Grab Documentation
Release 0.6
Gregory Petukhov
August 18, 2015
Table of Contents
1.1 Grab User Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2 Grab::Spider User Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.3 API Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Indices and tables
Python Module Index
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Grab is python framework for building web scrapers. With Grab you can build web scrapers of various complexity:
from simple 5-line scripts to complex asynchronous web-site crawlers processing millions of web pages. Grab provides API for performing network requests and for handling received content e.g. interacting with DOM tree of the
HTML document.
There are two main parts in Grab library:
1) The single request/response API that allows you build network request, perform it and work with the
received content. That API is a wrapper of the pycurl and lxml libraries.
2) The Spider API to build asynchronous web crawlers. You write class that define handlers for each type
of network request. Each handler could spawn new network requests. Network requests are processed
simultaneusly with a pool of asynchronous web sockets.
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Table of Contents
1.1 Grab User Manual
1.1.1 Grab Installaion
Installation on Linux
Run the command:
pip install -U Grab
This command will install Grab and all dependencies. Be aware that you need to have some libraries installed in your
system to successfully build lxml and pycurl dependencies.
To build pycurl successfully you need to install:
apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev
To build lxml successfully you need to install:
apt-get install libxml2-dev libxslt-dev
Installation on Windows
1. Install lxml. You can get lxml here:
2. Install pycurl. You can get pycurl here:
3. Install Grab
Download the Grab package from, unpack it and run:
python install
If you use Python 2.x, then you might get an error while using python install. There is a bug in python 2.7.6.
Delete it, download python 2.7.5 and try to install Grab again.
You can also install Grab via pip. If you don’t have pip installed, install pip first. Download the file from and then run this command:
Now you can install Grab via pip with this command:
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python -m pip install grab
Installation on FreeBSD
Run the command:
pip install -U Grab
You can also install Grab from FreeBSD ports (thanks to Ruslan Makhmatkhanov):
• To install the port: cd /usr/ports/devel/py-grab/ && make install clean
• To add the package: pkg_add -r py27-grab
Installation on MacOS
Run the command:
pip install -U Grab
All required dependencies should be installed automatically if you install Grab with pip. Here is actual list of Grab
Upgrade Grab from 0.5.x version to 0.6.x
In Grab 0.6.x some features were moved out into separate packages. If you install/upgrade Grab with pip command
all dependencies should be installed automatically. Anyway, if you have some ImportError issues then try to install
dependencies manually with the command:
pip install -U lxml pycurl selection weblib six
1.1.2 Testing Grab Framework
To run full set of Grab tests you should install additional dependencies listed in files requirements_dev.txt and requirements_dev_backend.txt.
To run all tests run the command:
./ --test-all --extra --backend-mongo --backend-mysql --backend-redis --backend-postgres
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Controlling what parts of Grab to test
You can run tests for specific part of Grab framework. Here is available options of command:
--test-grab - Grab API tests
--test-spider - Grab::Spider API tests
--test-all - shortcut to run both Grab and Grab::Spider
--backend-redis - enable tests of things that work with
--backend-mysql - enable tests of things that work with
--backend-postgresql - enable tests of things that work
--backend-mongo - enable tests of things that work with
with postgresql
If you want to run specific test case then use -t option. Example:
./ -t test.grab_api
Testing with Tox
To run Grab tests in different python environments you can use tox command:
By default it run full set of tests in two environemnts: python3.4 and python2.7
You can specify concrete environment with -e option:
tox -e py34
To run all tests except backend tests use -nobackend suffix:
tox -e py34-nobackend,py27-nobackend
Database configuration
To run tests on specific machine you may need to change default database connection settings. Default settings are
stored in the file. You can override any default setting in the file.
Travis Testing
Grab project is configured to run full set of tests for each new commit placed into the project repository. You can see
status of recent commit and status of all previous commits here:
Test Coverage
To see test coverage run the commands:
coverage erase
coverage run --source=grab ./ --test-all --extra --backend-mongo --backend-mysql --backendcoverage report -m
Also you can use shortcut:
make coverage
Grab project is configured to submit coverage statistics to service after each test session completed on service. You can see coverage history at this URL:
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1.1.3 Grab Quickstart
Before working with Grab ensure that you have a latest version of Grab. The recommended way of installing Grab to
you system is using pip utility:
pip install -U Grab
Also you should manually install lxml and pycurl libraries.
