Automating The Boring Stuff With Python

by HSG on Aug 12, 2019 in
 
 
Python is a powerful tool that can be used for many automation tasks in the workplace. It’s notorious for being one of the most simple and versatile options available in the world of programming languages. For this reason, many people choose to automate an enormous amount of their workflow with Python. We’ve compiled a few ideas for automating the boring stuff using Python. Let’s take a look.
 
Managing Emails
 
Most businesses rely on emails being sent out regularly in order to ensure everything runs smoothly. Doing this by hand can be boring and time-consuming. To alleviate this, there are packages written with and for Python that enable you to automate certain aspects of this process. Adding and removing individuals from mailing lists can be automated as well, especially if your business has a policy to automatically add and remove people from certain mailing lists when certain conditions are met. For example, after a customer of yours doesn’t interact with your company after an extended period of time, it may be prudent to remove them from your mailing list, or you can send them a premade email reminding them of your services. This is just one way that you can save your company time and money using automation with Python.
 
Repetitive File System Operations
 
Even for personal tasks, Python excels at performing repetitive file system operations. For example, it can convert files, rename, move, delete, and sort files as much as you need it to. This can be useful in many ways. If you have a folder of mp3 files that you need to compress, this can be sped up using Python. Additionally, you can create a set of criteria that need to be met in order for a given file to be considered useless, and then delete it. As a side note, be extremely careful when automating any sort of file deletion or altering, because a bug in your program can cause severe damage to your data and even to your computer. Still, these tools are extremely powerful and can be life-saving when used properly. 
 
Start-up Tasks
 
Whether you’re running a server or just using your own personal computer, there are always tasks that need to be done when your computer starts up, or you’re beginning a certain process. For example, you can automate the task of backing up your email inbox. This can ensure your files are being kept safe, and it can be triggered whenever your start up your computer. Additionally, if you need to collect or create any sort of logging data in order to document daily operations, you can use Python to alleviate some of these time-consuming processes. 
 
Web Scraping
 
And finally, we have Web Scraping. This process may be slightly more advanced for a beginner Python user, but it doesn’t take a terribly long time to learn, and it opens up a whole new world of opportunity in terms of data collection and management. Web scraping is extremely important because it not only allows you to automatically search for certain pieces of content on the internet, but it can also alert you to changes and updates to existing websites. If your business relies on certain trends on social media, you can scrape sites while searching for the presence of certain keywords, and if you’re a stock trader or bitcoin guru, you can automate some of your price-checking and set custom alerts for price changes. The field of web scraping is enormous, and there is a practically infinite amount of content written on this particular subject. If you’re interested in learning more, there are vast amounts of free resources on the internet that can help you get started. Web scraping is certainly one of the most important skills to have in almost any line of work.
 
Get Creative!
 
At this point, we’d like to advise you to get more familiar with the libraries and APIs that are available to you. Each individual workflow is different and requires familiarity with different technologies. Because of this, you will know better than anybody else which items are worth automating and which aren’t. Some people try to automate everything, and some people prefer to do certain tasks manually, but sometimes spending a few hours automating a job that takes one minute will end up being a time-saver after only a few months.
 
We’ve gone over quite a few options in this article, but no single human alive is familiar with absolutely everything Python can do. Hopefully, you’re now more familiar with the options available to you, and you should now be better equipped to search for further information that is more relevant to your specific use case. Have fun digging into the many nuances and functionalities that the Python language has to offer!

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