How to write a simple web crawler in ruby

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How to write a simple web crawler in ruby

How to write a simple web crawler in Ruby - revisited Crawling websites and streaming structured data with Ruby's Enumerator Let's build a simple web crawler in Ruby.

We'll adapt Skork's original goals and provide a few of our own: Please keep in mind that there are, of course, many resources for using resilient, well-tested crawlers in a variety of languages.

We have mere academic intentions here so we choose to ignore many important concerns, such as client-side rendering, parallelism, and handling failure, as a matter of convenience. Rather than take the naive approach of grabbing all content from any page, we're going to build a webcrawler that emits structured data.

Traversing from the first page of the api directory, our crawler will visit web pages like a nodes of a tree, collecting data and additional urls along the way. Imagine that the results of our web crawl as a nested collection of hashes with meaningful key-value pairs. In this post, we skip automated parsing and detection of Programmable Web's robots.

If you choose to run this code on your own, please crawl responsibly. Designing the surface If you've been following my posts lately, you know that I love Enumerable and you may not be surprised that I'd like to model our structured, website data with an Enumerator.

This will provide a familiar, flexible interface that can be adapted for logging, storage, transformation, and a wide range of use cases. I want to simply ask a spider object for its results and get back an enumerator: Our spider implementation borrows heavily from joeyAghion's spidey gem, described as a "loose framework for crawling and scraping websites" and Python's venerable Scrapy project, which allows you to scrape websites "in a fast, simple, yet extensible way.

We'll build our web crawler piece-by-piece, but if you want a full preview of the source, check out it on GitHub. Our Spider will maintain a set of urls to visit, data is collects, and a set of url "handlers" that will describe how each page should be processed.

We'll take advantage of one external dependency, mechanize, to handle interaction with the pages we visit - to extract data, resolve urls, follow redirects, etc.

Below is the enqueue method to add urls and their handlers to a running list in our spider. We'll expose a record method append a hash of data to the results array. For now, we'll call this object a "processor". The processor will respond to the messages root and handler - the first url and handler method to enqueue for the spider, respectively.

We'll also provide options for enforcing limits on the number of pages to crawl and the delay between each request. The results method is the key public interface: The Enumerator class is well-suited to represent a lazily generated collection.

Review: Marvel's Spider-Man is nothing short of spectacular

Notice we're also returning an enumerator from results: While you could pass a block to consume the results, e. We'd have to wait for all the pages to be processed before continuing with the block. Returning an enumerator offers the potential to stream results to something like a data store. Why not include Enumerable in our Spider and implement each instead?

As pointed out in Arkency's Stop including Enumerable, return Enumerator insteadour Spider class doesn't itself represent a collection, so exposing the results method as an enumerator is more appropriate. From Soup to Net Results Our Spider is now functional so we can move onto the details of extracting data from an actual website.

Our processor, ProgrammableWeb will be responsible for wrappin a Spider instance and extracting data from the pages it visits.

As mentioned previously, our processor will need to define a root url and initial handler method, for which defaults are provided, and delegate the results method to a Spider instance: Our spider will invoke the handlers as seen above with processor.

how to write a simple web crawler in ruby

Page docs providing a number of methods for interacting with html content: As data is collected, it may be passed on to handlers further down the tree via Spider enqueue.

Since these pages will represent "leaves" in this exercise, we'll merge the data passed in with that extracted from the page and pass it along to Spider record. Now we can make use of our ProgrammableWeb crawler as intended with simple instantiation and the ability to enumerate results as a stream of data: Skorks provided a straightforward, recursive solution to consume unstructured content.

Our approach is iterative and requires some work up front to define which links to consume and how to process them with "handlers". However, we were able to achieve an extensible, flexible tool with a nice separation of concerns and a familiar, enumerable interface.

Modeling results from a multi-level page crawl as a collection may not work for every use case, but, for this exercise, it serves as a nice abstraction. It would now be trivial to take our Spider class and implement a new processor for a site like rubygems.Meaning you'll probably have to write alot of libraries just to get things done.

Here a decent tutorial in Python3. How to Crawl A Web Page with Scrapy and Python 3. You can probably also find tutorials using Ruby on Rails and How To Write A Simple Web Crawler In Ruby July 28, By Alan Skorkin 29 Comments I had an idea the other day, to write a basic search engine – in Ruby (did I mention I’ve been playing around with Ruby .

A protip by kalinin84 about facade pattern, java8, crawler, jsoup, and google guava. Let's build a simple web crawler in Ruby. For inspiration, I'd like to to revisit Alan Skorkin's How to Write a Simple Web Crawler in Ruby and attempt to achieve something similar with a fresh perspective.

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How to write a Web Crawler in Java. Part-1 -