Let’s get started with simple examples.
Make a request
First, you need to import Grab class:
>>> from grab import Grab
Then you can build Grab instance and make simple network request:
>>> from grab import Grab
>>> g = Grab()
>>> resp = g.go('')
Now, we have a Response object which provides interface to response’s content, cookies, headers and other things.
We’ve just made a GET requests. To make reqests of other type you need to configure Grab instance via setup method
with method option:
Let’s see small example of HEAD request:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.setup(method='head')
>>> resp = g.go('')
>>> print len(resp.body)
>>> print resp.headers['Content-Length']
Creating POST requests
When you build site scrapers or work with network APIs it is a common task to create POST requests. You can build
POST request using post option:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.setup(post={'username': 'Root', 'password': 'asd7DD&*ssd'})
>>> g.go('')
Another common task is to get a web form, fill it and submit it. Grab provides API to work with forms:
g = Grab()
g.set_input('username', 'Foo')
g.set_input('password', 'Bar')
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Then you call submit method Grab build POST request with values which you’ve passed with set_input methods. If
you did not specify values for some form’s elements then Grab use their default values.
Grab also provide interface to upload files:
from grab import Grab, UploadFile
g = Grab()
g.setup(post={'name': 'Flower', 'file': UploadFile('/path/to/image.png')})
Also you can upload files via form API:
from grab import Grab, UloadFile
g = Grab()
g.set_input('name', 'A flower')
g.set_input('file', UploadFile('/path/to/image.png'))
Response Content
Consider the simple page retreiving code again:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> resp = g.go('')
To get response content as unicode use:
>>> resp.unicode_body()
Note that grab automatically detect the charset of response content and convert it to the unicode. You can get detected
charset with:
>>> resp.charset
If you need original response body then use:
>>> resp.body
Oiriginal content is useful if you need to save some binary content like image::
>>> resp = g.go('')
>>> open('logo.png', 'w').write(resp.body)
The gzip and deflate encodings are automatically decoded.
Response Status Code
1.1.4 Request Methods
You can make request of any HTTP method you need. By default Grab makes GET request.
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GET Request
GET method is default request method.
g = Grab()
If you need to pass arguments in query string, then you have to build URL manually:
from urllib import urlencode
g = Grab()
qs = urlencode({'foo': 'bar', 'arg': 'val'})
g.go('' % qs)
If your URL contains unsafe characters then you have to escape them manually.
from urllib import quote
g = Grab()
url = u''
POST Request
To make POST request you have to specify POST data with post option. Usually, you will want to use dictionary
g = Grab()
g.go('', post={'foo': 'bar'})
You can pass unicode strings and numbers in values of post dict, they will be converted to bytes string automatically.
If you want to specify charset that will be used to convert unicode to byte string, then use request_charset option
g = Grab()
g.go('', post={'who': u'
If the post option is a string then it is submitted in request as-is:
g = Grab()
g.go('', post='raw data')
If you want to pass multiple values with same key use the list of tuples:
g = Grab()
g.go('', post=[('key', 'val1'), ('key', 'val2')])
By default, Grab compose POST request with ‘application/x-www-form-urlencoded‘ encoding method. To enable
multipart/form-data method use post_multipart method instead of post:
g = Grab()
g.go('', post_multipart=[('key', 'val1'),
('key', 'val2')])
To upload file use grab.upload.UploadFile class:
g = Grab()
post_multipart={'foo': 'bar', 'file': UploadFile('/path/to/file')})
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PUT Request
To make PUT request use both post and method options:
g = Grab()
g.go('', post='raw data', method='put')
Other Methods
To make DELETE, OPTIONS and other HTTP requests, use the method option.
g = Grab()
g.go('', method='options')
1.1.5 Setting up the Grab Request
To set up parameters of network request you need to build Grab object and configure it. You can do both things in
same time:
g = Grab(url='', method='head', timeout=10,
Or you can build Grab object with some initial settings and configure it later:
g = Grab(timeout=10, user_agent='grab')
g.setup(url='', method='head')
Also you can pass settings as parameters to request or go method:
g = Grab(timeout=10)
g.request(url='', user_agent='grab')
# OR
g.go('', user_agent='grab')
Methods request and go are almost same except one small thing. You do not need to specify the explicit name of first
argument of go method. First argument of go method is always url. Except this thing all other named arguments of go
and request are just passed to setup function.
