly, choosing the pirated movies option and pressing “Show Source” opens the original
TorrentFreak site, confirming that Tax Collector was the runner-up when we ran our program,
and that it had an IMDb rating of 4.7:
The same thing can be done for the previously-downloaded web document, in this case an
earlier copy of the iTunes TV shows list. Selecting the “Previous #2” option and pressing
“Show Source” causes the copy of the web site we stored locally to be displayed in our web
browser, as shown below. However, when we do so, the web document is not properly formatted, and looks quite different than the “live” site shown above:
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However, this is to be expected because we only downloaded the main HTML file and not any
CSS style files needed to support it. Although you must provide the ability to see the previously-downloaded web document in a browser, there is no need to preserve its original formatting. The unformatted document above is still sufficient to confirm who was runner-up.
In summary, therefore, our demonstration program provides its users with a Graphical User
Interface providing the following capabilities:
o The ability to clearly identify the application, including its name and logo.
o The ability to select from at least four distinct lists of competitors, one previouslydownloaded and three “live” ones which are downloaded whenever the program runs.
o The ability to see the runner-up in any of the selected lists, including the competitor’s
identity and some additional property of that competitor.
o The ability to see the other top nine competitors in any of the selected lists, including
each competitor’s identity, its additional property and its position in the original list.
o The ability to view the source web documents for any of the four lists in the host operating system’s web browser.
You are not required to follow the details of our demonstration program. You are strongly
encouraged to use your own skills and initiative to devise your own solution, provided it has
all of the capabilities listed above. For instance, different widgets could be used for the GUI,
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such as press buttons or pull-down menus for selecting lists. Similarly, our example uses text
boxes of fixed size to display the results, but this can be inconvenient because sometimes the
user needs to scroll down to see all the text. A possible improvement would be to display the
information in a widget which resizes itself so that all the text can be seen at once.
Where the data comes from
To produce the data for display our Python program uses regular expressions to extract elements from the relevant web documents, whether they are stored as a local file or downloaded
when the program is run.
We began by using the downloader.py program (see below) to download copies of the web
documents from the relevant sites and we then examined their HTML source code to determine
how the elements we needed are marked up. For instance, the UK music albums chart appears
as shown below when viewed in a web browser. It contains information about 100 albums and
their artists, so our challenge was to extract this data for just the first ten of these, ignoring all
the many other elements of the web page.
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To do this we inspected the HTML source code to see how the elements of interest are marked
up. For example, we found the name of the album and artist for the runner-up embedded in the
source code as follows.
We thus discovered that the album titles and artist’s name all appear within <a
href=”…”> … </span> HTML tags, which made them easy to find with appropriate regular expressions and Python’s findall function.
Similarly, as shown below, in the iTunes TV site we found the names of the TV shows and the
episodes appear within <span …> and <a …> tags, respectively, so they could also be found
with corresponding regular expressions.
For the most-pirated movies site we discovered that the movies’ names and their IMDb ratings
appeared in a table with hyperlinks to the IMBd web site, so paying careful attention to the
corresponding <td> and <a …> tags was the key to devising regular expressions to extract
them in this case. (We also discovered that this site is not very reliable, and often contains
formatting changes and even obvious errors in its HTML source code, so we don’t recommend
using it.)
Album title
TV show
Artist’s name
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Obviously working with complex HTML code like this is challenging. You should begin with
your static, unchanging document to get some practice at pattern matching before trying dynamically changeable web documents.
Another important aspect of your solution is that it must be resilient to error. The biggest risk
with this kind of program is some problem accessing the source web sites. We have attempted
to make our download function as robust as possible. In particular, if it detects an error while
downloading a web document it returns the special value None instead of a character string,
so your program must check for this. We don’t claim that the download function is infallible,
however, because the results it produces are dependent on the behaviour of your specific Internet connection. For instance, some systems will generate a default web document when an
online site can’t be reached, in which case the download function will be unaware that a
failure has occurred and won’t return the special value.
As an example of resilience, if our demonstration solution tries to access a “live” web site when
there is no Internet connection, it simply displays error messages, as follows. Importantly,
however, the program does not generate any red exception error messages in the shell window.
IMDb rating
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Furthermore, as insurance against the risk of a web site failing completely, your program’s
three “live” web sources must come from entirely different web servers. One way of achieving
this is to ensure that the parts of the address at the beginning of each site’s URL are all distinct.
For example, our sample solution used three distinct sources for its runner-up data, iTunes,
TorrentFreak and the BBC’s official music charts. These three sites have the following URLs
and clearly come from different web servers as shown by the parts highlighted in red.
