Browser requests to code

An amazing hack for turning web requests in your browser into reusable python code with a few clicks.

I learned this from Zachary Blackwood’s 2022 NormConf Talk.

Example: Get A List of Subway Restaurants With Python

  1. Go to in Google Chrome

  1. Open developer tools using Option + CMD + I

  2. Go the the network tab, and hit the clear button

  1. Type in a zipcode and search. Look for a network request that seems like it is getting data, in this case GetLocations.ashx... looks super promising.

  1. Right click on that particular event and select Copy -> Copy as Curl

  1. Go to and paste the curl command there.

Enjoy your python code that uses this otherwise undocumented API :)

Bonus: Parse The Response

You can parse the response data in a hacky way.

# run the code from, which will give you a `response` object.

>>> import json
... response_string = response.text
... json_string = response_string[response_string.index("(") +1:response_string.index('"AdditionalData":')-1]+'}'
... parsed_string = json.loads(json_string)
... stores = parsed_string['ResultData']

>>> stores
[{'LocationId': {'StoreNumber': 21809, 'SatelliteNumber': 0},
  'Address': {'Address1': '4888 NW Bethany Blvd',
   'Address2': 'Suite K-1',
   'Address3': 'Bethany Village Centre',
   'City': 'Portland',
   'StateProvCode': 'OR',
   'PostalCode': '97229',
   'CountryCode': 'US',
   'CountryCode3': 'USA'},
  'Geo': {'Latitude': 45.5548,
   'Longitude': -122.8358,
   'TimeZoneId': 'America/Los_Angeles',
   'CurrentUtcOffset': 0},
  'ListingNumber': 1,
  'OrderingUrl': '',
  'CateringUrl': '',
  'ExtendedProperties': None},

When to use this approach

This is great for adhoc things, but you probably want to use a headless browser and actually scrape the HTML if you want to do this in a repeatable way. But many times you want to do a one-off scrape, this isn’t so bad!