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lxmlvsparsel

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lxml is a low-level XML and HTML tree processor. It's used by many other libraries such as parsel or beautifulsoup for higher level HTML parsing.

One of the main features of lxml is its speed and efficiency.
It is built on top of the libxml2 and libxslt C libraries, which are known for their high performance and low memory footprint. This makes lxml well-suited for processing large and complex XML and HTML documents.

One of the key components of lxml is the ElementTree API, which is modeled after the ElementTree API from the Python standard library's xml module. This API provides a simple and intuitive way to access and manipulate the elements and attributes of an XML or HTML document. It also provides a powerful and flexible Xpath engine that allows you to select elements based on their names, attributes, and contents.

Another feature of lxml is its support for parsing and creating XML documents using the XSLT standard. The lxml library provides a powerful and easy-to-use interface for applying XSLT stylesheets to XML documents, which can be used to transform and convert XML documents into other formats, such as HTML, PDF, or even other XML formats.

For web scraping it's best to use other higher level libraries that use lxml like parsel or beautifulsoup

parsel is a library for parsing HTML and XML using selectors, similar to beautifulsoup. It is built on top of the lxml library and allows for easy extraction of data from HTML and XML files using selectors, similar to how you would use CSS selectors in web development. It is a light-weight library which is specifically designed for web scraping and parsing, so it is more efficient and faster than beautifulsoup in some use cases.

Some of the key features of parsel include:

  • CSS selector & XPath selector support:
    Two most common html parsing path languages are both supported in parsel. This allows selecting attributes, tags, text and complex matching rules that use regular expressions or XPath functions.
  • Modifying data:
    parsel allows you to modify the contents of an element, remove elements or add new elements to a document.
  • Support for both HTML and XML:
    parsel supports both HTML and XML documents and you can use the same selectors for both formats.

It is easy to use and less verbose than beautifulsoup, so it's quite popular among the developers who are working with Web scraping projects and parse data from large volume of web pages.

Highlights


low-levelfast
css-selectorsxpath-selectors

Example Use


from lxml import etree

# 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>
"""

tree = tree.fromstring(html)

# for parsing, LXML only supports XPath selectors:
tree.xpath('//span[@class="price"]')[0].text
"$10"
from parsel import Selector

# 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>
"""

selector = Selector(html)

# we can use CSS selectors:
selector.css("#product .price::text").get()
"$10"

# or XPath:
selector.xpath('//span[@class="price"]').get()
"$10"

# or get all matching elements:
print(selector.css("#product p::text").getall())
["paragraph 1", "paragraph2"]

# parsel also comes with utility methods like regular expression parsing:
selector.xpath('//span[@class="price"]').re("\d+")
["10"]

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