Full list of available settings you can see in grab_settings
Grab Config Object
Every time you configure a Grab instance, all options go to the special object grab.config that holds all Grab instance
settings. You can receive a copy of the config object and also you can setup a Grab instance with the config object:
>>> g = Grab(url='')
>>> g.config['url']
>>> config = g.dump_config()
>>> g2 = Grab()
>>> g2.load_config(config)
>>> g2.config['url']
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The Grab config object is simply a dict object some of which values are also dict objects.
Grab Instance Cloning
If you need to copy a Grab object there is a more elegant way than using dump_config and load_config methods:
g2 = g1.clone()
Instance g2 gets the same state as instance g1. In particular, g2 gets same cookies.
There is also adopt, which does the opposite of the clone method:
The g2 instance receives the state of g1 instance.
Setting Up the Pycurl Object
Sometimes you need more detailed control of network requests than Grab allows. In such cases you can configure
the pycurl object directly. All Grab’s network features are only the interface to the pycurl library. Any available Grab
option just sets some option of the pycurl object. Here is a simple example of how to change the type of the HTTP
import pycurl
from grab import Grab
g = Grab()
g.transport.curl.setopt(pycurl.HTTPAUTH, pycurl.HTTPAUTH_NTLM)
1.1.6 Grab Options
Network options
Type string
Default None
The URL of the requested web page. You can use relative URLS, in which case Grab will build the absolute url by
joining the relative URL with the URL or previously requested document. Be aware that Grab does not automatically
escape unsafe characters in the URL. This is a design feature. You can use urllib.quote and urllib.quote_plus functions
to make your URLs safe.
More info about valid URLs is in RFC 2396.
Type int
Default 15
Maximum time for a network operation. If it is exceeded, GrabNetworkTimeout is raised.
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Type int
Default 3
Maximum time for connection to the remote server and receipt of an initial response. If it is exceeded, GrabNetworkTimeout is raised.
Type bool
Default False
Automatically follow the URL specified in <meta http-equiv=”refresh”> tag.
Type bool
Default True
Automatically follow the location in 301/302 response.
Type string
Default None
The network interface through which the request should be submitted.
To specify the interface by its OS name, use “if!***” format, e.g. “if!eth0”. To specify the interface by its name or ip
address, use “host!***” format, e.g. “host!” or “host!localhost”.
See also the pycurl manual:
Type int
Default 10
Set the maximum number of redirects that Grab will do for one request. Redirects follow the “Location” header in
301/302 network responses, and also follow the URL specified in meta refresh tags.
Type string
Default None
The username and the password to send during HTTP authorization. The value of that options is the string of format
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HTTP Options
Type string
Default see below
Sets the content of the “User-Agent” HTTP-header. By default, Grab randomly chooses a user agent from the list of
real user agents that is built into Grab itself.
Type string
Default None
Path to the text file with User-Agent strings. If this option is specified, then Grab randomly chooses one line from that
Type string
Default “GET”
Possible values “GET”, “POST”, “PUT”, “DELETE”
The HTTP request method to use. By default, GET is used. If you specify post or multipart_post options, then Grab
automatically changes the method to POST.
Type sequence of pairs or dict or string
Default None
Data to be sent with the POST request. Depending on the type of data, the corresponding method of handling that data
is selected. The default type for POST requests is “application/x-www-form-ulencoded”.
In case of dict or sequence of pairs, the following algorithm is applied to each value:
• objects of grab.upload.UploadFile class are converted into pycurl structures
• unicode strings are converted into byte strings
• None values are converted into empty strings
If post value is just a string, then it is placed into the network request without any modification.
Type sequence of pairs or dict
Default None
Data to be sent with the POST request. This option forces the POST request to be in “multipart/form-data” form.
