Easy HTML processing for the Julia langauge



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Your friendly neighborhood webscraping library.

Spiderman provides a jQuery/Jsoup inspired query language which sits on top of the excellent Gumbo.jl HTML parsing library.

Beta notice

Spiderman.jl is born of my having a bit of NLP fun using julia. It's essentially a slightly generalized form of the helper functions I found myself writing.

As such it currently only supports a few of the query types I intend version one to have. Specifically it only currently supports queries by tag name, class, and id. Extending it is relatively simple. If you do, you are strongly urged to add some tests, and send me a pull request :)


Fetch the Wikipedia homepage, parse it, and select the headlines from the "In the news" section.

using Spiderman

doc = Spiderman.http_get("http://en.wikipedia.org/")
news_headlines = text(select(css"#mp-itn b a", doc))

Get the current top stories from HackerNews (note HN has an API, so this is a somewhat silly example, but I've stuck with it because HN's html makes this somewhat more involved).

If you find yourself working with HTML like this, debugging your queries from IJulia, or on the console is higly recommended.

doc = Spiderman.http_get("https://news.ycombinator.com/")

scores = select(css".score", doc)
hrefs = parent(select(css".deadmark", doc))

items = []
for i=1:length(scores)
    score = parse(Int, replace(text(scores[i]), " points", ""))
    story_title = text(select(css"a", hrefs[i]))[1]
    story_href = getattr(select(css"a", hrefs[i])[1], "href")
    comment_href = getattr(select(css"a", parent(scores[i]))[end], "href")

    push!(items, (score, story_title, story_href, comment_href))

The css"foo" above works in much the same way as r"foo" does for julia regexes -- by using a macro call, the cost of repeatedly parsing the css query is removed from your loops and functions.

Spiderman's HTTP Client

Spiderman's httpclient is a wrapper around HTTPClient.jl (which in turn is a wrapper around libcurl). It automatically retries up to five times in the event of a 503 error, or a socket read timeout (both of which happen with distressing frequency when scraping content from the open web)

If that's not to your taste there's no need to fret: all of Spiderman's dom query and manipulation functions are built on top of Gumbo.jl's datatypes, if you have a preferred http client, or have already saved the html in question to disk, just use that instead:

using Gumbo
using Spiderman

doc = parsehtml(html)
news_headlines = text(select(css"#mp-itn b a", doc))

First Commit


Last Touched

5 months ago


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