Tips On How To Scrape An AJAX Website Using Python

Web scraping is a way used to retrieve info from an online page using software program. The issue with most of those instruments is that they solely retrieve the static HTML that comes from the server and not the dynamic half which is rendered utilizing JavaScript. Automated web browsers like Selenium or Splash are full browsers that run “headless.” Setting this up is a bit advanced. There are options on the market to mitigate this, such as docker. Setting these up is past the scope of this doc, and so we’ll focus our resolution on the second option under.

Try to intercept the AJAX calls from the web page and reproduce/replay them. This tutorial will teach you methods to catch AJAX calls and reproduce them utilizing the requests library and the Google Chrome browser. While frameworks like scrapy present a extra sturdy answer for web scraping, it is not vital for all instances.

AJAX calls are principally performed against an API that returns a JSON object which can be easily handled by the requests library. This tutorial could be carried out with another browser like Firefox — the method is identical, the one thing that changes is the dev instruments person interface.

For this tutorial, we will use a real instance: retrieving all the Wholefoods store locations from their web site. The first thing it’s worthwhile to know is that making an attempt to reproduce an AJAX call is like utilizing an undocumented API, so you have to look at the decision the pages make. Go to the location and play with it, navigate by way of some pages and see how some information is rendered without the need of going to another URL. After you end playing, come back here to start out the scraping.

Before moving into coding, we first have to know the way the web page works. For that, we’re going to navigate via to the pages containing the store information. We now see stores by US state. Select any state and the page will render the shop’s info located there. Try it out and then come back. There can be the option to see shops by page, this is the choice that we’ll be utilizing to scrap the web page. As you may see, each time you select a state or web page the website renders new shops, changing the previous ones.

This is finished utilizing an AJAX name to a server asking for the new shops. Our job now is to catch that call and reproduce it. XHR (XMLHttpRequest) is an interface to do HTTP and HTTPS requests, so it is more than likely that the ajax request can be shown right here. Now, while monitoring the community, select the second web page to see what occurs.

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For those who double click the AJAX name, you will see that there are many info there about the shops. You may preview the requests, too. Let’s do this to see if the information that we want is there. The AJAX name would not at all times have the name “AJAX”, it could have any identify, so you will need to look what data comes in every name of the XHR subsection.

A response arrives in a JSON format. It has three elements, and the data that we want is in the final one. This aspect contains an information key that has the HTML that is inserted in the page when a web page is selected. As you’ll note, the HTML is in a extremely lengthy line of text. You need to use something like Code Beautify to “prettify” it.