ICBC Slot Sniper 🎯

Web Scraping

A web bot that finds the closest time for an ICBC Road Test. It uses Selenium to automate the process of booking an appointmentall by itself. It can read your inbox and scan the verification code sent by ICBC.

Summary ✨

A web bot that helps you find the closest appointment for your next Road Test in British Columbia, Canada. It logs-in to ICBC's website for you, navigates through the website, and starts looking for the closest appointment and notifies you when it finds one. It can also book the appointment on your behalf by scanning your inbox for the confirmation email and filling out the form for you.

Details 🔎

Over December 2021 winter break, I was trying to book a road test appointment for my New Driver license. Unfortunately, I saw that the earliest available appointment was in March 2022! But, I was not surprised. It's just Canada things.

So, I decided to build a web bot that would automatically find the closest appointment for me by refreshing the page every 5 seconds until it finds a newly available appointment because people cancel their appointments all the time.

I used `Selenium` to navigate through the website. It takes the user's credentials in the config file and logs-in to the website. Then it goes to the appropriate link, enters the preferred location and starts refreshing the page every 5 seconds. When it finds a new appointment available on the proper location and date, it notifies the user and clicks the book button.

The website then sends a verification code to the user's email. Now, the bot is already waiting for the code to be sent by scanning the user's inbox. Once the code is received, it will enter it in the form and book the appointment automatically.

Challenges 🥵

The first challenge was to setup the environment. Selenium had to be installed and the appropriate driver had to be downloaded. I used `geckodriver` for Firefox. And, I've done all the work in a `CentOS` `Virtual Machine` and forwarded the port to my local machine.

Another challenge was to find the right elements on the page. I had to use the `dev tool` in the browser to find the right `xpath` for the elements I wanted to interact with. Also, I had to use `time.sleep()` to make sure the page is loaded before interacting with it.

The last challenge which was the most interesting one for me was to automatically fill the verification code form and book the appointment. This was fun because it was my first time doing it and I was amazed by it personally.

And lastly, ICBC's website is always changing its behavior. IT was a challenge to keep up with the changes and update the code regularly. That is the main reason that I can never be confident that this bot will work forever. But, with a little bit of tweaking, it can be made to work again.

Takeaway 📖

I familiarized myself with the Gmail's API and learned how to use it to scan the inbox. I also learned how SEO works on GitHub since my repository received a few stars and a few people contacted me to help them setting up the bot. Knowing that there were already many other projects that did the same thing, I was surprised that people were interested in my project.