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Online Course

Using Python to Access Web Data

University of Michigan via Coursera

33.4k
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Duration 6 weeks long
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Overview

This course will show how one can treat the Internet as a source of data. We will scrape, parse, and read web data as well as access data using web APIs. We will work with HTML, XML, and JSON data formats in Python. This course will cover Chapters 11-13 of the textbook “Python for Everybody”. To succeed in this course, you should be familiar with the material covered in Chapters 1-10 of the textbook and the first two courses in this specialization. These topics include variables and expressions, conditional execution (loops, branching, and try/except), functions, Python data structures (strings, lists, dictionaries, and tuples), and manipulating files. This course covers Python 3.

Syllabus

Getting Started
-In this section you will install Python and a text editor. In previous classes in the specialization this was an optional assignment, but in this class it is the first requirement to get started. From this point forward we will stop using the browser-based Python grading environment because the browser-based Python environment (Skulpt) is not capable of running the more complex programs we will be developing in this class.

Regular Expressions (Chapter 11)
-Regular expressions are a very specialized language that allow us to succinctly search strings and extract data from strings. Regular expressions are a language unto themselves. It is not essential to know how to use regular expressions, but they can be quite useful and powerful.

Networks and Sockets (Chapter 12)
-In this section we learn about the protocols that web browsers use to retrieve documents and web applications use to interact with Application Program Interfaces (APIs).

Programs that Surf the Web (Chapter 12)
-In this section we learn to use Python to retrieve data from web sites and APIs over the Internet.

Web Services and XML (Chapter 13)
-In this section, we learn how to retrieve and parse XML (eXtensible Markup Language) data.

JSON and the REST Architecture (Chapter 13)
-In this module, we work with Application Program Interfaces / Web Services using the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data format.

Taught by

Charles Severance

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Reviews for Coursera's Using Python to Access Web Data Based on 1726 reviews

  • 5 stars 81%
  • 4 stars 16%
  • 3 stars 2%
  • 2 stars 1%
  • 1 stars 0%

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  • 1
Anonymous
2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I have one big criticism of this class. The Python keyword "import" is never explained. The concept of "module" is never explained.

We're just told to cant this magic incantation "import re" and suddenly statements that generated traceback errors suddenly don't. Even more intriguingly, python now seems to recognize regular expressions!

Later, we're just told to cant another magic incantation "import xml.etree.ElementTree as ET" and now there are actually new data types!

How this happens is never explained.

To make this class perfec…
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Anonymous
2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I really enjoyed the first two courses of Dr. Chuck's Python for Everybody Specialization -- but not this one. As some other reviewers have already stated I, too, felt increasingly frustrated and somehow left alone during this course. Most of this course's assignments were way too difficult and I had to search the web for hours to find some help to solve them. Or, quite honestly, I had to cheat my way through them, because I just didn't know what to do anymore. There are of course the discussion forums where one can state one's problem - but although the staff and mentors are really quick with…
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Nikita N
3 years ago
by Nikita completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
As I mentioned in the previous reviews about this Specialisation, all these courses are meant for beginners without previous programming experience and difficulty of courses rises gradually.

Thus, the first course was a real piece of cake, second got a little tougher and this one is the first course that really took me some time to finish it. This time I really had to listen to some lectures twice, to debug my code a hell lot of times and to stick to the sample code a lot.

Students, who have programming experience might still think that this course is too slow and eas…
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Steve S
a year ago
Steve completed this course.
With this review, you must understand, a major part of this review is because of my interest/expectations/etc., what I was looking for from the course. If you are interested in “fully engaging” in Python, becoming a computer scientist, etc., this course if fine. Me, I’m an engineer by profession. About every 5 years, I go back and take a class to keep my programming skills up. So, my interests in programming would be about 80% math implementation, 20% string/list/character manipulation. This course was all string/list/character manipulation, I felt. So, I was turned off by the course.
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Anonymous
a year ago
Anonymous completed this course.
As many have said, this was a good course. I can now do so many things I couldn't do after the 2 first courses.

However, it seemed like Dr.Chuck had to much stuff to show us in a single course, that made it impossible for him to explain everything that was done, which was done in the 2 first courses.

