Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another HTML Cleanup

Browsers are required to skip over bad HTML and render something.

Consequently, many web sites have significant HTML errors that don't show up until you try to scrape their content.

Beautiful Soup has a handy hook for doing markup massage prior to parsing. This is a way of fixing site-specific bugs when necessary.

Here's a two-part massage I wrote recently that corrects two common (and show-stopping) HTML issues with quoted attributes values in a tag.

# Fix style="background-image:url("url")"
background_image = re.compile(r'background-image:url\("([^"]+)"\)')
def fix_background_image( match ):
return 'background-image:url("e;%s"e;)' % ( match.group(1) )

# Fix src="url name="name""
bad_img = re.compile( r'src="([^ ]+) name="([^"]+)""' )
def fix_bad_img( match ):
return 'src="%s" name="%s"' % ( match.group(1), match.group(2) )

fix_style_quotes = [
(background_image, fix_background_image),
(bad_img, fix_bad_img),

The "fix_style_quotes" sequence is provided to the BeautifulSoup contructor as the markupMassage value.