Homework 6: Server-side Scripting Solution

$35.00 $30.80


  1. Objectives


  • Get experience with the Python programming language.
  • Get experience with Google News API.
  • Get experience using a JSON parser in Python.


  • Get experience using Flask and Django in Python.
  • Getting hands-on experience in GCP, AWS or Azure.


1.1 Cloud Exercise

  • The backend of this homework must be implemented in the cloud on GCP, AWS or Azure using Python.


  • See homework 5 for installation of either one of these platforms. You only have to select one platform to implement your backend.


  • See the hints (section 3) at the bottom, a lot of reference material is given to you.


  • For Python and Flask kickstart please refer to our updated Lecture 12 slides on class website.


  • You must refer to grading guidelines, the video, the specs and Piazza. Styling is graded this time and the points breakup is mentioned in guidelines.


  • The link to the video is: <<<<< video link >>>>




  1. Description


In this exercise, you are asked to create a webpage that allows you to search for news information using the Google News API and the results will be displayed in card format. The Google News API is documented here:






2.1. Description of the Home Page



A user first opens a page, called index.html (or any valid web page name), where they can read top headlines provided by the Google News API along with specific headlines from CNN and Fox News. The top headlines are displayed in a sliding format (Figure 1). The top headlines from CNN (Figure 2) and Fox News (Figure 3) are displayed in a card format. A word cloud for frequently used words is displayed as shown in Figure 1.






You need to use Flask Python framework to make all the API calls. Using xmlhttprequest or any other JavaScript calls for anything other than calling your own backend will lead to a 4-point penalty.


Define routing endpoints and make your API call from the python backend. The recommended tutorial for Flask and more importantly, routing, can be found at the following link:





To initialize the Google News API client in Python, use this function call:


newsapi = NewsApiClient(api_key=[API_KEY])


The function call to request the news top headlines can be coded in Python as in the following example:



newsapi.get_top_headlines(q=‘bitcoin’, sources=’bbc-news,the-verge ’, category=’business’, language=’en’, country=‘us’)


The URL that will be generated by the Python Client Library looks as follows:





The process to create your API key is explained in section 3.1. When constructing the python request required to obtain the homepage news, you need to provide three parameters:


  • The first parameter is your API_KEY that you create in section 3.1 for initializing the client


  • The second parameter is the news sourceyou want the headlines from. For the generic case, there is no source to be used. For CNN and Fox News, the source parameter values should be ‘cnn’ and



  • The maximum number of articles to be returned by the API per page are to be restricted using the ‘page_size’attribute in the client request above and restricting it to 30 articles per page


The response of this Python request is a JSON-formatted object. Figure 4 shows a sample response from the request. You need to parse this JSON object and extract some fields as required. The data for the slides and the card layouts is from the corresponding JSON structure as shown in Figure 5.




























Figure 4: Sample JSON response from Google News API’s top-headlines endpoint

















Figure 5: Sample JSON response from Google News API for slide and card layout


Slide/Card Data Data from Google News API response JSON
Image The value of key “urlToImage”
Title The value of key “title”
Description The value of key “description”

Table 1: Mapping JSON data and card display


All news articles are clickable and open the actual news article on a new tab using the URL returned in the “url” key of the JSON structure above.


NOTE: The headlines in the slide are limited to 5 headline articles but NOT necessarily the first 5 headline results, but the first 5 that have all keys (author, description, title, url, urlToImage, publishedAt and source with its inner keys) present. The same applies for the card format for CNN and Fox News (4 each).









For the word cloud, you need to find the top 30 frequent words from the title of the news article sorted from most frequent to least frequent words. This list of words should NOT contain stopwords. You can download the list of stopwords from the following link:




Please download the “stopwords_en.txt” file for the homework. To display the list of frequent words, the d3-cloud library is to be used. The following links should suffice in helping you display the word cloud:







The tabs at the left of the home screen – Google News and Search – have a hover effect as shown in Figure 6 and in the video.

