Now it's just "type this, you won't know what it is and why you type it, but it'll make your program work". So you end up copy pasting Dr.Chuck's code without knowing what you're doing.

I would have prefered this course divided into more courses to go deeper in the modules or functions, so we can understand pretty much everything we do, and write the code from scratch. It could even have been a 12 weeks course instead of 6 and I wouldn't have minded.

All in all, i'm satisfied with what i've learned, but I had to go to many other websites to understand the course material.
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Jerald C
7 months ago
Jerald completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I just completed the course. It is excellent, but needs a few bug fixes.

The Week 5 Chapter assignment references the wrong exemplar (not wrong, per se, but far more complex than a simpler example covered in the lectures that transfers better to the assignment).

This threw a lot of people and protracted completion of the exercise. A plurality of people who noticed this whined. Apparently, the course shell has not been updated in 2 years.

The code snippets reference the P4E website, which is Dr. Chuck's open source version of the course. The links to the s…
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Anonymous
3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I began learning Python with this course. With absolutely no prior knowledge of or experience in Python (except lots of curiosity), I came across the first two courses on Coursera.org and loved Dr Charles' videos. It's a well structured course, especially if you have just started learning about Python and wish to build your skills more practically than by mere reading of numerous resources. There are plenty of resources that Dr Chuck (as he is fondly referred to by his students) offers in the duration of the course. I especially enjoy the bonus videos that accompany this course. They really help increase your knowledge base and urge you to know and be better and try your hand at various things. I'm glad I decided to pursue the entire specialization offered by University of Michigan, and it is all thanks to Dr. Chuck!
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
It's a very good course for many reasons. I learnt practical skills easily. It is always fun listening to dr Chuck who always says interesting and useful things. Although I think that the edX/MIT course I took was excellent, I think dr Chuck does amazing job and he is number 1 for me (he's my HERO, I love him!)

Maybe the assignments were a bit to easy, but I think there were like a guidance for us to know how to start and what to learn. In my opinion there was not enough about urllib, but it's up to us whether we want to learn it or not and the course wasn't the best place for it (I'm going to learn all the library/modules used by dr Chuck)

I think I've learnt amazing skills already thanks to dr Chuck.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
"Using Python to Access Web Data" was definitely more challenging than its predecessors in the specialization but it gave me a good taste for how even a simple program in Python can reach out to the world, access meaningful data, and do something useful with it. I would find to be helpful additional programming examples and/or code which used more of the built-in functions offered by a touched-on library, such as urllib and json. Review of the Python programming manuals reveal a seemingly immense amount of functionality and if this course explored a bit more in those areas, I'd feel more enriched. Maybe some of the largely extraneous "office hours" segments could be replaced with on-topic educational content.

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Anonymous
a year ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Although my specialty is zoology, I signed up and paid for this course (one in a series offered by them) to learn a little about Python which intrigued me for some reason.

The course gives a somewhat disjointed, quick overview of using Python to access web data, but Professor Severance does try to touch shallowly on a good array of the relevant subject matter.

The real sin, however, (and the entire reason I’m taking the time to post this review) is to be found in the course’s abomination of a forum, where the “teaching assistants” are aggressively unhelpful. A teach…
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Anonymous
2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The only caveat I have with the course is the impossibility to audit and do the assignments (don't care about submitting them, but having access to the prompts would be nice). Luckily, Dr. Chuck has made those available somewhere else. That said, it builds nicely on top of the previous courses and increases the difficulty in a gradual manner. I would say here you will find to start going back and forth making sense of the earlier lessons and combining what you learned to make the assignments come to life. Nevertheless, it is possible to do that, and you will learn that the first two were indeed a good stepping stone for the ones to follow. Thank you, Dr. Chuck!
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Anonymous
9 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This third course applies and builds on the basic knowledge from the first two python courses. Especially interesting is the information on regular expressions, which kicks this course off. Following this the course gears up into a higher transmission focusing on using python with web browsers and reading webpages. Beautiful Soup gets covered as well as how to deal with XML data. So far so good.

