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Downloading Files from Web using Perl

  • Last Updated : 11 Feb, 2021

Perl is a multi-purpose interpreted language that is often implemented using Perl scripts that can be saved using the .pl extension and run directly using the terminal or command prompt. It is a stable, cross-platform language that was developed primarily with strong capabilities in terms of text manipulation and modifying, and extracting information from web pages. It is under active development and open source. It finds major use in web development, system administration, and even GUI development due to its capability of working with HTML, XML, and other mark-up languages. It is prominently used along with the Web as it can handle encrypted web data in addition to E-Commerce transactions. 

In this article, we will be seeing different approaches to download web pages as well as images using Perl scripts.

Downloading Web Pages using Perl

Downloading a Web Page using the system command wget

In this approach, we write a sub routine where a URL is passed to a system command. The variable stores the content of the web page in the raw HTML form. We then return these contents.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the strict pragma
use strict;
  
# using the warnings pragma
# to generate warnings in case of incorrect
# code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version 
use 5.010;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getWebPage {
  
    # variable to store the URL
    my $url = 'http://www.google.com/';
      
    # variable to store the contents of the 
    # web page
    my $webpage = system 
    "wget --output-document=- $url";
      
    # returning the contents of the web page
    return $webpage;
}
  
# printing user friendly message
say "the contents of the downloaded web page : ";
  
# calling the sub routine
getWebPage();

Output:



the contents of the downloaded web page :
<raw HTML web page>

Downloading a Web Page using the system command curl

This approach is exactly the same as above, the only difference being that here the system command used is “curl” in place of “wget”.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the strict pragma
use strict;
  
# using the warnings pragma to 
# generate warnings in case of 
# erroneous code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getWebPage {
  
    # variable to store the URL
    my $url = 'http://www.google.com/';
      
    # variable to store the contents of the
    # downloaded web page
    my $downloadedPage = system "curl $url";
      
    # returning the contents using the variable
    return $downloadedPage;
}
  
# displaying a user friendly message
say "the contents of the web page : ";
  
# calling the sub routine
getWebPage();

Output:

the contents of the downloaded web page :
<raw HTML web page>

Downloading a Web Page using the LWP::Simple Module

LWP::Simple is a module in Perl which provides a get() that takes the URL as a parameter and returns the body of the document. It returns undef if the requested URL cannot be processed by the server.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the strict pragma
use strict;
  
# using the warnings pragma to
# generate warnings in case of 
# erroneous codes
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# calling the LWP::Simple module
use LWP::Simple;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getWebPage {
  
    # variable to store the URL 
    my $url = 'http://www.google.com';
      
    # passing the URL to the get function
    # of LWP::Simple module
    my $downloadedPage = get $url;
      
    # printing the contents of the web page
    say $downloadedPage;
}
  
# displaying a user friendly message
say 'the contents of the web page are : ';
  
#calling the sub routine
getWebPage();

Output:

the contents of the downloaded web page :
<raw HTML web page>

Downloading a Web Page using HTTP::Tiny

HTTP::Tiny is a simple HTTP/1.1 client which implies it is used to get, put, delete, head (basic HTTP actions). It is used for performing simple requests without the overhead of a large framework. First, an HTTP variable is instantiated using the new operator. Next, we get the code for the request by passing the URL in the get method. On successful code, we get the length and the content of the web page at the address of the specified URL. In the case of an unsuccessful code, we display the appropriate message and mention the reasons for the failure of connection.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the warnings pragma to
# generate warnings in case of 
# erroneous code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# calling the HTTP::Tiny module
use HTTP::Tiny;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getWebPage{
  
    # variable to store the URL
    my $url = 'http://www.google.com/';
      
    # instantiating the HTTP variable
    my $httpVariable = HTTP::Tiny->new;
      
    # storing the response using the get
    # method
    my $response = $httpVariable->get($url);
      
    # checking if the code returned successful
    if ($response -> {success}){
      
        # specifying the length of the
        # web page content using the 
        # length keyword
        say 'the length of the web page : ';
        my $length = length $response->{content};
        say $length;
          
        # displaying the contents of the webpage
        say 'the contents of the web page are : ';
        my $downloadedPage = $response->{content};
        say $downloadedPage;
    }
      
    # logic for when the code is
    # unsuccessful
    else{
      
        # displating the reason for failed
        # request
        say "Failed to establish connection : 
        $response->{status}.$response->{reasons}";
    }
}
  
