A super simple webcrawler framework written in Python.
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A super simple webcrawler framework written in Python.

Brief overview of architecture

  • The crawler is based on a configurable workerpool. There can only be N worker threads at any given time. These worker threads are then responsible for grabing jobs if they are free. If no workers are fee, jobs would be queued to be processed later. This kind of architecture allows us to make asynchrnous IO possible without exhausting system resources.
  • The Python class SimpleCrawler is an exhaustive crawler implementation which would keep on discovering links and crawling them until it has seen every link.
  • Current implementation of crawler is stateless (No support to pause or resume crawling).
  • Uses xpath to extract absolute and relative urls in a document.
  • Separates out data cleaning and saving into collectors and post processors.
  • Collectors are callbacks to clean a parsed item. These callbacks are chained so a cleaned item would go from one collector to another in the chain.
  • Post processor is where you would do all data IO. There can be multiple post processors such that one can save data to file and another can save data to a DB.
  • The whole crawling process is written to stdout.


  • Uses hashing to skip duplicate urls for a single uninterrupted run.
  • Uses threading.Lock() to avoid race conditions on modification to url hashes set.

Project layout

The project contains:

  • dir webcrawler: This contains the basic framework implementation.
  • dir example: Contains an example that implements a spider to extract all static assets from dubai.dubizzle.com and save it to a file.

Setting up the project

  • Extract the archive.
  • cd into the project directory.
  • [OPTIONAL] Create a virtualenv for the directory and activate it.
  • do export PYTHONPATH=$PWD
  • do pip install -r requirements/development.txt

Running the example

  • Open two shells.
  • Issue python example/run.py > run.log to start scraping dubai.dubizzle.com.
  • Tail the logs on the other shell.
  • To stop the crawler, issue pkill -f example/run.py. Ctrl-C won't work so pkill is the recommended way.
  • Once you are done with scraping or you forced an exit, you can see the html sitemap files in the result folder.


  • To run mock tests, issue the command nosetests from the project dir.


The MIT License (MIT)

Reporting Bugs:

Please email any bugs or feature requests at: mrafayaleem[at]gmail.com


Mohammad Rafay Aleem