Figure 6: Hovering on Search while current selection is Google News


Clicking the search button displays a search form as shown in Figure 7.














Figure 7: Search Form














2.2. Description of the Search Form



The search form (Figure 7) consists of the following fields:


  • Keyword: A required field that cannot be empty. It is an edit box the allows to enterkeywords for searching news about the keyword. The default value is empty.


  • From: A required field for the date from which the articles are to be fetched. The defaultvalue when the form is initially displayed is the date 1 week ago from the current date.


  • To: A required field for the date to which the articles are to be fetched. The default valueis the current date.


  • Category: A drop down to select among categories that are given to you in section 3.3.Default selection is all.


  • Source: A dynamically changing drop down that changes depending on the selected Default selection is all.


  • Search button: To allow search functionality only when a keyword is present. The inputfield validation is done on clicking the search button and appropriate errors need to be displayed. Missing fields should generate alerts as shown in Figure 8. An example of valid input is shown in Figure 9.


  • Clear button: Resets the form to default values and clears search results.












Figure 8: Error message for missing keyword














Figure 9: Valid Input example


Another error condition is if the user input time is not in the mm/dd/yyyy date format or the from date is after the to date as like From – 02/11/2020 and To – 02/07/2020. The error message is shown in Figure 10.



















Figure 10: Alert to show incorrect time


NOTE: The dates can be generated using the Date class in JavaScript. While the formatting to display is mm/dd/yyyy, it is up to you to convert it to any format you like for handling it in your code.


Figure 11 and Figure 12 show the error conditions when the default values of a date are removed completely and are missing some part of the date, respectively.












Figure 11: Date is missing completely












Figure 12: Date is missing the day and year component


The dropdown menu for sources is updated dynamically using the sources endpoint of the Google News API.


sources = newsapi.get_sources()



Anytime a category is selected in the search form, a call is made to fetch all sources available for that category. The URL that will be generated looks like this:










The parameters you need to use for the above request are:


  • API_KEY: The API_KEY generated for the Google News API.


  • category: The category selected from the dropdown in the search form.


  • language: The language parameter will always have the value ‘en’.


  • country: The country parameter will always have the value‘us’.




2.3. Displaying Results



In this section, we explain how to use the form data to construct a Python request to the Google News API and display the result in your page.


The JavaScript in your file will use the keyword, date from, date to and the source values to construct a URL and send it to your Python endpoint where the request to query the Google News API’s “everything” endpoint is made. The URL has the following format





This is an example call using the Python client library:


newsapi.get_everything(q=’bitcoin’, sources=’bbc-news,the-verge’,


domains=’bbc.co.uk,techcrunch.com’, from_param=’2017-12-01′, to=’2017-12-12′, language=’en’, sort_by=’relevancy’, page=2)


The function call will require the following parameters:


  • API_KEY: Your API_KEY to initialize the API client.


  • q: The query keyword retrieved from the search form.


  • from_param: The dateFrom retrieved from the search form as start date.


  • to: The dateTo which the articles are to be fetched. Retrieved from the search form.


  • sources: The selected source from the drop down in your search form.


  • language: The language parameter willALWAYS have the value of ‘en’.


  • page_size: Restrict to 30 articles per page retrieved.


  • sort_by: Sort the results by the time they were“publishedAt”.


The data returned from the API call is to be displayed as shown in Figure 14.


The JSON data returned has the same mapping as shown in Table 1 on page 4. Only the articles that have author, title, description, url, urlToImage, publishedAt, source and inner key of source







(name) keys present with a non-empty value are to be displayed, if any attribute is missing or empty or blank, do not display it to a user.


If more than 5 articles returned in the results, you should display the first 5 articles along with the Show More button underneath. When clicking the button, a maximum of 10 more articles should be displayed and the Show More button changes to Show Less as shown in Figure 15. After displaying the Show More button, at the end of all results (upto 15) there will be a Show Less button clicking which will again display just 5 results.