Another source of potential problems in IT systems is user error. This depends on the design
of your GUI. Your program should anticipate any sequence of user actions and respond appropriately. For instance, in our solution if the user presses the “Update” or “Show Sources”
buttons before selecting a list using the radio buttons, a default document source is used, which
in this case is the previously-dowloaded iTunes TV shows data. Your program should never
produce unhandled exception errors in the Python interpreter’s shell window.
Specific requirements and marking guide
To complete this task you are required to produce a Python program with functionality equivalent to that described above, using the provided runners_up.py template file as your starting point. In addition you must provide a previously-downloaded web document as your source
of “previous runner-up” data and (at least) one image file to display as your app’s logo in the
Your complete solution must support at least the following features. Marks available are as
• An intuitive Graphical User Interface (5%). Your application must provide an attractive, easy-to-use GUI. You have a free choice of which Tkinter widgets to do the
job, as long as they are effective and clear for the user. This interface must have the
following features:
o An image which identifies the application. Note that many Tkinter implementations only support GIF images, so we recommend using that format. The image file should be included in the same folder as your Python application.
o A heading which names your application. This can be part of the above image
or a separate widget. Either way, you must also name your app in the Tkinter
window’s title.
o A widget or widgets that allow the user to select from four runners-up lists, three
“live” and one previously-downloaded. It must be obvious in the GUI which
are the “live” lists and which is the unchanging one. It must also be obvious
what properties are displayed about each of the competitors, e.g., their identity,
author, artist, score, etc, in addition to their position in the list.
o Widgets for displaying the runner-up and the other competitors from each list
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o A widget or widgets to allow the user to open any of the four source HTML
document’s in their computer’s default web browser.
Note that this criterion concerns the front-end GUI elements only. The functionality of
these elements is covered in the following criteria.
• Displaying data from the previously-downloaded document (2%). Whenever the
user chooses to do so your program must display the runner-up from the unchanging
list and the other nine competitors at the top of the list. The runner-up must be displayed
separately from the others and must include its identity and whatever other “property”
is associated with each competitor. The remaining nine competitors must also be displayed, including their identity, associated property and their position in the list. The
data must be extracted using pattern matching techniques from the previously-downloaded HTML document so that if the source document was replaced with a different
one from the same web site your program would still work. The competitors’ identities,
their associated properties and their positions in the list must align correctly as per the
original document. No unintended HTML mark-ups or odd characters should be displayed in the GUI.
• Displaying data from online documents (6%). Whenever the user chooses to do so
your program must display the runner-up and the other nine competitors currently at
the top of each of the three “live” lists. The data must be extracted from copies of the
source web pages downloaded whenever your Python program runs, so that it is always
up to date. The runner-up must be displayed separately from the others and must include its identity and whatever other “property” is associated with each competitor.
The remaining nine competitors must also be displayed, including their identity, associated property and their position in the list. The competitors’ identities, their associated properties and their positions in the list must align correctly as per the data currently in the source web site. No unintended HTML mark-ups or odd characters may
be displayed in the GUI. If there is some problem accessing the web sites your program
must display an appropriate error message; no unhandled exceptions may appear in the
interpreter’s shell window.
• Opening the source web documents in a web browser (3%). Your program must
give the user the ability to select and view the source web documents for any of the four
runners-up lists in their computer’s default web browser.
• Code quality and presentation (4%). Your program code, for both Parts A and B of
the assignment, must be presented in a professional manner. See the coding guidelines
in the IFB104 Code Presentation Guide (on Blackboard under Assessment) for suggestions on how to achieve this. Each significant code block must be clearly commented
to describe its purpose (but not how it works, which can be seen from the code itself).
Similarly, the names of your functions, parameters and variables should be indicative
of their role, not just “i”, “j”, etc. Also, you should use function definitions and loops
to avoid unnecessary duplication of similar or identical code segments. All instructions
in the provided Python template must be followed. Finally, to get full marks for this
criterion you must provide a significant amount of code to assess; a few lines of wellpresented code will not be considered sufficient.
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• Extra feature (5%). Part B of this assignment will require you to make a ‘last-minute
extension’ to your solution. The instructions for Part B will not be released until just
before the final deadline for Assignment 2.
You can add other features if you wish, as long as you meet these basic requirements. You
must complete the task using only basic Python functions and the modules already imported
into the provided template. You may not use any Python modules that need to be downloaded and installed separately, such as “Beautiful Soup” or “Pillow”. Only modules that
are part of a standard Python 3 installation may be used.
However, your solution is not required to precisely duplicate our example shown above. Instead you are strongly encouraged to be creative in your choices of web sites to access, and the
design and operation of your Graphical User Interface.
