Semalt: Intro To Web Scraping With Scrapy And BeautifulSoup
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from the net. Programmers and developers write special apps to download web pages and extract data from them. Sometimes even the best web scraping techniques and software cannot guarantee good results. So, it is impossible for us to extract data from a large number of sites manually. Thus, we need BeautifulSoup and Scrapy to get our work done.
BeautifulSoup (HTML parser):
BeautifulSoup acts as a powerful HTML parser. This Python package is suitable for parsing both XML and HTML documents, including non-disclosed tags. It creates a parse tree for parsed pages and can be used to extract data from HTML files. BeautifulSoup is available for both Python 2.6 and Python 3. It's been around for quite some time and can handle multiple data scraping tasks at a time. It mainly extracts information from HTML documents, PDF files, images and video files. To install BeautifulSoup for Python 3, you just need to insert a particular code and get your work done in no time.
You can use the Requests library to get an URL and pull HTML out of it. You should remember that it will appear in the form of strings. Then, you have to pass HTML to BeautifulSoup. It transforms it into in a readable form. Once the data is fully scraped, you can download it directly to your hard disk for offline uses. Some websites and blogs provide APIs, and you can use these APIs to access their web documents easily.
Scrapy is a famous framework used for web crawling and data scraping tasks. You will have to install OpenSSL and lxml to get benefited from this Python library. With Scrapy, you can easily extract data from both basic and dynamic websites. To get started, you just need to open an URL and change the location of directories. You should make sure that the scraped data is stored in its own database. You can also download it to your hard drive within seconds. Scrapy supports CSS expressions and XPath. It helps parse HTML documents conveniently.
This software automatically recognizes the data patterns of a particular page, records data, removes unnecessary words, and scrapes it as per your requirements. Scrapy can be used to extract information from both basic and dynamic sites. It is also used to scrape data from APIs directly. It is known for its machine learning technology and ability to scrape hundreds of web page in a minute.
BeautifulSoup and Scrapy are suitable for enterprises, programmers, web developers, freelance writers, webmasters, journalists, and researchers. You just need to have basic programming skills to get benefited from these Python frameworks. If you don't have programming or coding knowledge, you can download Scrapy to your hard disk and get it installed instantly. Once activated, this tool will extract information from a large number of web pages, and you don't need to scrape data manually. You also don't need to have programming skills.