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rvestvslxml

MIT 17 1 1,455
629.3 thousand (month) Nov 22 2014 1.0.4(1 year, 7 months ago)
2,562 12 19 BSD-3-Clause
5.2.1(3 days ago) Dec 13 2022 85.1 million (month)

rvest is a popular R library for web scraping and parsing HTML and XML documents. It is built on top of the xml2 and httr libraries and provides a simple and consistent API for interacting with web pages.

One of the main advantages of using rvest is its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a number of functions that make it easy to extract information from web pages, even for those who are not familiar with web scraping. The html_nodes and html_node functions allow you to select elements from an HTML document using CSS selectors, similar to how you would select elements in JavaScript.

rvest also provides functions for interacting with forms, including html_form, set_values, and submit_form functions. These functions make it easy to navigate through forms and submit data to the server, which can be useful when scraping sites that require authentication or when interacting with dynamic web pages.

rvest also provides functions for parsing XML documents. It includes xml_nodes and xml_node functions, which also use CSS selectors to select elements from an XML document, as well as xml_attrs and xml_attr functions to extract attributes from elements.

Another advantage of rvest is that it provides a way to handle cookies, so you can keep the session alive while scraping a website, and also you can handle redirections with handle_redirects

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

Highlights


low-levelfast

Example Use


library("rvest")

# Rvest can use basic HTTP client to download remote HTML:
tree <- read_html("http://webscraping.fyi/lib/r/rvest")
# or read from string:
tree <- read_html('
<div class="products">
  <a href="/product/1">Cat Food</a>
  <a href="/product/2">Dog Food</a>
</div>
')

# to parse HTML trees with rvest we use r pipes (the %>% symbol) and html_element function:
# we can use css selectors:
print(tree %>% html_element(".products>a") %>% html_text())
# "[1] "\nCat Food\nDog Food\n""

# or XPath:
print(tree %>% html_element(xpath="//div[@class='products']/a") %>% html_text())
# "[1] "\nCat Food\nDog Food\n""

# Additionally rvest offers many quality of life functions:
# html_text2 - removes trailing and leading spaces and joins values
print(tree %>% html_element("div") %>% html_text2())
# "[1] "Cat Food Dog Food""

# html_attr - selects element's attribute:
print(tree %>% html_element("div") %>% html_attr('class'))
# "products"
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"

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