Support tools
To get started on this task you need to download various web documents of your choice and
work out how to extract the necessary elements from them. You also need to allow for the fact
that the contents of the web documents from which you get your data will change regularly, so
you cannot hardwire the locations of these elements into your program. Instead you must use
Python’s string find method and/or regular expression findall function to extract the necessary elements, no matter where they appear in the HTML source code.
To help you do this, we have included two small Python programs with these instructions, as
well as some helpful features in the Python template.
1. downloader.py is a Python program containing a function called download that
downloads and saves the source code of a web document as a Unicode file, as well as
returning the document’s contents to the caller as a character string. A copy of this
function also appears in the provided program template. You can use it both to save a
copy of your “static” web document, as well as to download the “live” web documents
in your Python program. Although recommended, you are not required to use this function in your solution, if you prefer to write your own “downloading” code to do the job.
2. regex_tester.py is an interactive program introduced in the lectures and workshops which makes it easy to experiment with different regular expressions on small
text segments. You can use this together with downloaded text from the web sites to
help perfect your regular expressions. (There are also many online tools that do the
same job.) When copying regular expressions from such a “tester” into your Python
program keep in mind that certain characters are meaningful in both regular expressions
and Python strings, especially backslashes “”. If this causes problems the easiest solution is to precede the character string with “r”, e.g., using expression “r'[az]n’” to match a lower case letter at the end of a line. The “r” tells the Python
interpreter to treat the following character string as uninterpreted “raw” text and to ignore the backslash.
3. Python’s standard webbrowser module supports opening of online documents in the
host operating system’s default web browser, given their URL. Our Python template
file imports the necessary function and names it “urldisplay” (to clearly distinguish
it from the built-in “open” function for local files).
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4. However, Python’s webbrowser module does not reliably support opening of local
files in a web browser. The Python documentation says that this capability is available
only in certain Python implementations. The assignment’s template file therefore includes a function of our own, called open_html_file, which allows HTML files to
be opened in the default web browser, provided they are stored in the same folder as
the Python program. The function has been tested on selected Apple, Microsoft and
Linux platforms, although it comes “as is”, with no guarantees!
Internet ethics: Responsible scraping
The process of automatically extracting data from web documents is sometimes called “scraping”. However, in order to protect their intellectual property and their computational resources,
owners of some web sites may not want their data exploited in this way. They will therefore
deny access to their web documents by anything other than recognised web browser software
such as Firefox, Chrome, etc. Typically in this situation the web server will return a short
“access denied” document to your Python program instead of the expected web document (see
Appendix B).
In this situation it’s sometimes possible to trick the web server into delivering the desired document by having your Python script impersonate a standard web browser. To do this you need
to change the “user agent” identity enclosed in the request sent to the web server. Our download function has an option for doing this, but we make no guarantees that it will always
work. We leave it to your own conscience whether or not you wish to use such an approach,
but note that the assignment can be completed successfully without resorting to such subterfuge.
Development hints
This “capstone” assignment is a substantial task, so you should not attempt to do it all at once.
In particular, you should approach it methodically and attempt one part at a time.
o Developing a way of extracting relevant elements from web documents is a challenge
in its own right. Having selected the web sites of interest you should download copies
of the relevant web documents so that you can study their structure. You should download the documents using the supplied download function, rather than saving them
from a web browser, to ensure that they have the same structure that will be seen by
your Python program. Examine the HTML source code of the documents to determine
how the elements you want to extract are marked up. This can be done using a plain
text editor or a web browser’s source code inspection feature. Typically you will want
to identify the markup tags that uniquely indicate the beginning and end of the text you
want to extract. Using the provided regex_tester.py application, you can then
devise regular expressions which extract just the necessary elements from the web documents’ source code. Having perfected the regular expressions you can then develop a
simple prototype of your “back end” Python function(s) that extracts and returns the
required elements from a web document.
o The assignment has been designed so that you have to work with a previously-downloaded, unchanging web document, and “live” web documents downloaded at run time.
Obviously it is easiest to work with the static document, so you should develop your
code for that part of the assignment first, before tackling “live” web pages.
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o To complete your program you need to develop both a GUI front end for user interaction and back-end functions for extracting data from web documents. These tasks can
be completed in parallel, so if you get stuck on one turn your attention to the other.
Developing an attractive GUI can be the fiddliest step, so don’t worry about making it
look nice until you have the core functionality of your program working.
If you are unable to complete the whole task, just submit those stages you can get working.