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Type dict
Default None
Additional HTTP-headers. The value of this option will be added to headers that Grab generates by default. See details
in Work with HTTP Headers.
Type dict
Default None
By default, Grab generates some common HTTP headers to mimic the behaviour of a real web browser. If you have
trouble with these deafult headers, you can specify your own headers with this option. Please note that the usual way
to specify a header is to use the headers option. See details in Work with HTTP Headers.
Type bool
Default True
If this option is enabled, then all cookies in each network response are stored locally and sent back with further requests
to the same server.
Type dict
Default None
Cookies to send to the server. If the option reuse_cookies is also enabled, then cookies from the cookies option will be
joined with stored cookies.
Type string
Defaul None
Before each request, Grab will read cookies from this file and join them with stored cookies. After each response,
Grab will save all cookies to that file. The data stored in the file is a dict serialized as JSON.
Type string
Default see below
The content of the “Referer” HTTP-header. By default, Grab builds this header with the URL of the previously
requested document.
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Type bool
Default True
If this option is enabled, then Grab uses the URL of the previously requested document to build the content of the
“Referer” HTTP header.
Proxy Options
Type string
Default None
The address of the proxy server, in either “domain:port” or “ip:port” format.
Type string
Default None
Security data to submit to the proxy if it requires authentication. Form of data is “username:password”
Type string
Default None
Type of proxy server. Available values are “http”, “socks4” and “socks5”.
Response Processing Options
Type string
Default “gzip”
List of methods that the remote server could use to compress the content of its response. The default value of this
option is “gzip”. To disable all compression, pass the empty string to this option.
Character set of the document’s content. By default, document charset is detected automatically. In case the character
set is incorrectly determined, you can specify it with this option. The value you specified will be used to convert the
bytes in the body of the document to the character set specified in _option_charset. After that the converted body
will be passed to lxml to build the DOM tree. _option_document_charset is also used to encode non-ascii symbols in
POST data.
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Type string
Default None
Character set that the content of the document should be converted to. This option is only useful in case document_charset is not ‘utf-8’ (e.g., if content is a bytestring). Otherwise, this option won’t affect the resulting content.
Type string
Default ‘utf-8’
Type bool
Default False
Ignore the body of the network response. When this option is enabled, the connection is abandoned at the moment
when remote server transfers all response headers and begins to transfer the body of the response. You can use this
option with any HTTP method.
Type int
Default None
A limit on the maximum size of data that should be received from the remote server. If the limit is reached, the
connection is abandoned and you can work with the data received so far.
type bool
Default False
Convert the content of the document to lowercase before passing it to the lxml library to build the DOM tree. This
option does not affect the content of response.body, which always stores the original data.
Type bool
Default True
Control the removal of null bytes from the body of HTML documents before they a re passed to lxml to build a DOM
tree. lxml stops processing HTML documents at the first place where it finds a null byte. To avoid such issues Grab,
removes null bytes from the document body by default. This option does not affect the content of response.body that
always stores the original data.
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Type bool
Default True
Control the way the network response is received. By default, Grab downloads data into memory. To handle large
files, you can set body_inmemory=False to download the network response directly to the disk.
Type bool
Default None
If you use body_inmemory=False, then you have to specify the directory where Grab will save network requests.
Type string
Default None
If you use body_inmemory=False, you can let Grab automatically choose names for the files where it saves network
responses. By default, Grab randomly builds unique names for files. With the body_storage_filename option, you
can choose the exact file name to save response to. Note that Grab will save every response to that file, so you need
to change the body_storage_filename option before each new request, or set it to None to enable default randomly
generated file names.
Type string
Default “html”
Available values “html” and “xml”
This option controls which lxml parser is used to process the body of the response. By default, the html parser is used.
If you want to parse XML, then you may need to change this option to “xml” to force the use of an XML parser which
does not strip the content of CDATA nodes.
Type bool
Default True
Fix &#X; entities, where X between 128 and 160. Such entities are parsed by modern browsers as windows-1251
entities, independently of the real charset of the document. If this option is True, then such entities will be replaced
with appropriate unicode entities, e.g.: &#151; -> &#8212;
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Type string
Default None
Path to the file where the body of the recent network response will be saved. See details at Saving the content of
requests and responses.
