Web scraping is a technique to fetch data from websites. While surfing on the web, many websites don’t allow the user to save data for personal use. One way is to manually copy-paste the data, which both tedious and time-consuming. Web Scraping is the automation of the data extraction process from websites. This event is done with the help of web scraping software known as web scrapers. They automatically load and extract data from the websites based on user requirements. These can be custom-built to work for one site or can be configured to work with any website.
In Python, BeautifulSoap and Scrappy Crawler library are mostly used for web scraping. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two libraries.
BeautifulSoup is the most popular Python library which helps in parsing HTML or XML documents into a tree structure to find and extract data from the web pages. It extracts all the nasty things in the form of a tree and later helps us to use data in the form of dictionaries. This tool features a simple, pythonic interface and automatic encoding conversion to make it easy to work with website data. It is very easy to learn and master and has good comprehensive documentation which helps to learn things easily.
This module does not come inbuilt with Python. To install it type the below command in the terminal.
pip install BeautifulSoup4
Extracting from URL:
- Easy for beginners to learn and master in web scrapping.
- It has good community support to figure out the issue.
- It has good comprehensive documentation.
- It has an external python dependency.
Scrapy is one of the most powerful libraries. It’s an open-source collaborative framework for extracting the data from the websites that we need. Its performance is fast. Scrapy provides built-in support for extracting data from HTML or XML sources using CSS expression and XPath expressions.
Scrapy is actually a complete web scraper framework. You can give Scrapy a root URL to start scrapping, then you can specify how many URLs you want to crawl and fetch, etc.
pip install scrapy
- It is easily extensible.
- It has built-in support for extracting data.
- It has very fast speed compared to other libraries.
- It is both memory and CPU efficient.
- You can also build robust and extensive applications.
- Has strong community support.
- It has light documentation for beginners.
Table of Difference between BeautifulSoup and Scrapy crawler:
|It is a library.||It is a complete framework.|
|It is pretty slow to perform a certain task||It can do things quickly because of its built-in feature|
|It is best for small projects.||A better choice for large projects with complexities.|
|It is the best choice for beginners to start with.||Scrapy is comparatively more complex than BeautifulSoup.|
|The developer’s community of it is comparatively weak.||The developer’s community of Scrapy is stronger and vast.|
|It is considered as a parser.||It is considered as a spider.|
If you are dealing with a complex scraping operation that requires huge speed and complexities, then you should prefer Scrapy and if you’re new to programming and want to work with web scraping projects then Beautiful Soup is good as you can easily learn it and able to perform the operations very quickly.
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