[R] rcurl and cookies

zubin binabina at bellsouth.net
Thu Sep 18 16:48:59 CEST 2008

Hello, need some help on using Rcurl to navigate a site and the use of 
session cookies.  I suspect the issue i am having presently is I am not 
handling session cookies properly. 

At a high level, in need to create a dataset for some analysis, my 
background is in using R for statistical work, I am very inexperienced 
in HTTP and XML type of coding.  Basically, like to use R for a mashup 
project I have.  Navigate to a web site, login, query some data, clean 
the data and create a date frame, navigate to another site, run some 
queries and append to the data frame.

I have determined that RCurl has all the necessary power to do the 
navigation and form submission, but I am struggling to get this to work. 
I have read the help articles around RCurl, but after days of trying, 
hitting a wall. 

Code so far:


txt2 <- postForm("http://www.dailyreportonline.com/siteLogin.asp",
       origin = "",
       queryDB = "",
       form_username = "zubin",
       form_password = "xxxx",
       form_save_login = "on",
       login = "Submit")

htmlTreeParse(txt2, asText = TRUE)

This successfully navigates to the site, but its not submitting the form 
information and logging in, something is not completely correct. I 
contacted an expert and they indicated that most likely I am not 
handling session cookies properly.

Does someone have example RCurl code that submits a form to a site using 
session cookies, keeps a session open and then performs a sequence of 
operations?  I think that may help me learn what i need to do.  Rcurl 
seems very powerful.  I will need to keep a session open as i login, 
navigate, submit another form within the site and retrieve data.
I most likely may need some formal help, so any students familiar with 
HTTP, XML, and R wanting to earn some money, please contact me.


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