Type string
Default None
Directory to save the content of each response in. Each response will be saved to a unique file. See details at Saving
the content of requests and responses.
Type bool
Default False
This option enables printing to console of all detailed debug info about each pycurl action. Sometimes this can be
Type bool
Default False
Enable logging of POST request content.
1.1.7 Debugging
Using the logging module
The easiest way to see what is going on is to enable DEBUG logging messages. Write the following code at every
entry point to your program:
>>> import logging
>>> logging.basicConfig(level=logging.DEBUG)
That logging configuration will output all logging messages to console, not just from Grab but from other modules
too. If you are interested only in Grab’s messages:
import logging
logger = logging.getLogger('grab')
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You can also use a default_logging function that configures logging as follows:
• all messages of any level except from Grab modules are printed to console
• all “grab*” messages with level INFO or higher are printed to console
• all “grab*” messages of any level are saved to /tmp/grab.log
• all “*” messages (usually these are URLs being requested) of any level are saved to
Usage of default_logging function is simple:
>>> from weblib.logs import default_logging
>>> default_logging()
Logging messages about network request
For each network request, Grab generates the “” logging message with level DEBUG. Let’s look at an
[5864] GET via proxy of type http with a
We can see the requested URL and also that request has ID 5864, that the HTTP method is GET, and that the request
goes through a proxy with authorization. For each network request Grab uses the next ID value from the sequence
that is shared by all Grab instances. That does mean that even different Grab instances will generates network logging
messages with unique ID.
You can also turn on logging of POST request content. Use the debug_post option:
>>> g.setup(debug_post=True)
The output will be like this:
[01] POST
POST request:
: bar
: Ivan
Saving the content of requests and responses
You can ask Grab to save the content of each network response to the file located at the path passed as the log_file
>>> g.setup(log_file='log.html')
Of course, each new resposne will overwrite the content of the previous response.
If you want to log all traffic, then consider using the log_dir option, which tells Grab to save the contents of all
responses to files inside the specified directory. Note that each such file will contain a request ID in its filename. For
each response, there will be two files: XXX.log and XXX.html. The file XXX.html contains the raw response. Even
if you requested an image or large movie, you’ll get its raw content in that file. The file XXX.log contains headers of
network response. If you configure Grab with debug=True, the file XXX.log will also contain request headers.
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1.1.8 Work with HTTP Headers
Custom headers
If you need to submit custom HTTP headers, you can specify any number of them via headers option. A common
case is to emulate an AJAX request:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.setup(header={'X-Requested-With': 'XMLHttpRequest'})
Bear in mind, that except headers in headers option (that is empty by default) Grab also generates a bunch of headers
to emulate a typical web browser. At the moment of writing these docs these headers are:
• Accept
• Accept-Language
• Accept-Charset
• Keep-Alive
• Except
If you need to change one of these headers, you can override its value with the headers option. You can also subclass
the Grab class and define your own common_headers method to completely override the logic of generating these
extra headers.
User-Agent header
By default, for each request Grab randomly chooses one user agent from a builtin list of real user agents. You can
specify the exact User-Agent value with the user_agent option. If you need to randomly choose user agents from your
own list of user agents, then you can put your list into a text file and pass its location as user_agent_file.
Referer header
To specify the content of the Referer header, use the referer option. By default, Grab use the URL of previously
request document as value of Referer header. If you do not like this behaviour, you can turn it off with reuse_referer
HTTP Authentication
To send HTTP authentication headers, use the userpwd option with a value of the form “username:password”.
1.1.9 Processing the Response Body
In this document, options related to processing the body of network response are discussed.
Partial Response Body Download
If you do not need the response body at all, use nobody option. When it is enabled, Grab closes the network connection
to the server right after it receives all response headers from the server. This is not the same as sending a GET request.
You can submit a request of any type, e.g. POST, and not download the response body if you do not need it.
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Another option to limit body processing is body_maxsize. It allows you to download as many bytes of the response
body as you need, and then closes the connection.
Note that neither of these options break the processing of the response into a Python object. In both cases you get a
response object with a body attribute that contains only part of the response body data - whatever was received before
connection interrupted.
