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Web Scraping in Flutter

  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 28 Jul, 2021

The process of extracting required data/information from a web page by accessing the HTML of the web page is called Web Scraping or Web Harvesting or Web Data Extraction.

This article discusses the steps involved in Web Scraping by using Flutter’s html and http packages.

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Step 1: Set up a new Flutter App

Create a new flutter app by running the command :



flutter create YOUR_APP_NAME

  • Open the app in VS Code or Android Studio. I am using VS Code.
  • Open the lib/main.dart file and clear all the default code
  • Add the code for your desired widgets. I will be having an AppBar, a Column containing three Text widgets, a CircularProgressIndicator, and a MaterialButton widget.

Dart




import 'package:flutter/material.dart';
  
void main() => runApp(MaterialApp(
    theme: ThemeData(
      accentColor: Colors.green,
      scaffoldBackgroundColor: Colors.green[100],
      primaryColor: Colors.green,
    ),
    home: MyApp()));
  
class MyApp extends StatefulWidget {
  const MyApp({Key key}) : super(key: key);
  
  @override
  _MyAppState createState() => _MyAppState();
}
  
class _MyAppState extends State<MyApp> {
    
  // Strings to store the extracted Article titles
  String result1 = 'Result 1';
  String result2 = 'Result 2';
  String result3 = 'Result 3';
    
  // boolean to show CircularProgressIndication
  // while Web Scraping awaits
  bool isLoading = false;
  
  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return Scaffold(
      appBar: AppBar(title: Text('GeeksForGeeks')),
      body: Padding(
        padding: const EdgeInsets.all(16.0),
        child: Center(
            child: Column(
          mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,
          children: [
              
            // if isLoading is true show loader
            // else show Column of Texts
            isLoading
                ? CircularProgressIndicator()
                : Column(
                    children: [
                      Text(result1,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                      SizedBox(
                        height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.05,
                      ),
                      Text(result2,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                      SizedBox(
                        height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.05,
                      ),
                      Text(result3,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                    ],
                  ),
            SizedBox(height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.08),
            MaterialButton(
              onPressed: () {},
              child: Text(
                'Scrap Data',
                style: TextStyle(color: Colors.white),
              ),
              color: Colors.green,
            )
          ],
        )),
      ),
    );
  }
}

Output :

Step 2: Add the HTML and HTTP packages.

  • Open the pubspec.yaml file and under the dependencies:  add two lines http: ^0.12.0+4 and  html: ^0.14.0+3 with proper indentation and save the file.

  • Then in your terminal run the command :
 flutter pub get

  • Open the main.dart file and import the packages by adding these lines on the top:
import 'package:html/parser.dart' as parser;
import 'package:http/http.dart' as http;

Step 3: Adding Web Scraping functionality

  • The Web page through which I will be demonstrating Web Scraping is https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/  , we will extract the title of the first three articles from the article list as shown in the image below.

  • Now to extract a particular data we first need to decide on a parent class with a unique class name from the rest of the document and the hierarchy of its children, for this we need to view the HTML document of the page. We can do that by opening the website on Chrome Browser and then right-click on the required text and click on Inspect.

  • From the above image, you can see that I have selected a Parent class with the class name = “articles-list” , because it has a different name from all the other classes in the document. Now If we look at the Children class we want to extract, we can see for the first article’s title we need this kind of hierarchy  :

“articles-list” class  >> children[0]  >> children[0]  >> children[0] 

  • Similarly, for the second and third titles, it would be :

“articles-list” class  >> children[1]  >> children[0]  >> children[0] 

“articles-list” class  >> children[2]  >> children[0]  >> children[0]    

  • Now that we have the Class Name and the Hierarchy we can go ahead and write the function that does Web Scraping :
Future<List<String>> extractData() async {
//Getting the response from the targeted url
    final response =
        await http.Client().get(Uri.parse('https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/'));
        //Status Code 200 means response has been received successfully
    if (response.statusCode == 200) {
    //Getting the html document from the response
      var document = parser.parse(response.body);
      try {
      //Scraping the first article title
        var responseString1 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[0]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];

        print(responseString1.text.trim());
        
      //Scraping the second article title
        var responseString2 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[1]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];

        print(responseString2.text.trim());
        
