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QtWebKit-based web crawler
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README.markdown
webkit_browser.py

README.markdown

WebKit Crawler

A Python Qt based tool for extracting content from complex websites.

from webkit_browser import Browser
from lxml import html

b = Browser()
b.open('http://google.com/search?q=python')
content = b.main_frame['content'].read()
dom = html.fromstring(content)
results = dom.xpath('//*[@id="ires"]/ol/li')

for result in results:
    print result.find('h3').text_content()

Dependencies

Assuming that you're on a Linux box, you need python-qt installed in your system to make it work. If you plan to run it on a server, you may want to use xvfb, since Qt needs a display backend.

If you get it working on another environment, please contribute to this README. :)

Target

Use this software if you are dealing with a web page that completely depends on JavaScript and you already digged on its code but still can't extract the info you want with simple HTTP requests.

Note that this software is not intended to replace tools like Mechanize nor others simple tools for doing web scraping. I would not use it if the page I want would be downloadable with a simple curl call.

Usage

There's a Browser class that works similarly to the Mechanize's Browser, but without all that extra functionality. You can follow the above example and interact with the main_frame dict.

When the page is loaded, the code looks for all the page frames, recursively, and puts them up in a dictionary. Each "frame" has three keys, 'title' (unicode) 'content' (a file-like object) and 'children' (a list containing child frames, if they exist). As you can see in the example, main_frame serves as the root frame.

Additionally, if you're running the code in a graphical environment, a mini-browser window will open, showing what's happen under the hoods.

If you need to handle authentication and/or your page goes through many redirects until you finally get what you want, consider providing a validate function for it. Example:

def proceed_after_redirect(qwebview):
    """
    After all the redirects, a page with title 'Home' will be
    displayed. Note that you'll be handing the ``QWebView`` instance
    in this function, not a ``Browser`` object.
    """

    if 'Home' in qwebview.page().mainFrame().title:
        return True

Or even

def proceed_after_login(qwebview):
    """
    Fill then submit the authentication form
    """
    main_frame = qwebview.page().mainFrame()
    if 'Login' in main_frame.title:
        main_frame.evaluateJavaScript('''
            var form = document.querySelector('form#login');
            form['username'].value = '{0}';
            form['password'].value = '{1}';
            form.submit();
        '''.format(
            username, password,
        ))
    else:
        return True

You can always mix these to get what fits your problem. ;)

License

This project is licensed under the DWTFYW (Do What The Fck You Want) license. No, I'm kidding. It's *MIT licensed; anyway you are free to do anything you want with it.

If this program saved your day, please consider sending me some soda or donate to my PayPal account (evandromyller@gmail.com) so I can buy it here. :)

Note: this code needs packaging. Why don't you fork it and make it a Python package?

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