New Release Webinar Video: Cookie Stores
January 15, 2018
Cookie Stores: What does it allow you to do?
- Log into some websites that use two-factor authentication
- Log into some websites that use CAPTCHA validation
- Collect personalized data such as shopping carts and order histories
Welcome, everyone! We are excited to have you hear at another webinar with Mozenda. Let’s just give a couple of minutes for everyone to join. Like we always do I would like to see where you’re from. Go ahead and chat in your name and where you are from and we will give everyone a few minutes to join.
Well welcome everyone, we are excited to be here with you. My name is Reggie and I am the marketing manager here at Mozenda. Let’s go ahead and introduce the team today. On the call with me today we have Kenneth Bedwell who is a lead Technical Consultant here at Mozenda. I am sure many of you have spoken with him before, he is an expert at the Mozenda tool.
Let’s go over the agenda. Today we will be talking a little bit about our new feature the cookie stores. We will talk about what it is, what it allows you to do and then show some examples. At the end of all that we will have a question and answers session. During the webinar if you have questions please feel free to message those to us. We have someone on that will message you back and answer those questions. We will also incorporate some of those into the webinar at the end. Without further ado, I will turn the time over to Kenneth to take it from here. Go ahead Kenneth.
Thanks Reggie. Welcome, everyone. I am really excited to introduce this new feature that we just rolled out with. This feature will expand the horizon of Mozenda. What were able to get to, what sites were able to scrape and do within those sites as well. So before we actually get started I want to talk about what cookies are and kind of highlight that.
A cookie is A piece of information that is stored in a browser. This information acts as an identification card or history of what you have done on the site. Next time you visit the site your browser will send this the stored information to the website, enabling the website to “remember” you and provide a better browsing experience. Cookies can be used to save your session, preferences, progress in filling out forms, personalized information, and other information to improve your experience each time you return to the site. Mozenda’s new Cookie Stores feature allows you to save your cookies for later use in building and running your Agents. As the website recognizes your cookies and restores your session information and preferences, your Agent design can be simplified. For some websites, this can be used to collect data from the website without having to sign back in.
So what does this really allow you to do? There is three big use cases for this. So the first big use case for this is where you log into some website that uses two-factor authentication. So for example where you have to log in your username and password then plug in a verification code that might be sent to your phone or your email. The second use case is logging into a site that has a CAPTCHA validation. So logging into a site that has some sort of CAPTCHA. Having to type numbers, words or pictures in order to log in. Finally, my favorite use case for this is collecting personalized data from personalized data from shopping carts and order histories. So this one is going to be really cool and I am going to show you an example of this.
So something to remember about this cookie stores feature and just cookies in general. Cookies do have an expiration date based on the website. You can use them in your agent until they expire. Once your cookie expires your agent will no longer be able to use the cookie that was stored. You will basically have to recreate the cookie. I will show you this process and it is actually pretty simple.
So the first example I want to use here I am going to use the cookie store feature to log into an email that requires two-factor authentication. So I am just going to go to my Mozenda mail and sign in normally. Now you’ll notice that I am not starting a new agent from this page. I want to save that cookie that piece of information, that identification part. So I am going to sign into my email. Just kind of go through the whole process. So once I am signed in I now have cookies stored on this particular browser. So the first thing I am going to do is save my cookies. So save this session. I am going to give it a name, so I am going to click “save cookie” and the name will be email1. The name doesn’t matter. At this point, I am going to click “save and start agent”. Okay, you’ll notice what Mozenda does is it executes this new action that Mozenda has created here called load cookies with the name email1. Then it loads the page of my email account. Here I can start creating actions like click items and capture items. There is just a list of things I can do.
So let’s assume I want to start fresh and use on a different agent this cookie store feature of my login credentials again. What I should do is start from the Mozenda homepage within the builder. So I am going to start a new agent from this page. Now I am going to go up to add action and load the cookie store, this is the new feature. Mozenda will then take me to my cookie store and select email1 and select ok. The next step is I need to go to the destination page. Not the sign in page but the destination page of where you have already logged in. So I am going to go to that page so I need to do a load page and I am going to take that URL from my account and paste it in. Once I have pasted in my URL I am going to say add page. You’ll notice right off the bat that it takes me back to the sign in page. The reason why is because the load cookies page has not been loaded yet, and that is ok. When I say test agent this is how I can execute this action. Now I have successfully logged back into my page. I can do this for other agents. Once again remember this cookie may expire over a set amount of time-based on the website.
