Projects I Won't Do: Driving Test Checker

Projects I Won't Do: Driving Test Checker

This one's a bit of a hostage to fortune, as I might end up doing it if I fail my test today.

The issue is this: it's an absolute pain getting a driving test booking at the moment. There's a massive backlog, you have to log into the booking system at 6am on a Monday to get a test appointment for 4-6 months out, then you bring it forward by (if you're lucky) getting a swap via your instructor, or if you're not, by lurking on the booking system for cancellations. The booking system is extremely block-happy—it just straight-up will not let me use Arc to browse it, for some reason—so this can take a while.

Plus, lurking on the booking system is a bit of a faff, so there are a load of apps that do it for you for, frankly, silly money—£5-10 a week for some of them. And what's the app actually doing? It's literally just loading and re-loading the booking system page behind the scenes, then clicking to grab any slots that pop up (which is seems like the block-happy booking system is... pretty much just ignoring? It certainly doesn't seem to stop them from working). Parasitising on and exacerbating the effects of the failures of government agencies is a pretty rum thing to be charging that kind of money for, imo.

But it occurred to me: this is something you can just make a Chrome extension to do. Refresh the page—maybe at an random interval, just so it doesn't flag you as a bot or whatever—then when the page has loaded, run a query selector to see if there are any bookable slots, then either have it click the first one (again possibly with a certain amount of random delay) or trigger an alert to get the attention of the user. Granted, this is most useful if you're sitting in front of a desktop computer all day, but for most of the week, I am. Unlike many of my other projects, this is something I could actually just do—I have made Chrome extensions before, the actual mechanics are very simple—but it always seems to find itself at the bottom of the pile. Maybe if I fail this time—but if not, I invite anyone else to have a go, it would be a genuinely good and useful thing to do.

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