# calling the sub routine
getWebPage();

Output:



the length of the web page : 
15175
the contents of the web page are :
<html code of the web page>

Downloading multiple web pages using HTTP::Tiny

The approach for the download of multiple web pages using HTTP::Tiny is the same as mentioned above. The only modification is that here the URL of all the web pages are stored in an array and we loop through the array displaying the contents of each web page.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the warnings pragma
# to generate warnings for
# erroneous code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# calling the HTTP::Tiny module
use HTTP::Tiny;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getWebPages{
  
    # instantiating the HTTP client
    my $httpVariable = HTTP::Tiny->new;
      
    # array of URLs
    my @urls = ('http://www.google.com/',
    );
      
    # start of foreach loop to
    # loop through the array of URLs
    foreach my $singleURL (@urls){
      
        # dsiplaying user friendly message
        say 'downloading web page...';
          
        # variable to store the response
        my $response = $httpVariable->
        get($singleURL);
          
        # logic for successful connection
        if ($response->{success}){
            say $singleURL.
            " downloaded successfully";
              
            # displaying the length of
            # the web page
            # the contents can be displayed
            # similarly
            say "Length : length 
            $response->{content}";
        }
          
        # logic for unsuccessful connection
        else{
            say $singleURL.
            " could not be downloaded";
              
            # displaying the reason for
            # unsuccessful connection
            say "$response->{status}
            $response->{reasons}";
        }
    }
}
  
# calling the sub routine
getWebPages();

Output:

downloading web page...
downloaded successfully
Length : 15175
<html content of the landing page of google>
downloading web page...
downloaded successfully
Length : <Length of the landing page of GFG>
<html content of the landing page of GFG>

Downloading Images using Perl

In this section, we will see two approaches to download images using Perl scripts. In order to get the URL of these images, we first right-click on them. Next, we click on Copy Image Address from the drop-down and paste this as the URL for the image.

Downloading images using LWP::Simple

In this approach, we use LWP::Simple module and get the HTTP code using getstore function. In this function, we have to specify the URL of the image to be downloaded and the location to store the downloaded image. Next, we check if the code is successful or not and display the corresponding message to the user.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the strict pragma
use strict;
  
# using the warnings pragma
# to generate warnings for
# erroneous code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# calling the module
use LWP::Simple;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getImage {
  
    # displaying a user friendly message
    say "Downloading ... ";
      
    # variable to store the status code
    # first parameter is the URL of the image
    # second parameter is the location
    # of the downloaded image
    my $statusCode = getstore
    "downloaded_image.png");
      
    # checking for successful
    # connection
    if ($statusCode == 200) {
        say "Image successfully downloaded.";
    }
    else {
        say "Image download failed.";
    }
}
  
# calling the sub routine
getImage();

Output:

Downloading...
Image successfully downloaded.
(the downloaded image will be saved at the specified location
with the given name. If no location is specified then the image
would be saved in the current working directory.

Downloading Images using Image::Grab Module

Image::Grab is a simple module meant for downloading the images specified by their URLs. It works with images that might be hidden by some method too. In this approach, we use the Image::Grab module and after instantiating it, we pass the URL. Next, we call the grab method and save the downloaded image to disk.

Perl




#!usr/bin/perl
  
# using the strict pragma
use strict;
  
# using the warnings pragma to
# generate warnings for erroneous
# code
use warnings;
  
# specifying the Perl version
use 5.010;
  
# calling the Image::Grab module
use Image::Grab;
  
# instantiating the module
# and storing it in a variable
my $instantiatedImage = new Image::Grab;
  
# declaring the sub routine
sub getImage {
  
    # specifying the URL
    $instantiatedImage->url
      
    # calling grab to grab the image
    $instantiatedImage->grab;
      
    # creating a file to store
    # the downloaded image
    open(DOWNLOADEDIMAGE, '>downloaded_image1.png') || 
                        die'downloaded_image1.png: $!';
      
    # for MSDOS only
    binmode DOWNLOADEDIMAGE;
      
    # saving the image in the created
    # file
    print DOWNLOADEDIMAGE $instantiatedImage->image;
      
    # closing the file
    close instantiatedImage;
}
  
# calling the sub routine
getImage();

Output:

The image is stored with the specified file name.

Downloaded Image:




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