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xml2vsrvest

MIT 63 3 216
624.5 thousand (month) Apr 20 2015 1.3.6(9 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.

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

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)
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"

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