Response Compression Method
You can control the compression of the server response body with encoding. The default value is “gzip”. That means
that Grab sends “Accept-Encoding: gzip” to the server, and if the server answers with a response body packed with
gzip then Grab automatically unpacks the gzipped body, and you have unpacked data in the response.body. If you do
not want the server to send you gziped data, use an empty string as the value of encoding.
1.1.10 File Uploading
To upload file you should use UploadFile or UploadContent classes.
UploadFile example:
from grab import Grab, UploadFile
g = Grab()
g.setup(post={'image': UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg')})
UploadContent example:
from grab import Grab, UploadContent
g = Grab()
g.setup(post={'image': UploadContent('......', filename='image.jpg')})
Form Processing
You can use UploadFile and UploadContent in all methods that set values in form fields:
from grab import Grab, UploadContent
g = Grab()
g.doc.set_input('image', UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg'))
Custom File Name
With both UploadFile and UploadContent you can use custom filename.
If you do not specify filename then:
• UploadFile will use the filename extracted from the path to the file passed in first argument.
• UploadContent will generate random file name
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>>> from grab import UploadFile, UploadContent
>>> UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg').filename
>>> UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg', filename='avatar.jpg').filename
>>> UploadContent('.....').filename
>>> UploadContent('.....', filename='avatar.jpg').filename
Custom Content Type
With both UploadFile and UploadContent you can use custom content type.
If you do not specify content type then filename will be used to guess the content type e.g. “image.jpg” will have
“image/jpeg” conent type and “asdfasdf” will be just a “application/octet-stream”
>>> from grab import UploadFile, UploadContent
>>> UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg').content_type
>>> UploadFile('/path/to/image.jpg', content_type='text/plain').content_type
>>> UploadContent('/path/to/image.jpg').content_type
>>> UploadContent('...', content_type='text/plain').content_type
1.1.11 Redirect Handling
Grab supports two types of redirects:
• HTTP redirects with HTTP 301 and 302 status codes
• HTML redirects with the <meta> HTML tag
HTTP 301/302 Redirect
By default, Grab follows any 301 or 302 redirect. You can control the maximum number of redirects per network
query with the redirect_limit option. To completely disable handling of HTTP redirects, set follow_location to False.
Let’s see how it works:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.setup(follow_location=False)
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x1246ae0>
>>> g.response.code
>>> g.response.headers['Location']
>>> g.setup(follow_location=True)
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x1246ae0>
>>> g.response.code
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>>> g.response.url
Meta Refresh Redirect
An HTML Page could contain special tags that instructs the browser to go to a specified URL:
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url=http://some/url" />
By default, Grab ignores such instructions. If you want automatically follow meta refresh tags, then set follow_refresh
to True.
Original and Destination URLs
You can always get information about what URL you’ve requested intially and what URL you ended up with:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x20fcae0>
>>> g.config['url']
>>> g.response.url
The initial URL is stored on the config object. The destination URL is writed into response object.
You can even track redirect history with response.head:
>>> print g.response.head
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:19:13 GMT
Expires: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 18:19:13 GMT
Cache-Control: public, max-age=2592000
Server: gws
Content-Length: 219
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Cache-Control: private
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:19:14 GMT
Server: gws
Content-Length: 258
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:19:14 GMT
Expires: -1
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Content-Encoding: gzip
Server: gws
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X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
1.1.12 Form Processing
Grab can help you process web forms. It can automatically fill all input fields that have default values, letting you fill
only fields you need. The typical workflow is:
* request a page
* fill input fields with `set_input` method
* submit the form with `submit` method
When you are using set_input you just specify the name of an input and the value, and Grab automatically finds the
form field containing the input with that name. When you call submit, the automatically-chosen form is submitted (the
form that has the largest number of fields). You can also explicitly choose the form with the choose_form method.
Let’s look at a simple example of how to use these form features:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.go('')
>>> g.set_input('text', 'grab lib')
>>> g.submit()
The form that has been chosen automatically is available in the grab.form attribute.
To specify input values you can use set_input, set_input_by_id and set_input_by_xpath methods.