NOTE: The Google News API has a restriction on how far back in time it allows the start date for a search to be. As a result of this, you are expected to handle this error case by displaying the error message returned by the API, as shown in Figure 13.















Figure 13: Google News API returns this error






























Figure 14: Search Results example

































Figure 15: Show More changes to Show Less


The card descriptions need to be truncated with an ellipsis (“triple dots”) without cutting out any word in the middle so as to only span a SINGLE line. As can be seen in the reference video and in Figure 16, on hovering over the card, the styling changes as shown.
















Figure 16: Card styling difference on hover


Each card in the display is clickable and results in additional information being displayed as shown in Figure 17.











Figure 17: Expanding the result card








The mapping between the information populated in the result and the JSON object is shown in Table 2.


Slide/Card Data Data from Google News API JSON response
Image The value of key “urlToImage”
Title The value of key “title”
Description The value of key “description”
Author The value of key “author”
Source The value of key “name” inside the key “source”
Date The value of key “publishedAt” converted to the
  format of mm/dd/yyyy
Link to Original Post The value of key “url”

Table 2: Mapping between result card and JSON object


The “See Original Post” hyperlink opens the original post in a new tab. The close button (the “X”) at the top right corner of the card returns the card to the collapsed state as shown below.











Figure 18: After pressing the X button in Figure 16




2.4. Saving Previous Inputs



In addition to displaying the results, your page should maintain the provided values to display the current result. For example, if one searches for “Keyword: Book, From: 02/03/2020, To: 02/10/2020”, one should see what was provided in the search form and the corresponding results. It follows that you need to retain the whole search box/input fields and buttons even while displaying results/errors. This “saving” happens only when the window is open. You do NOT need a database/Local Storage or any persistence mechanism.























  1. Hints



3.1. How to get Google News API Key



Go to https://newsapi.org/docs.


Click on “get API key”. You should fill out the form as shown in Figure 19. The API Key (Google News API key) will be displayed. Copy this key as you will use it in all the Google News web service API calls.






























Figure 19: Google News Register for API Key Form


3.2 Deploy Python file to the cloud (GAE/AWS/Azure)



You should use the domain name of the GAE/AWS/Azure service you created in HW #5 to make the request. For example, if your GAE/AWS/Azure server domain is called


example.appspot.com or example.elasticbeanstalk.com or example.azurewebsites.net, the following links will be generated:


GAE – http://example.appspot.com/index.html


AWS – http://example.elasticbeanstalk.com/index.html


Azure – http://example.azurewebsites.net/index.html







example in the above URLs will be replaced by your choice of subdomain from the cloud service



3.3 List of Category for dropdown



You should these categories in the respective dropdown in the Search form:


  • All


  • Business


  • Entertainment


  • General


  • Health


  • Science


  • Sports


  • Technology


3.4 Useful Links



  1. For Google News API







  1. For Word Cloud




  1. For Stopwords



  1. For Flask/Python Backend



E Styling hints










  1. Files to Submit



In your course homework page, you should update the Homework 6 link to refer to your new initial web search page for this exercise (for example, index.html). Your files must be hosted on GAE, AWS or Azure cloud service. Graders will verify that this link is indeed pointing to one of the cloud services.


Also, submit your source code file to the GitHub Classroom repository so that it can be graded and compared to all other students’ source code via the MOSS code comparison tool.




  • All discussions and explanations in Piazza related to this homework are part of the homework description and grading guidelines. So please review all Piazza threads, before finishing the assignment. If there is a conflict between Piazza and this description and/or the grading guidelines, Piazza always rules.


  • You should not use JQueryor Bootstrap for Homework 6.


  • You should not call the Google News APIs directly from JavaScript, bypassing the Python proxy. Implementing any one of them in JavaScript instead of Python will result in a 4-point penalty.