      //Scraping the third article title
        var responseString3 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[2]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];

        print(responseString3.text.trim());
     //Converting the extracted titles into string and returning a list of Strings
        return [
          responseString1.text.trim(),
          responseString2.text.trim(),
          responseString3.text.trim()
        ];
      } catch (e) {
        return ['', '', 'ERROR!'];
      }
    } else {
      return ['', '', 'ERROR: ${response.statusCode}.'];
    }
  }
  • Now we will call this function in the onPressed: parameter of MaterialButton and show CircularProgressIndicator till it gets the result.
onPressed: () async {
              //Setting isLoading true to show the loader
                setState(() {
                  isLoading = true;
                });
                
                //Awaiting for web scraping function to return list of strings
                final response = await extractData();
                
                //Setting the received strings to be displayed and making isLoading false to hide the loader
                setState(() {
                  result1 = response[0];
                  result2 = response[1];
                  result3 = response[2];
                  isLoading = false;
                });
              }
  • Now after all this our main.dart looks something like this :

Dart




import 'package:flutter/material.dart';
import 'package:html/parser.dart' as parser;
import 'package:http/http.dart' as http;
  
void main() => runApp(MaterialApp(
    theme: ThemeData(
      accentColor: Colors.green,
      scaffoldBackgroundColor: Colors.green[100],
      primaryColor: Colors.green,
    ),
    home: MyApp()));
  
class MyApp extends StatefulWidget {
  const MyApp({Key key}) : super(key: key);
  
  @override
  _MyAppState createState() => _MyAppState();
}
  
class _MyAppState extends State<MyApp> {
    
  // Strings to store the extracted Article titles
  String result1 = 'Result 1';
  String result2 = 'Result 2';
  String result3 = 'Result 3';
    
  // boolean to show CircularProgressIndication
  // while Web Scraping awaits
  bool isLoading = false;
  
  Future<List<String>> extractData() async {
      
    // Getting the response from the targeted url
    final response =
        await http.Client().get(Uri.parse('https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/'));
      
        // Status Code 200 means response has been received successfully
    if (response.statusCode == 200) {
        
    // Getting the html document from the response
      var document = parser.parse(response.body);
      try {
          
      // Scraping the first article title
        var responseString1 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[0]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];
  
        print(responseString1.text.trim());
          
      // Scraping the second article title
        var responseString2 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[1]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];
  
        print(responseString2.text.trim());
          
      // Scraping the third article title
        var responseString3 = document
            .getElementsByClassName('articles-list')[0]
            .children[2]
            .children[0]
            .children[0];
  
        print(responseString3.text.trim());
          
        // Converting the extracted titles into
        // string and returning a list of Strings
        return [
          responseString1.text.trim(),
          responseString2.text.trim(),
          responseString3.text.trim()
        ];
      } catch (e) {
        return ['', '', 'ERROR!'];
      }
    } else {
      return ['', '', 'ERROR: ${response.statusCode}.'];
    }
  }
  
  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return Scaffold(
      appBar: AppBar(title: Text('GeeksForGeeks')),
      body: Padding(
        padding: const EdgeInsets.all(16.0),
        child: Center(
            child: Column(
          mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,
          children: [
              
            // if isLoading is true show loader
            // else show Column of Texts
            isLoading
                ? CircularProgressIndicator()
                : Column(
                    children: [
                      Text(result1,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                      SizedBox(
                        height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.05,
                      ),
                      Text(result2,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                      SizedBox(
                        height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.05,
                      ),
                      Text(result3,
                          style: TextStyle(
                              fontSize: 20, fontWeight: FontWeight.bold)),
                    ],
                  ),
            SizedBox(height: MediaQuery.of(context).size.height * 0.08),
            MaterialButton(
             onPressed: () async {
                 
              // Setting isLoading true to show the loader
                setState(() {
                  isLoading = true;
                });
                  
                // Awaiting for web scraping function
                // to return list of strings
                final response = await extractData();
                  
                // Setting the received strings to be
                // displayed and making isLoading false
                // to hide the loader
                setState(() {
                  result1 = response[0];
                  result2 = response[1];
                  result3 = response[2];
                  isLoading = false;
                });
              },
              child: Text(
                'Scrap Data',
                style: TextStyle(color: Colors.white),
              ),
              color: Colors.green,
            )
          ],
        )),
      ),
    );
  }
}

Output:




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