Web scraping tools and libraries

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Web scraping tools and libraries

Dec 3, 2022

You can collect data from websites either through a ready-made API or through parsing. Scraping pages on your own is not always easy: many sites do not like scrapers and try to block them. In this article we will consider ready-made parsing tools, including the most popular online services and libraries for Python, JavaScript and Java.

Online services for scraping

Ready-made web interfaces usually take the hassle out of parsing web pages. But for the same reason, most of them are paid. Examples include:

Scraping-Bot is a web tool well-tailored for analyzing online stores: you can easily extract images, names, prices, descriptions, shipping costs and other information.

Scrapeworks - suitable for those who are not familiar with programming. Allows you to receive data from pages in a structured format of your choice.

Diggernaut is a parser created with a visual tool or metalanguage. Can read data from HTML, XML, JSON, iCal, JS, XLSX, XLS, CSV, Google Spreadsheets.

ScrapingBee - provides an API for working with Headless Chrome and allows you to focus on data processing.

Scraper API is another simple API with a wide range of settings, from request headers to IP geolocation.

Libraries for programming languages


Python libraries provide many efficient and fast parsing functions. Many of these tools can be connected to a finished application in API format to create custom crawlers. All of the projects listed below are open source.

# BeautifulSoup

A package for parsing HTML and XML documents, converting them into syntax trees. It uses HTML and XML parsers like html5lib and Lxml to extract the required data.

To search for a specific attribute or text in a raw HTML file, BeautifulSoup provides the handy functions find(), find_all(), get_text(), and others. The library also automatically recognizes encodings.

You can install the latest version of BeautifulSoup via easy_install or pip:

easy_install beautifulsoup4
pip install beautifulsoup4

# Selenium

A tool that works like a web driver: opens a browser, performs clicks on elements, fills out forms, scrolls pages, and more. Selenium is mainly used for automated testing of web applications, but it can also be used for scraping. Before you begin, you need to install browser-specific drivers, such as ChromeDriver for Chrome and Safari Driver for Safari 10.

You can install Selenium via pip:

pip install selenium

# Lxml

A library with convenient tools for processing HTML and XML files. Works with XML a little faster than Beautiful Soup, while using a similar method of creating syntax trees. To get more functionality, you can combine Lxml and Beautiful Soup, as they are compatible with each other. Beautiful Soup uses Lxml as a parser.

The key advantages of the library are the high speed of parsing large documents and pages, convenient functionality, and easy conversion of source information into Python data types.

Install Lxml:

pip install lxml


For JavaScript, you can also find ready-made parsing libraries with convenient functional APIs.

# Cheerio

A smart parser that creates the DOM tree of the page and makes it convenient to work with it. Cheerio parses the markup and provides functions to process the received data.

The Cheerio API will be especially clear to those who work with jQuery. The parser positions itself as a tool that allows you to focus on working with data, and not on extracting it.

Install Cheerio:

npm install cheerio

# Osmosis

The scraper is similar in functionality to Cheerio , but has far fewer dependencies. Osmosis is written in Node.js and supports CSS 3.0 and XPath 1.0 selectors. It can also load and search AJAX content, log URLs, redirects and errors, fill out forms, pass basic authentication, and much more.

Install parser:

npm install osmosis

# Apify SDK

A Node.js library that can be used with Chrome Headless and Puppeteer.

Apify allows you to deep crawl an entire website using a URL queue. It also allows you to run the parser code for multiple URLs in a CSV file without losing any data when the program crashes.

For secure scraping, Apify uses a proxy and disables browser fingerprint recognition on websites.

Install Apify SDK:

npm install apify


Java implements various tools and libraries, as well as external APIs that can be used for parsing.

# Jsoup

An open source project for extracting and analyzing data from HTML pages. The main functions are generally the same as those provided by other parsers. These include loading and parsing HTML pages, manipulating HTML elements, proxy support, working with CSS selectors, and more.

Jsoup does not support parsing based on XPath.

Download jsoup

# Jaunt

A library that can be used to extract data from HTML pages or JSON data using a headless browser. Jaunt can make and process individual HTTP requests and responses, as well as interact with the REST API to retrieve data.

In general, the functionality of Jaunt is similar to Jsoup, except that Jaunt uses its own syntax instead of CSS selectors.

Download Jaunt

# HTMLUnit

A framework that allows you to simulate browser events (clicks, scrolls, form submissions) and supports JavaScript. This improves the process of automating the receipt and processing of information. HTMLUnit supports XPath-based parsing, unlike JSoup. It can also be used to unit test web applications.

Download HTMLUnit

Anurag Deep

Logical by Mind, Creative by Heart