This instructable contains instructions on how to set up and use a Perl script I wrote for Steveastrouk to allow him to download all of the messages in his Instructables inbox and open them in Thunderbird or any email client that can handle .eml files.

Once you've used the script you'll be able to refer to them while offline and organise your messages by date, sender, title and shoe size and never again worry again that Robot will lose your messages!

While I've tried to make it as easy to use as possible, this does require some installation and setting up of Perl and some modules. It's not really easy, but I've tried to explain how to use it as best I can and a relatively competent computer user should be able to figure out any problems. If you get it right first time it should take you no longer than 10 minutes to set up, and a second or two per message to download them.

The script uses the modules LWP and Mechanize to log in to your instructables account and then fetch web pages and then Perl regular expressions to separate out the useful content. Even if you don't want to download your entire inbox it might prove useful to see how to use Perl to scrape web pages for information.

Step 1: Installing Perl and Appropriate Modules

To use this Perl script you need an installation of Perl and the modules LWP and Mechanize. All of these should be free, if you're asked to pay for them you're doing something wrong.

I recommend ActivePerl for Windows. I've never used Perl on a Mac or Linux so I can't help you there. If you have success running this script on either, please let me know so I can update this with how you did it.

So you will need:

ActivePerl - an easy to install version of Perl
LWP - a Perl module used for fetching web pages
Mechanize - a Perl module that uses LWP and expands on it

Instructions for installing Perl modules are available here on cpan.org. Some users have had real problems with installing these and getting mechanize working, dependencies etc. All I can say is cross your fingers and toes, I had no problems so hopefully you wont either.
Can we make it in LWP?
Oooof. It's been a while since I wrote it. IIRC it uses LWP _AND_ Mechanize. There was a problem with logging in that I couldn't use JUST LWP for it.
Okay :) I am new in Perl. Completed reading "Learning Perl". Now want to learn something related to web development. Your tool for example is exactly what I like to make. Can you guide me what should I learn next in Perl?
Find a fairly simple web page and make sure you can use Perl to grab the source code. Then use regex to pick some information out of it.<br><br>Half the battle is first understanding the web page, Instructables is more complicated than a lot of sites as it uses so my javascript.<br><br>So I'd suggest you find your favourite site, use LWP to grab the html then regular expressions to parse out an interesting detail. Then progress to forms or grabbing and processing/saving pictures.
Okay, thanks a lot :)<br>Do you recommend any source to learn Perl?
Nah, I just think of a problem I want to solve with Perl then start thinking about how I'll do it, then if I get stuck I google for a more specific tutorial.
Okay, thanks for guiding, have a good day! :)
You tried it? It was written quite a long time ago now and if the Instructables HTML has changed since then it *may* not still work.
I will tonight when I get home, I'll see what patches may need to be made and report back
Very cool project in deed. Thanks
Thanks, did you get it to work?<br><br>J
Awesome! I'd be interested to see how much load this put's on the Instructables servers.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Half your steps have no pictures, and you <i>still</i> got Featured! My, how standards are slipping among today's youth...
Shockin' huh! They should really have a word with whoever featured it ;)
That guy's new. We'll have a talk with him.
I reckon he featured it because the first picture was that excellent, it made up for the rest of the steps.
Very cool project; nice implementation! Rated...
. I just backed-up 321 PMs. Thanks!
Wa Hey ! Works for me. <br>Thanks<br>Steve

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