Grabs a feed of answers from a Quora user and backs them up on local machine. Note that this project is deprecated and replaced by
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Quora Grabber

Update : This is the last version of the GrabQuora script. I'm now working on the more general RSS Backup which will help you back-up from any site providing an RSS feed. (Including Quora)

Grabs a feed of answers from a Quora user and backs them up on local machine.

Currently stores each answer in a separate text file whose name is a hash of the question and which contains a json structure of {"question":QUESTION,"answer":ANSWER,"link":LINK TO ORIGINAL ANSWER}

It strips out most of the HTML (which will break links and embedded YouTube videos.) On the plus side, this means that the text is more suitable for converting to other formats.


These scripts use several Python libraries that can be installed using easy_install.

Before trying to run the script make sure you have feedparser and beautiful-soup.

easy_install feedparser
easy_install beautifulsoup4

How to Use

eg. to grab the feed of Quora user Phil-Jones

python Phil-Jones 

To format the answers in your current directory into an HTML page for MY NAME :

python "MY NAME" > list.html

Then look at list.html in your browser.


Q : Why do the files have such weird names?

A : The file names are based on the questions. I wanted to make the file names shorter than the full question, but also unique.

If you just tried to truncate a question like "Which do people who program in Python like best : Zope or Django?" to make the filename you'd get something like "whichdopeoplewhoprogaminpytho.txt" And next year, when you answer "Which do people who program in Python like best : Strawberry or Vanilla?" you'd overwrite the earlier question.

A "hashing" function takes a piece of text and is almost certain to come up with a unique code-number based on it, so I'm using a hashing function to generate a filename from the question which is short(ish), but almost certainly unique.

Q : I looked inside the file and its weird.

A : I'm storing answers in JSON format. A very simple data-structure that most pramming languages can handle very easily. (More easily than XML in most cases.)

This gives other people the chance to write scripts to render those answers in different human readable formats. The program included here puts them into a single HTML page. But there'll be other options. Talk to me if you'd like to request one.

Q : Why do this?

A : See the discussion here :