So this about wraps up this first example. I want to go into another example of using the cookie stores feature of gathering personalized data within a shopping cart. So were going to go to a retail site and put two items into a shopping cart. The reason is because I want to track these items prices over time and use Mozenda store item history to see if the items prices or quantity has changed over time. First I need to be able to put those in my cart and save that cookie session so I can use it for future purposes. So what I am going to do first, similar to the first example is go to the target or destination page. So in this example I already have the URL’s I am going to go to. You do not have to do this. You can actually go and find the items you want like you were normally navigating in a normal browser. To simplify this I am going to paste the URL and add it to the cart. The number of items you do does not matter unless the site restricts the amount you can put into a certain cart.
So in this first example I am going to grab a driver and add it to a cart. Okay once this has been added to the cart I am just going to continue shopping. Once again I am not starting a new agent from this page yet. So I am have another URL I am using, so we are going to use two products here. So were at this page and I want some golf balls to go with it. Ok, so it has added it to the cart and I am going to go to the cart right now. From this point I can say “save cookies”. Were going to call this cart1 and click save and start agent. You’ll notice that Mozenda generates the load cookies, cart1 action and then the load page that takes me to the cart. Once I am inside my cart I can then capture my price, and also whether it is in stock. But I can also get the name of the item and other information. A really good use case for this that I thought of the other day. Items in a cart, the price may change but for a lot of websites the price usually will not stay the same because that represents the time you put that item inside the cart. So let’s say for example you wanted to track this item over time and see when it was in stock during a particular time. So you checked it once a month and if it was in stock you could know “okay this item is in stock and this is the price when it was on sale or whenever time you decide to get it at.” So that is a cool feature that I plan on using it as well for some particular use cases.
Now just like the other example, let’s say you wanted to use your cart and you wanted to add some more items to it but you wanted to build a new agent using this load cookies action in here. So were going to close this and I am going to get my cart URL and place it on the side here. Similar to the previous example were going to start from the Mozenda home page and just say “start a new agent from this page”. The next step is to replicate what we saw before is add action and “load cookie stores”. We have the cart1 that appears there. Here we can edit the name or delete it as well. I am going to select it and then hit ok. Once this is done I can then perform a “load new page” that will take me to my cart. Once that is pasted in I am going to say add page”. Alright once again you’ll notice that it says there is zero items in my cart. The reason why is because the load cookie action has not been executed. It order to execute it we need to test the agent and it will take me to the page. So I am going to click test agent and then start. You’ll notice that once I have done this it takes me to my cart I now have the two items and I can see my items here and I can then build my agent. So that about wraps up this particular example. I think at this time were going to take a couple of questions.
Excellent. Thanks Kenneth, this has been great. Let’s take a look at some of the questions that have been coming in. Here is the first question. Can you with cookie stores, use parameters in it?
Yeah, that is a great question. So let’s start with a fresh agent to answer this question. To answer this question flat out the answer is “yes” you can do this within the store ID inside the properties of a stored cookie. So let me show you this and it will make more sense. So when your putting in a parameter, I think your meaning you want to put in for example, let’s pretend you have multiple login credentials for a particular site. So you want the stored cookie to be able to go in and put in multiple logins of cookie sessions that you have already saved. So to do this is say “start a new agent” and were going to go into our load cookie store action. We will just select the email1 cookie and from this point I am going to go to my properties and then here is my store ID at the top left. It gives and ID number, however if you are putting in a parameter just like and parameter in Mozenda you put in between two % signs. You will need to have a data list that is attached to this agent that has the multiple usernames and passwords you wish to put in. So for this example I have a data list of the username and passwords of these cookies and they were called email. So I am going to put in my parameter called email. This will put each individual username and password into the particular website you are wishing to log into. So you save it and then you would add load new page that would take you to the destination page, similar to what we were doing before but this time you have the parameter. Then you would test the agent to make sure it was working.
I don’t want to go into too much detail on this on the webinar but if you have questions on this you can call support or your technical consultant and we can go into more detail and show you how this works how this works in the web console. The idea is that it is possible and this is how you would do it from the properties and store ID.
Thanks Kenneth. Let’s see here lets take a look at these questions. Here’s a question. Does the cookie stores affect your storage at all?
Yeah that is a great question. So the cookie stores does store a section or packs your data inside your data inside the web console. So, yes it does affect but it is not affect for you to notice.
Here is a great question. How do you know if your cookies expire?
Great. So there is not an exact answer to this but the best way is if your error handling settings is set properly inside your web console the agent will error out. You may see an element not found error but this this element not found will not be from the load cookies, it will be from your first action in the load page. So going back to the screen here I have my load cookies just like a lot of the other sites where were have a load cookies and then a load new page with some sort of URL attached to it. Then on page 2 we were able to see that we have an action here. So typically what you would see is an element not found on the first capture called action. So reason it wouldn’t be able to find this action because the cookies expired.
Excellent. Well I believe that is all the time we have for questions. Thank you for joining us and thank you for being a Mozenda customer. If you have questions feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help you. You can get a training or call support and we will get those questions answered for you. So thanks for watching and we will see you on the next webinar.