1.1.13 Network Errors Handling
Network Errors
If a network request fails, Grab raises grab.error.GrabNetworkError. There are two situations when a
network error exception will raise:
• the server broke connection or the connection timed out
• the response had any HTTP status code that is not 2XX or 404
Note particularly that 404 is a valid status code, and does not cause an exception to be raised.
Network Timeout
You can configure timeouts with the following options:
• connect to server timeout with connect_timeout option
• whole request/response operation timeout with timeout option
In case of a timeout, Grab raises grab.error.GrabTimeoutError.
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1.1.14 HTML Document Charset
Why does charset matter?
By default, Grab automatically detects the charset of the body of the HTML document. It uses this detected charset to
• build a DOM tree
• convert the bytes from the body of the document into a unicode stream
• search for some unicode string in the body of the document
• convert unicode into bytes data, then some unicode data needs to be sent to the server from which the response
was received.
The original content of the network response is always accessable at response.body attribute. A unicode representation
of the document body can be obtained by calling response.unicode_body():
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x7f7d38af8940>
>>> type(g.response.body)
<type 'str'>
>>> type(g.response.unicode_body())
<type 'unicode'>
>>> g.response.charset
Charset Detection Algorithm
Grab checks multiple sources to find out the real charset of the document’s body. The order of sources (from most
important to less):
• HTML meta tag:
<meta name="http-equiv" content="text/html; charset=cp1251" >
• XML declaration (in case of XML document):
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?>
• Content-Type HTTP header:
Content-Type: text/html; charset=koi8-r
If no source indicates the charset, or if the found charset has an invalid value, then grab falls back to a default of
Setting the charset manually
You can bypass automatic charset detection and specify it manually with charset option.
1.1.15 Cookie Support
By default, Grab automatically handles all cookies it receives from the remote server. Grab remembers all cookies
and sends them back in future requests. That allows you to easily implement scripts that log in to some site and then
do some activity in a member-only area. If you do not want Grab to automatically process cookies, use reuse_cookies
option to disable it.
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Custom Cookies
To send some custom cookies, use the cookies option. The value of that option should be a dict. When you specify
some cookies with cookies option and then fire network request, all specified cookies are bound to the hostname of
the request. If you want more granular control on custom cookies, you can use the grab.cookies cookie manager to
specify a cookie with any attributes you want:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.cookies.set(name='foo', value='bar', domain='', path='/host')
Loading/dumping cookies
To dump current cookies to a file, use grab.cookie.CookieManager.save_to_file().
To load cookies from a file, use grab.cookie.CookieManager.load_from_file().
Permanent file to load/store cookies
With the cookiefile option, you can specify the path to the file that Grab will use to store/load cookies for each request.
Grab will load any cookies from that file before each network request, and after a response is received Grab will save
all cookies to that file.
More details about grab.cookies you can get in api_grab_cookie
1.1.16 Proxy Server Support
Basic Usage
To make Grab send requests through a proxy server, use the proxy option:
If the proxy server requires authentication, use the option_proxy_usrpwd option to specify the username and password:
g.setup(proxy='', proxy_userpwd='root:777')
You can also specify the type of proxy server: “http”, “socks4” or “socks5”. By default, Grab assumes that proxy is
of type “http”:
g.setup(proxy='', proxy_userpwd='root:777', proxy_type='socks5')
You can always see which proxy is used at the moment in g.config[’proxy’]:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.setup(proxy='')
>>> g.config['proxy']
Proxy List Support
Grab supports working with a list of multiple proxies. Use the g.proxylist attribute to get access to the proxy manager.
By default, the proxy manager is created and initialized with an empty proxy list:
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>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.proxylist
<grab.proxy.ProxyList object at 0x2e15b10>
>>> g.proxylist.proxy_list
Proxy List Source
You need to setup the proxy list manager with details of the source that manager will load proxies from. Using
the g.proxylist.set_source method, the first positional argument defines the type of source. Currently, two types are
supported: “file” and “remote”.
