Beautiful Soup is a Python HTML/XML parser designed for quick turnaround projects like screen-scraping. Three features make it powerful:
- Beautiful Soup won't choke if you give it bad markup. It yields a parse tree that makes approximately as much sense as your original document. This is usually good enough to collect the data you need and run away.
- Beautiful Soup provides a few simple methods and Pythonic idioms for navigating, searching, and modifying a parse tree: a toolkit for dissecting a document and extracting what you need. You don't have to create a custom parser for each application.
- Beautiful Soup automatically converts incoming documents to Unicode and outgoing documents to UTF-8. You don't have to think about encodings, unless the document doesn't specify an encoding and Beautiful Soup can't autodetect one. Then you just have to specify the original encoding.
Beautiful Soup parses anything you give it, and does the tree traversal stuff for you. You can tell it "Find all the links", or "Find all the links of class externalLink", or "Find all the links whose urls match "foo.com", or "Find the table heading that's got bold text, then give me that text."
Valuable data that was once locked up in poorly-designed websites is now within your reach. Projects that would have taken hours take only minutes with Beautiful Soup.
See the BeautifulSoup web site