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Sauce Bot

Sauce Bot


This program is intended to scrape the UCLA Dining Halls menu daily and determine if selected food items are available in the dining halls. Users can add or remove food items.

User Commands

The bot is activated by messaging "!sauce bot [command]". Some example commands are given below

  • info lists a brief description of what saucebot can do
  • list returns a list of all food items that are being tracked
  • today gives all of the items in their respective dining halls that are available today
  • add [food item] or track [food item] adds a new item to be tracked. If the item hasn't been seen before, it cannot be added. If an item doesn't exactly match with found items, suggestions will be provided
  • remove [food item] takes an item off the list to be checked


Saucebot is a Flask webapp, intended for hosting on Google Cloud Platform with a PostgreSQL database. To set this up, create an App Engine instance on Google Cloud. In addition, you need to set up PostgreSQL, either on Google Cloud or on some other database host. Once that is done, you need to modify app.yaml to set the environment variables like follows

  DB_USER: "username"
  DB_PASSWORD: "password"
  DB_NAME: "database name"
  PSQL_CLOUD_INSTANCE: "project:region:database"

To set up the database, connect to the database and run the file sql/setup.sql. This will initialize the database to allow the server to properly function.

In addition, you need to create a GroupMe bot. Insert that bot and associated group id into the database with the command

INSERT INTO dining.groups (group_id, bot_id) 
VALUES ('group id here', 'bot id here');

Finally, you will need to set up an admin or cron user to run daily tasks. This can be done with the query

INSERT INTO auth.users (username, permission)
VALUES ('username', 'admin');

This will create a user with a UUID that can be found using the query

SELECT token FROM auth.users WHERE username = 'whatever username you entered';

Then configure your cron.yaml file for Google Cloud to be in the following format

- description: "scrape webpages"
  url: /internal/scrape/generate_new_menu_data?token=UUID of a user with cron or admin privileges
  schedule: every day 05:00
  timezone: US/Pacific

- description: "clear cached queries"
  url: /internal/db/clear_cache?token=UUID of a user with cron or admin privileges
  schedule: every 1 hours

- description: "send daily messages to subscribing groups"
  url: /internal/notify/today?token=UUID of a user with cron or admin privileges
  schedule: every day 06:00
  timezone: US/Pacific

This will ensure the proper scraping and notifications take place


If you want to contribute to Sauce Bot, you can check out some of the projects to do, or just submit your own code. Also, please report any issues you experience on the GitHub issues tab

Copyright Robert Geil 2019


A program to scrape UCLA dining's site and report to a GroupMe chat whenever white sauce pasta is being served







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