In this assignment you will learn to use the Document Object Model (DOM) using Python via the Pattern library, in a few weeks you will also access the DOM from Javascript. We provide some scaffolding for the programming exercise in this homework.

DOM scraping and traversal

To scrape data, we will be using Pattern, a Python web mining module. Its description is as follows:

Pattern is a web mining module for the Python programming language. It bundles tools for data mining (Google + Twitter + Wikipedia API, web spider, HTML DOM parser), natural language processing (tagger/chunker, n­gram search, sentiment analysis, WordNet), machine learning (vector space model, k­means clustering, Naive Bayes + k­NN + SVM classifiers) and network analysis (graph centrality and visualization). It is well documented and bundled with 30+ examples and 350+ unit tests.


  1. We assume Python and pattern are installed (see preparations if this is not the case).

  2. We will be looking at IMDB TV Series and getting data off this website. To get started, you should look at the examples folder within patterns­2.5 Under 01-web folder, look at example If you have pattern2.6 the example is in directory 01-web in the file

The documentation on the website is also useful.

  1. To get you started we have provided you with a script that loads the correct IMDB address, makes a local backup of it (tvseries.html) and outputs a CSV file (tvseries.csv) that will contain only a header until you complete the implementation of the functions extract_tvseries(dom) and save_csv(f, tvseries). If you want to check your tvseries.csv file in Excel on a Mac, add ‘sep=,’ as the first line of the file. This way the file is parsed correctly in columns.

  2. To help you validate your script we provide an example output CSV file output.csv. You should run the script with the command python This will copy the IMDB webpage to the local directory and save a CSV file.

  3. When you hand this exercise in be sure to submit: your, tvseries.html and tvseries.csv. This will allow us to verify that your output CSV file is correct and that the script actually works given the HTML from IMDB.

  4. It could be that there are missing data (for instance the runtime), insert an appropriate value when something is missing.


This is the introductory exercise to Pattern. We will try to guide you along as much as possible, but you should read up on documentation and get used to doing that. It’s a really useful skill and a big part of programming is self-­learning!

This is also just a skeleton so you actually don’t have to use this at all. As long as your code runs at the end of the day and produces the write results in a CSV file, we’re happy.

Print is probably going to be your best friend for debugging so print often especially if something goes wrong.

This is taken from the documentation, which you should learn to read!

The DOM object is a tree of Element and Text objects. All objects inherit
from Node, DOM also inherits from Element.

Node.parent => Parent Node object
Node.children => List of child Node objects => Next Node in Node.parent.children
Node.previous => Previous Node in Node.parent.children

DOM.head => Element with tag name "head"
DOM.body => Element with tag name "body"

Element.tag => Element tag name, e.g. "body"
Element.attributes => Dictionary of tag attribute, e.g. {"class": "header"}
Element.content => Element HTML content as a string.
Element.source => Element tag + content


You can also use short aliases: by_id(), by_tag(), by_class(), by_attribute()
The tag name passed to Element.by_tag()
can include a class ("div.message") or an id ("div#header").


Add a folder Scraping to your DataProcessing/Homework repository containing the following files:

  2. tvseries.html
  3. tvseries.csv