You will receive partial marks for incomplete solutions. However, if your solution is only
partially working it will help the marker if you explain the limitations of your submission,
either by adding comments when you upload it to Blackboard or with comments in the submission itself. Ensure that your program runs as submitted, even if its functionality is incomplete.
An important aspect of software development is to ensure that your solution will work correctly
on all computing platforms (or at least as many as possible). For this reason you must complete
the assignment using standard Python 3 modules and functions only. You may not import
any additional modules or files into your program other than those already imported by the
given template file. In particular, you may not use any Python modules that need to be
downloaded and installed separately, such as “Beautiful Soup” or “Pillow”. Only modules that are part of a standard Python 3 installation may be used.
Security warning and plagiarism notice
This is an individual assessment item. All files submitted will be subjected to software plagiarism analysis using the MoSS system (http://theory.stanford.edu/~aiken/moss/). Serious violations of the university’s policies regarding plagiarism will be forwarded to the Science and
Engineering Faculty’s Academic Misconduct Committee for formal prosecution.
As per QUT rules, you are not permitted to copy or share solutions to individual assessment
items. In serious plagiarism cases SEF’s Academic Misconduct Committee prosecutes both
the copier and the original author equally. It is your responsibility to keep your solution secure.
In particular, you must not make your solution visible online via cloud-based code development platforms such as GitHub. Note that free accounts for such platforms are usually
public and are thus unsafe. If you wish to use such a resource, do so only if you are certain
you have a private repository that cannot be seen by anyone else. For instance, university
students can apply for a free private repository in GitHub to keep their assignments secure
(https://education.github.com/pack). However, we recommend that the best way to avoid being prosecuted for plagiarism is to keep your work well away from both the Internet and your
fellow students!
You must develop your solution by completing and submitting the provided Python template
file runners_up.py. Your solution may not rely on any Python modules that need to
be downloaded and installed separately, such as “Beautiful Soup”. Programs that do not
run in a standard Python 3 environment will receive 0%. Submit your Python code in a
“zip” archive containing all the files needed to support it as follows:
1. Your runners_up.py solution. Make sure you have completed the “statement” at
the beginning of the Python file to confirm that this is your own individual work by
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inserting your name and student number in the places indicated. Submissions without
a completed statement will be assumed not to be your own work.
2. One or more small image files needed to support your GUI interface, but no other
image files.
3. Copies of the previously-downloaded web document used for your static “previous runner-up” list. Include only a single HTML document. Do not include any image or
style files associated with the web document. Only the HTML source code is needed
by your Python program.
Once you have completed your solution and have zipped up these items submit them to Blackboard as a single file. Submit your solution compressed as a “zip” archive. Do not use
other compression formats such as “rar” or “7z”.
Apart from working correctly your Python and HTML code must be well-presented and easy
to understand, thanks to (sparse) commenting that explains the purpose of significant parts and
helpful choices of variable and function names. Professional presentation of your code will
be taken into account when marking this assignment.
If you are unable to solve the whole problem, submit whatever parts you can get working. You
will receive partial marks for incomplete solutions.
How to submit your solution
A link is available on Blackboard under Assessment for uploading your solution before the
deadline (11:59pm Sunday, October 18th, end of Week 12). Note that you can submit as many
drafts of your solution as you like. You are strongly encouraged to submit draft solutions
before the deadline as insurance against computer and network failures. If you are unsure
whether or not you have successfully uploaded your file, upload it again!
Students who encounter problems uploading their assignment files to Blackboard should contact HiQ’s Technology Services (http://qut.to/ithelp; askqut@qut.edu.au; 3138 2000) for assistance and advice. Do not email assignments to the teaching staff. They cannot be accepted
for marking because we cannot upload assignments to Blackboard on your behalf. Also, teaching staff will not answer email queries on the weekend the assignment is due, so ensure that
you have successfully uploaded at least one solution by close-of-business on Friday, October
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Appendix A: Some web sites that may prove helpful
For this assignment you need to find three or more regularly-updated online lists, containing at
least ten items at all times. This appendix suggests some web sites which may be suitable for
this assignment, but we don’t guarantee that they all are. In particular, we have not checked
them all to see if
• the lists change at least weekly, preferably daily, and
• they can be successfully downloaded by a Python program.
You should check both of these things before deciding to use any of the web sites below or any
others you find yourself.
The following sites appear to be updated frequently, so may be suitable for this assignment.
Note that it’s not enough to take the publisher’s word. Just because a site says “updated daily”
doesn’t mean it will change daily!