Unfortunately the course loses itself suddenly in Java Script Object Notation and dealing with Twitter and Google Maps to the point where the amount of knowledge required does not match t…
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Elena S
3 years ago
by Elena completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I moved to the US a couple years ago and started my career from scratch in completely different sphere - Quality Assurance. I never supposed myself to be a technical person and felt uncomfortable with IT things. I have in my head the combination of tech terms and tools mixed up with huge gaps, this course helped me to systematize my knowledge and feel more confident and engaged with what I am doing. I completed 3/4 sessions and would rate the first two 5 stars, and probably give a little bit less, 4 stars, to the third one, only because sometimes I had to find on the Internet additional materials which were not covered by lecture and course materials to complete my assignments.
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Anonymous
2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Awesome course, allows you to understand and experience the fundamentals of the possibilities in connecting your program to networks, applications and platforms. I have designed systems for years, administrated large business platforms, and hired hundreds of developers... but I wanted to experience and see what building code is all about from a developer standpoint, not just a DevOp/Executive/Managerial side. I am now moving forward to the next classes on Python. Thanks everyone at the UofM/Coursera! If you are a CTO or Software Company Executive, this is well worth the time to gain tremendous fundamentals experience and knowledge of Python, which is part of what makes any technological business work under the hood.
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Anonymous
6 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The 3 installment of the specialization deals with getting, parsing and reading data from the internet, specifically data in XML and JSON formats.

In comparison with the previous 2 chapters, this one feels quite rushed and overwhelming. Now, I completely understand that it's not possible to explain every single thing in a beginner's course, historically and functionality wise but I couldn't help feeling a bit dumb having to copy-paste some import statements in order to complete the assignments.

There's a lot more to talk about on the topic and I fully agree that the c…
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Sebastien K
3 years ago
by Sebastien completed this course.
I have started a year ago the first module "Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)", then I was very enthusiast and took the second module "Python Data Structures", then... a lot of professional changes, no time to continue.. but few weeks ago I thought, I really want to try this third module "Using Python to Access Web Data", and honestly it was very great, what I have learned is just amazing what you can do with so little program in Python! I will definitively try the fourth module "Using Databases with Python" even if my time is counted. Maybe a capstone at the end, not sure yet but would definitively be a "+" to get some experience. I recommend all the courses with Dr. "Chuck", definitively!
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Antoine C
3 years ago
Antoine completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Dr. Chuck's explanations are clear and all the lessons are easy to follow: focus on relevant web technologies, perfect pace, examples based on popular APIs.

As someone with some basic knowledge in programming already I was expecting the assignments to be more challenging. As clearly announced on the website this course is targeted at beginners who took the previous courses from the same teacher: all exercises can be solved in about 10-15 lines of code and the solutions can be directly applied from the videos without much further thinking. The rest of you will, like me, breeze through it in no time.

Kudos for the extremely interesting interview videos proposed as bonus material!
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Anonymous
3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Great instructor, great class, and very easy to follow. I learned a LOT!

My only critique, is that many times when I am trying to fully understand how some code works within the presentation, the presentation will suddenly show the instructor speaking briefly, and then go back to the code. We don't need to see Steve. When he's trying to explain how code works during the presentation, just show the code. This allows me to understand what's going on while he's still speaking. Otherwise I need to pause the video, and by that point I'm no longer focused on what he was talking about.

Otherwise, this course is near perfect, and I've learned a ton from it. Thanks!
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Anonymous
2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This course have a very interesting and perspective topic - Python mostly is used as a scripting language and there is a lot of web-page parsers around the Web based on Python. My expectations were high. However, the course lectures touches the topic "Access Web Data" very superficial.

Week 2 starts with the regular expressions (week 1 is just a Python installation guide) and I have nothing to say about this weeks material - its useful, I even wrote my first excel file parser using regex after finishing this week.

Week 3 is about sockets and HTTP and how to deal with…
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Anonymous
3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I found this course challenging in a good way. It definitely ramps up the difficulty a bit from the prerequisite courses. However it is still quite approachable. I learned a lot. My only suggestion for improvement would be to directly reference the python documentation a bit more in the lectures (as a gentle invitation to reading more and discovering the more advanced capabilities) Of course you could do this on your own, but pointing out interesting landmarks to the uninitiated makes every journey better.
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