Your guide to Web Scraping in Python

Aditi Deodhar
3 min readFeb 8, 2024

Welcome to the world of web scraping!

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll embark on an exciting journey to uncover the wonders of extracting data from the web using Python. Whether you’re a curious enthusiast, a budding developer, or a seasoned professional looking to expand your skill set, this guide is designed to provide you with a solid foundation in web scraping, complete with examples, resources, and references to help you along the way.

Photo by Kevin Canlas on Unsplash

Understanding Web Scraping:
Before we dive into the technical details, let’s start with the basics.

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. Imagine browsing the web as a treasure hunt, where instead of gold coins and jewels, you’re hunting for valuable information like product prices, weather forecasts, or news headlines. With web scraping, you can automate this process, gathering data from multiple sources quickly and efficiently.

Getting Started with Python:
Python, with its simplicity and versatility, is the perfect language for web scraping beginners. If you’re new to Python, fear not! There are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Websites like Codecademy, Coursera, and the official Python documentation offer interactive tutorials and beginner-friendly guides to Python programming.

Essential Libraries for Web Scraping:
Python boasts a rich ecosystem of libraries and tools tailored for web scraping.

Two popular choices are Beautiful Soup and Requests.

Beautiful Soup is a Python library for parsing HTML and XML documents, while Requests is a simple yet powerful HTTP library for making requests to web pages. Together, these two libraries form the backbone of many web scraping projects.

Let’s put theory into practice with a simple example. Suppose we want to scrape famous quotes from the website “https://quotes.toscrape.com/".

We can achieve this using Python along with Beautiful Soup and Requests. Here’s a basic script to get us started:

# Import necessary libraries
import requests
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
# Send a GET request to the website
response = requests.get("http://quotes.toscrape.com/")
# Parse the HTML content
soup = BeautifulSoup(response.content, "html.parser")
# Extract quotes and authors
quotes = soup.find_all("span", class_="text")
authors = soup.find_all("small", class_="author")
# Print the quotes and authors
for i in range(len(quotes)):
print(quotes[i].text)
print("-" + authors[i].text)
print()

This script sends a GET request to the website, parses the HTML content using Beautiful Soup, and extracts the quotes and authors.

Finally, it prints the quotes along with their respective authors.

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps into the fascinating world of web scraping with Python. Armed with the knowledge and examples provided in this guide, you’re ready to explore further, uncovering valuable insights and data from the vast landscape of the internet.

Remember to practice, experiment, and most importantly, have fun on your web scraping journey!

Useful Resources and References:

--

--

Aditi Deodhar

MSIS @ Northeastern University | Data Science Enthusiast