How do you programmatically fill in a form and 'POST' a web page?


Question

Using C# and ASP.NET I want to programmatically fill in some values (4 text boxes) on a web page (form) and then 'POST' those values. How do I do this?

Edit: Clarification: There is a service (www.stopforumspam.com) where you can submit ip, username and email address on their 'add' page. I want to be able to create a link/button on my site's page that will fill in those values and submit the info without having to copy/paste them across and click the submit button.

Further clarification: How do automated spam bots fill out forms and click the submit button if they were written in C#?

1
32
8/25/2008 9:00:10 PM

Accepted Answer

You can see a sample of that here: http://en.csharp-online.net/HTTP_Post

Basically, the code will look something like this:

WebRequest req = WebRequest.Create("http://mysite/myform.aspx");
string postData = "item1=11111&item2=22222&Item3=33333";

byte[] send = Encoding.Default.GetBytes(postData);
req.Method = "POST";
req.ContentType = "application/x-www-form-urlencoded";
req.ContentLength = send.Length;

Stream sout = req.GetRequestStream();
sout.Write(send, 0, send.Length);
sout.Flush();
sout.Close();

WebResponse res = req.GetResponse();
StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(res.GetResponseStream());
string returnvalue = sr.ReadToEnd();
46
8/25/2008 9:01:37 PM

You can use the UploadValues method on WebClient - all it requires is passing a URL and a NameValueCollection. It is the easiest approach that I have found, and the MS documentation has a nice example:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/9w7b4fz7.aspx

Here is a simple version with some error handling:

var webClient = new WebClient();
Debug.Info("PostingForm: " + url);
try
{
     byte [] responseArray = webClient.UploadValues(url, nameValueCollection);
     return new Response(responseArray, (int) HttpStatusCode.OK);
}
catch (WebException e)
{
     var response = (HttpWebResponse)e.Response;
     byte[] responseBytes = IOUtil.StreamToBytes(response.GetResponseStream());
     return new Response(responseBytes, (int) response.StatusCode);
}  

The Response class is a simple wrapper for the response body and status code.


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