Scrapy – A Fledgling’s Manual for Scratching the Internet

Scrapy is a Python framework that can be used to scrape content from the web. To scrape, you write a python script called a ‘Spider’ that tells Scrapy what to do on a specific website. This includes where to start crawling, the types of requests it makes, how to follow links on pages and how to parse found data.

Using XPath and CSS selectors, you can define what elements you want to scrape from a page. Extracted data is stored in ‘Item’ objects that can be retrieved by other scrapy code.

In addition to XPath and CSS selectors, Scrapy supports the use of regular expressions to extract data from web pages. This is a more advanced method that requires a bit more work than the XPath and CSS selector methods, but is still a great way to extract rich data from web pages.

The best part about Scrapy is that it can be used to perform complex tasks such as scraping large amounts of web data in a reasonable time. This is especially useful when you need to scrape thousands of web pages simultaneously.

It also has some nifty features, like its built-in logging system and ability¬†here to pause and resume crawls when the going gets tough. This means that you can easily monitor and control the progress of your crawls, and adjust their pace depending on your computer’s resources.

A final note: When using Scrapy, you’ll need to install Python on your machine (Python 2.7 and higher are recommended) and all the libraries necessary for Scrapy to function. You may have to make a few manual edits to get the software to work properly, but once you’re done you should be able to run your spiders on any modern browser and scrape whatever sites you need.