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xml2vsbeautifulsoup

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675.4 thousand (month) Apr 20 2015 1.3.6(7 months ago)
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The xml2 package is a binding to libxml2, making it easy to work with HTML and XML from R. The API is somewhat inspired by jQuery.

xml2 can be used to parse HTML documents using XPath selectors and is a successor to R's XML package with a few improvements:

  • xml2 takes care of memory management for you. It will automatically free the memory used by an XML document as soon as the last reference to it goes away.
  • xml2 has a very simple class hierarchy so don't need to think about exactly what type of object you have, xml2 will just do the right thing.
  • More convenient handling of namespaces in Xpath expressions - see xml_ns() and xml_ns_strip() to get started.

beautifulsoup is a Python library for pulling data out of HTML and XML files. It creates parse trees from the source code that can be used to extract data from HTML, which is useful for web scraping. With beautifulsoup, you can search, navigate, and modify the parse tree. It sits atop popular Python parsers like lxml and html5lib, allowing users to try out different parsing strategies or trade speed for flexibility.

beautifulsoup has a number of useful methods and attributes that can be used to extract and manipulate data from an HTML or XML document. Some of the key features include:

  • Searching the parse tree
    You can search the parse tree using the various search methods that beautifulsoup provides, such as find(), find_all(), and select(). These methods take various arguments to search for specific tags, attributes, and text, and return a list of matching elements.
  • Navigating the parse tree
    You can navigate the parse tree using the various navigation methods that beautifulsoup provides, such as next_sibling, previous_sibling, next_element, previous_element, parent, and children. These methods allow you to move up, down, and around the parse tree.
  • Modifying the parse tree
    You can modify the parse tree using the various modification methods that beautifulsoup provides, such as append(), extend(), insert(), insert_before(), and insert_after(). These methods allow you to add new elements to the parse tree, or to change the position of existing elements.
  • Accessing tag attributes
    You can access the attributes of a tag using the attrs property. This property returns a dictionary of the tag's attributes and their values.
  • Accessing tag text
    You can access the text within a tag using the string property. This property returns the text as a string, with any leading or trailing whitespace removed.

With the above feature one can easily extract data out of HTML or XML files. It is widely used in web scraping and other data extraction projects.

It also has features for parsing XML files, special methods for dealing with HTML forms, pretty printing HTML and a few other functionalities.

Highlights


css-selectorsdsl-selectorshttp2

Example Use


library("xml2")
x <- read_xml("<foo> <bar> text <baz/> </bar> </foo>")
x

xml_name(x)
xml_children(x)
xml_text(x)
xml_find_all(x, ".//baz")

h <- read_html("<html><p>Hi <b>!")
h
xml_name(h)
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

# this is our HTML page:
html = """
<head>
  <title>Hello World!</title>
</head>
<body>
  <div id="product">
    <h1>Product Title</h1>
    <p>paragraph 1</p>
    <p>paragraph2</p>
    <span class="price">$10</span>
  </div>
</body>
"""

soup = BeautifulSoup(html)

# we can iterate using dot notation:
soup.head.title
"Hello World"

# or use find method to recursively find matching elements:
soup.find(class_="price").text
"$10"

# the selected elements can be modified in place:
soup.find(class_="price").string = "$20"

# beautifulsoup also supports CSS selectors:
soup.select_one("#product .price").text
"$20"

# bs4 also contains various utility functions like HTML formatting
print(soup.prettify())
"""
<html>
 <head>
  <title>
   Hello World!
  </title>
 </head>
 <body>
  <div id="product">
   <h1>
    Product Title
   </h1>
   <p>
    paragraph 1
   </p>
   <p>
    paragraph2
   </p>
   <span class="price">
    $20
   </span>
  </div>
 </body>
</html>
"""

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