Implementing Web Scraping in Python with Scrapy
Nowadays data is everything and if someone wants to get data from webpages then one way to use an API or implement Web Scraping techniques. In Python, Web scraping can be done easily by using scraping tools like BeautifulSoup. But what if the user is concerned about performance of scraper or need to scrape data efficiently.
To overcome this problem, one can make use of MultiThreading/Multiprocessing with BeautifulSoup module and he/she can create spider, which can help to crawl over a website and extract data. In order to save the time one use Scrapy.
With the help of Scrapy one can : 1. Fetch millions of data efficiently 2. Run it on server 3. Fetching data 4. Run spider in multiple processes
Scrapy comes with whole new features of creating spider, running it and then saving data easily by scraping it. At first it looks quite confusing but it’s for the best.
Let’s talk about the installation, creating a spider and then testing it.
Step 1 : Creating virtual environment
It is good to create one virtual environment as it isolates the program and doesn’t affect any other programs present in the machine. To create virtual environment first install it by using :
sudo apt-get install python3-venv
Create one folder and then activate it :
mkdir scrapy-project && cd scrapy-project python3 -m venv myvenv
If above command gives Error then try this :
python3.5 -m venv myvenv
After creating virtual environment activate it by using :
Step 2 : Installing Scrapy module
Install Scrapy by using :
pip install scrapy
To install scrapy for any specific version of python :
python3.5 -m pip install scrapy
Replace 3.5 version with some other version like 3.6.
Step 3 : Creating Scrapy project
While working with Scrapy, one needs to create scrapy project.
scrapy startproject gfg
In Scrapy, always try to create one spider which helps to fetch data, so to create one, move to spider folder and create one python file over there. Create one spider with name
gfgfetch.py python file.
Step 4 : Creating Spider
Move to the spider folder and create
gfgfetch.py. While creating spider, always create one class with unique name and define requirements. First thing is to name the spider by assigning it with name variable and then provide the starting URL through which spider will start crawling. Define some methods which helps to crawl much deeper into that website. For now, let’s scrap all the URL present and store all those URL.
Main motive is to get each url and then request it. Fetch all the urls or anchor tags from it. To do this, we need to create one more method
parse ,to fetch data from the given url.
Step 5 : Fetching data from given page
Before writing parse function, test few things like how to fetch any data from given page. To do this make use of scrapy shell. It is just like python interpreter but with the ability to scrape data from the given url. In short, its a python interpreter with Scrapy functionality.
scrapy shell URL
Note: Make sure to in the same directory where scrapy.cfg is present, else it will not work.
scrapy shell https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/
Now for fetching data from the given page, use selectors. These selectors can be either from CSS or from Xpath. For now, let’s try to fetch all url by using CSS Selector.
- To get anchor tag :
- To extract the data :
links = response.css('a').extract()
- For example, links will show something like this :
'<a href="https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/" title="GeeksforGeeks" rel="home">GeeksforGeeks</a>'
- To get
links = response.css('a::attr(href)').extract()
This will get all the href data which is very useful. Make use of this link and start requesting it.
Now, let’s create parse method and fetch all the urls and then yield it. Follow that particular URL and fetch more links from that page and this will keep on happening again and again. In short, we are fetching all url present on that page.
Scrapy, by default, filters those url which has already been visited. So it will not crawl the same url path again. But it’s possible that in two different pages there are two or more than two similar links. For example, in each page, the header link will be available which means that this header link will come in each page request. So try to exclude it by checking it.
Below is the implementation of scraper :
Step 6 : In last step, Run the spider and get output in simple json file
scrapy crawl NAME_OF_SPIDER -o links.json
Here, name of spider is “extract” for given example. It will fetch loads of data within few seconds.
Note : Scraping any web page is not a legal activity. Don’t perform any scraping operation without permission.
Reference : https://doc.scrapy.org/en/.
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