• The most-played tracks on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/charts/top
• Spotify Charts, Australia: https://spotifycharts.com/regional/au/daily/latest
• Box Office Mojo’s Daily Box Office Receipts: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/
• Players’ Rankings for Steam: http://steamcharts.com/top
• US TV Guide’s Trending TV shows: https://www.tvguide.com/trending-tonight/
• Top 100 Stocks to Buy: https://www.barchart.com/stocks/top-100-stocks
and Stock Price Surprises: https://www.barchart.com/stocks/price-surprises
plus several other promising looking lists at the same site
• Publisher’s Weekly Top 10 Books: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/nielsen/top100.html
• Rotten Tomatoes Top Box Office: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/browse/in-theaters/
and Top DVD and Streaming: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/browse/top-dvdstreaming
plus several other promising looking lists at the same site
• Apple iTunes Charts: http://www.itunescharts.net
including several lists such as TV Charts, Australia:
http://www.itunescharts.net/aus/charts/tv-episodes/current/ (as used in our sample solution)
• Official UK Music Charts: http://www.officialcharts.com/charts
including the Albums Chart: http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/albums-chart/ (as
used in our sample solution)
• TorrentFreak’s Most-Pirated Movies list: https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-torrented-pirated-movies/ (as used in our sample solution, but with some difficulty due
to the site’s inconsistency)
• Google Real-Time Search Trends, Australia: https://trends.google.com/trends/trendingsearches/realtime?geo=AU
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• Ultimate Guitar’s Top Songs: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/top/tabs?type=all&order=hitsdaily_desc
• YouTube Trending Videos: https://www.youtube.com/feed/trending
• American Top 40 Songs: https://www.at40.com/charts/top-40-238/latest/
• Billboard Music Charts: https://www.billboard.com/charts
e.g., Pop Songs: https://www.billboard.com/charts/pop-songs
• The Movie Times Top 10 Netflix Movies: https://www.the-movie-times.net/?p=410
• New Zealand Music Charts, Singles: https://www.nztop40.co.nz/chart/singles
and Albums: https://www.nztop40.co.nz/chart/albums
• MYX Music Chart Daily Top Ten: https://myx.abs-cbn.com/charts/myx-daily-top-10-
• Australian Music Charts, Singles: https://australian-charts.com/weekchart.asp?cat=s
and Albums: https://australian-charts.com/weekchart.asp?cat=a
• IMDb US Movie Box Office Receipts: https://www.imdb.com/chart/boxoffice
• Big Top 40 Music Chart: https://www.bigtop40.com/
• Aria Music Charts: http://www.ariacharts.com.au/charts
with several to choose from
• Event Hubs Video Game Tiers: https://www.eventhubs.com/tiers/ (but it’s not clear
how often these update)
• MyAnimeList’s Anime Listings: https://myanimelist.net/
with many to choose from, e.g., Top Airing: https://myanimelist.net/topanime.php?type=airing
In addition there are many sites that provide very large numbers of lists, but their update frequency is unclear, so they are probably not suitable for the assignment:
• Official World Golf Ranking: http://www.owgr.com/ranking (we generally suggest
avoiding sports rankings, because they may not update at all out of season)
• The Ranker site has hundreds of crowd-sourced popularity lists, but it’s not clear how
often each is updated: https://www.ranker.com/
If you’re thinking of using one of these lists, first confirm that it changes frequently.
• GoodReads Trending Books: https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/trending
but no indication of update frequency
• List Challenges: http://www.listchallenges.com
has a huge number of crowdsourced lists but with an unclear update frequency
• Wonderlist: https://www.wonderslist.com
has a huge number of lists but they don’t look like they are updated regularly
Before committing time to working on a web page, make sure that the list it contains is updated
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Appendix B: Web sites that block access to Python scripts
As noted above, some web servers will block access to web documents by Python programs in
the belief that they may be “bots” or malware, or in order to protect the owner’s computing
resources and data assets from abuse. In this situation they usually return a short HTML document containing an “access denied” message instead of the desired document. This can be
very confusing because you can usually view the document without any problems using a
standard web browser even though your Python program is delivered something entirely different by the server.
If you suspect that your Python program isn’t being allowed to access your chosen web page,
use our downloader.py program to check whether or not your Python program is being
sent an access denied message. When viewed in a web browser, such messages typically look
something like the following example. In this case blog www.wayofcats.com has used
anti-malware application Cloudflare to block access to its contents by our Python program.
In this situation you are encouraged to choose another source of data. Although it’s possible
to trick some web sites into delivering blocked pages to a Python script by changing the “user
agent” signature sent to the server in the request we don’t recommend doing so, partly because
this solution is not reliable and partly because it could be considered unethical to deliberately
override the website owner’s wishes.

Reference no: EM132069492

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