[python] Parsing HTML using Python

I'm looking for an HTML Parser module for Python that can help me get the tags in the form of Python lists/dictionaries/objects.

If I have a document of the form:

<body attr1='val1'>
    <div class='container'>
        <div id='class'>Something here</div>
        <div>Something else</div>

then it should give me a way to access the nested tags via the name or id of the HTML tag so that I can basically ask it to get me the content/text in the div tag with class='container' contained within the body tag, or something similar.

If you've used Firefox's "Inspect element" feature (view HTML) you would know that it gives you all the tags in a nice nested manner like a tree.

I'd prefer a built-in module but that might be asking a little too much.

I went through a lot of questions on Stack Overflow and a few blogs on the internet and most of them suggest BeautifulSoup or lxml or HTMLParser but few of these detail the functionality and simply end as a debate over which one is faster/more efficent.

This question is related to python xml-parsing html-parsing

The answer is

Compared to the other parser libraries lxml is extremely fast:

And with cssselect it’s quite easy to use for scraping HTML pages too:

from lxml.html import parse
doc = parse('http://www.google.com').getroot()
for div in doc.cssselect('a'):
    print '%s: %s' % (div.text_content(), div.get('href'))

lxml.html Documentation

I guess what you're looking for is pyquery:

pyquery: a jquery-like library for python.

An example of what you want may be like:

from pyquery import PyQuery    
html = # Your HTML CODE
pq = PyQuery(html)
tag = pq('div#id') # or     tag = pq('div.class')
print tag.text()

And it uses the same selectors as Firefox's or Chrome's inspect element. For example:

the element selector is 'div#mw-head.noprint'

The inspected element selector is 'div#mw-head.noprint'. So in pyquery, you just need to pass this selector:


I recommend lxml for parsing HTML. See "Parsing HTML" (on the lxml site).

In my experience Beautiful Soup messes up on some complex HTML. I believe that is because Beautiful Soup is not a parser, rather a very good string analyzer.

Here you can read more about different HTML parsers in Python and their performance. Even though the article is a bit dated it still gives you a good overview.

Python HTML parser performance

I'd recommend BeautifulSoup even though it isn't built in. Just because it's so easy to work with for those kinds of tasks. Eg:

import urllib2
from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulSoup

page = urllib2.urlopen('http://www.google.com/')
soup = BeautifulSoup(page)

x = soup.body.find('div', attrs={'class' : 'container'}).text

I recommend using justext library:


Usage: Python2:

import requests
import justext

response = requests.get("http://planet.python.org/")
paragraphs = justext.justext(response.content, justext.get_stoplist("English"))
for paragraph in paragraphs:
    print paragraph.text


import requests
import justext

response = requests.get("http://bbc.com/")
paragraphs = justext.justext(response.content, justext.get_stoplist("English"))
for paragraph in paragraphs:
    print (paragraph.text)

I would use EHP


Here it is:

from ehp import *

doc = '''<html>
<body attr1='val1'>
    <div class='container'>
        <div id='class'>Something here</div>
        <div>Something else</div>

html = Html()
dom = html.feed(doc)
for ind in dom.find('div', ('class', 'container')):
    print ind.text()


Something here
Something else

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