Automating Simple Tasks with Python: Using Python and Window Task Scheduler to get the word of the day

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.❞‒Chinese Proverb

So I want to learn one english word per day, but I am too lazy and forgetful to visit the website ? Hmm…. bulb floats on head

Let us create a python script, that runs daily by the Windows Task Scheduler

12:16:00 AM Coffee break…

In this blog post, I will be describing my thought process of solving this problem and providing the code.

Hopefully it helps.

Before I begin, what have I learned:

  1. Knowing Code is awesome!
  2. Python Desktop application development is possible
  3. Using Task Scheduler to execute a program
  4. With this, I can basically automate the backup of my websites / web apps  and many more

Thought Process 

Word of the day Website

  • Create a function that crawls the website, extracts the word, its definition and examples, after which transforms the data into a dictionary.

#USAGE: python

#TODO: create function to crawl the website
#TODO: create function to display the word, definition and examples in a notepad

import requests, logging, os
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

filepath = os.path.abspath("C:\\users\\ajala\\desktop\\word.txt")
logging.basicConfig(level=logging.DEBUG, format="%(asctime)s - %(levelname)s - %(message)s")
def crawl_web():
	url = ""
	dictionary = {}
		#make request
		res =  requests.get(url)
		#raise status
		content = res.text
		#create soup
		soup = BeautifulSoup(content, "html.parser")
			content_column = soup.find("div", {"class":"content_column"})
				word_of_day = content_column.find("h1")
				word_of_day = word_of_day.find("a").get_text()
				dictionary["word"] = word_of_day
				#get all definitions
					dictionary["definitions"] = []
					def_soup = content_column.find_all("abbr", {"title":"partOfSpeech"})
					for definition in def_soup:
						d = definition.find_parent("li").get_text()
						dictionary["definitions"].append( d )
					#get all examples
						dictionary["examples"] = []
						ex_soup = content_column.find_all("li", {"class":"exampleItem"})
						for example in ex_soup:
							e = example.find("p", {"class":"text"}).get_text()
						return save_word_of_day(dictionary)
					except Exception as exErr:
						logging.error("Error while finding examples: " + str(exErr))
				except Exception as defErr:
					logging.error("Error while finding definitions: " + str(defErr))
			except Exception as wErr:
				logging.error("Error while finding word of day: " + str(wErr))
		except Exception as cErr:
			logging.error("Error while finding content column: " + str(cErr))
	except Exception as err:
		logging.error("Error while making request: " + str(err))<span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span>
  • Create a function that saves the data into  a .txt file

def save_word_of_day(dictionary:dict):
		#save the word of the day 
		global filepath
			fh = open(filepath, "w")
			#write word 
			fh.write(dictionary["word"] + "\n")
			#prints all definitions
			for pos in range(len(dictionary["definitions"])):
				de = dictionary["definitions"][pos]
				fh.write(str( pos + 1) + ".\t" + de)
			for pos in range(len(dictionary["examples"])):
				ex = dictionary["examples"][pos]
				fh.write(str( pos + 1) + ".\t" + ex)
				fh.write("\n")"closing file: " + filepath)
		except Exception as err:
			logging.error("Error while creating file: " + str(err))<span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span>
  • Create a function that opens the saved file using the default application
def display_in_notepad():
		#open the wordpad
		global filepath
		##create alarm before opening file
		os.system("start " + filepath)

if __name__ == "__main__":
  • Add the task in the Task Scheduler
    • Create New Task
    • Add Task information e.g. Name, Description
      • D
    • Define an action –> which specifies what program should be ran and how
        • I set “program/script” to the python.exe file, so you have to find the file in your own system
        • The arguments for the python is the wordofday script, which is located in the root directory “C:\\”
      • Define the trigger –> specifies when and how often the program is to be run or “triggered”
          • I set mine to once daily at 7:00 am
      • Click ok. Done!
  • Complete


How do I plan to make this better ?

  1. Execute a music player before the wordpad is opened. This acts like an alarm, which signals that “it is time to learn the word of the day”.
  2. Create a desktop application, that displays the word of the day and its content without using the wordpad application.

To see how I coded it, watch the following three part streaming videos.





IF you have suggestions, provide them in the comment section..

See ya!