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.
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
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()) # " "\nCat Food\nDog Food\n"" # or XPath: print(tree %>% html_element(xpath="//div[@class='products']/a") %>% html_text()) # " "\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()) # " "Cat Food Dog Food"" # html_attr - selects element's attribute: print(tree %>% html_element("div") %>% html_attr('class')) # "products"