Web Scraping with Python and Beautiful Soup

Web scraping is a very powerful tool to learn for any data professional. With web scraping, the entire internet becomes your database. In this tutorial, we show you how to parse a web page into a data file (csv) using a Python package called BeautifulSoup.

There are many services out there that augment their business data or even build out their entire business by using web scraping. For example there is a steam sales website that tracks and ranks steam sales, updated hourly. Companies can also scrape product reviews from places like Amazon to stay up-to-date with what customers are saying about their products.

The Code

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup as soup  # HTML data structure
from urllib.request import urlopen as uReq  # Web client

# URl to web scrap from.
# in this example we web scrap graphics cards from Newegg.com
page_url = "http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=-1&IsNodeId=1&Description=GTX&bop=And&Page=1&PageSize=36&order=BESTMATCH"

# opens the connection and downloads html page from url
uClient = uReq(page_url)

# parses html into a soup data structure to traverse html
# as if it were a json data type.
page_soup = soup(uClient.read(), "html.parser")
uClient.close()

# finds each product from the store page
containers = page_soup.findAll("div", {"class": "item-container"})

# name the output file to write to local disk
out_filename = "graphics_cards.csv"
# header of csv file to be written
headers = "brand,product_name,shipping\n"

# opens file, and writes headers
f = open(out_filename, "w")
f.write(headers)

# loops over each product and grabs attributes about
# each product
for container in containers:
    # Finds all link tags "a" from within the first div.
    make_rating_sp = container.div.select("a")

    # Grabs the title from the image title attribute
    # Then does proper casing using .title()
    brand = make_rating_sp[0].img["title"].title()

    # Grabs the text within the second "(a)" tag from within
    # the list of queries.
    product_name = container.div.select("a")[2].text

    # Grabs the product shipping information by searching
    # all lists with the class "price-ship".
    # Then cleans the text of white space with strip()
    # Cleans the strip of "Shipping $" if it exists to just get number
    shipping = container.findAll("li", {"class": "price-ship"})[0].text.strip().replace("$", "").replace(" Shipping", "")

    # prints the dataset to console
    print("brand: " + brand + "\n")
    print("product_name: " + product_name + "\n")
    print("shipping: " + shipping + "\n")

    # writes the dataset to file
    f.write(brand + ", " + product_name.replace(",", "|") + ", " + shipping + "\n")

f.close()  # Close the file

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