Example of loading proxies from local file:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.proxylist.set_source('file', location='/web/proxy.txt')
<grab.proxy.ProxyList object at 0x2e15b10>
>>> g.proxylist.proxy_list
>>> g.proxylist.set_source('file', location='/web/proxy.txt')
>>> g.proxylist.get_next()
>>> g.proxylist.get_next_proxy()
<grab.proxy.Proxy object at 0x2d7c610>
>>> g.proxylist.get_next_proxy().server
>>> g.proxylist.get_next_proxy().address
>>> len(g.proxylist.proxy_list)
And here is how to load proxies from the web:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.proxylist.set_source('remote', url='')
Automatic Proxy Rotation
By default, if you set up any non-empty proxy source, Grab starts rotating through proxies from the proxy list for each
request. You can disable proxy rotation with option_proxy_auto_change option set to False:
>>> from grab import Grab
>>> import logging
>>> logging.basicConfig(level=logging.DEBUG)
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.proxylist.set_source('file', location='/web/proxy.txt')
>>> g.go('')[02] GET via proxy of type http with authoriz
<grab.response.Response object at 0x109d9f0>
>>> g.go('')[03] GET via proxy of type http with authori
<grab.response.Response object at 0x109d9f0>
Now let’s see how Grab works when proxy_auto_change is False:
from grab import Grab
import logging
g = Grab()
g.proxylist.set_source('file', location='/web/proxy.txt')
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>>> g.setup(proxy_auto_change=False)
>>> g.go('')[04] GET
<grab.response.Response object at 0x109de50>
>>> g.change_proxy()
>>> g.go('')[05] GET via proxy of type http with authorization
<grab.response.Response object at 0x109d9f0>
>>> g.go('')[06] GET via proxy of type http with authorization
<grab.response.Response object at 0x109d9f0>
Getting Proxy From Proxy List
Each time you call g.proxylist.get_next_proxy, you get the next proxy from the proxy list. When you receive
the last proxy in the list, you’ll continue receiving proxies from the beginning of the list. You can also use
g.proxylist.get_random_proxy to pick a random proxy from the proxy list.
Automatic Proxy List Reloading
Grab automatically rereads the proxy source each g.proxylist.reload_time seconds. You can set the value of this option
as follows:
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.proxylist.setup(reload_time=3600) # reload proxy list one time per hour
Proxy Accumulating
Be default, Grab overwrites the proxy list each time it reloads the proxy source. You can change that behaviour:
>>> g.proxylist.setup(accumulate_updates=True)
That will setup Grab to append new proxies to existing ones.
1.1.17 Searchng the response body
String search
With the doc.text_search method, you can find out if the response body contains a certain string or not:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.text_search(u'tes')
If you prefer to raise an exception if string was not found, then use the doc.text_assert method:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.text_assert(u'tez')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/home/lorien/web/grab/grab/", line 109, in text_assert
raise DataNotFound(u'Substring not found: %s' % anchor)
grab.error.DataNotFound: Substring not found: tez
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By default, all text search methods operate with unicode; i.e., you should pass unicode arguments to these methods
and these methods will search inside document’s body converted to unicode. There is an option to work with raw
bytes, just pass byte=True to any method:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.text_search(b'tez', byte=True)
Regexp Search
You can search for a regular expression with doc.rex_search method that accepts compiled regexp object or just a text
of regular expression:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.rex_search('<.+?>').group(0)
Method doc.rex_text returns you text contents of .group(1) of the found match object:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.rex_text('<.+?>(.+)<')
Method doc.rex_assert raises DataNotFound exception if no match is found:
>>> g = Grab('<h1>test</h1>')
>>> g.doc.rex_assert('\w{10}')
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/home/lorien/web/grab/grab/", line 189, in rex_assert
self.rex_search(rex, byte=byte)
File "/home/lorien/web/grab/grab/", line 180, in rex_search
raise DataNotFound('Could not find regexp: %s' % regexp)
grab.error.DataNotFound: Could not find regexp: <_sre.SRE_Pattern object at 0x7fa40e97d1f8>
1.1.18 Pycurl Tips
Asynchronous DNS Resolving
Pycurl allows you to drive network requests asynchronously with the multicurl interface. Unfortunately, by default
multicurl do not handle DNS requests asynchronously. Than means that every DNS request blocks other network
activity. You can manage it by building curl from source and configuring it to use the ares library, which knows how
to do asynchronous DNS requests.
First, you need to download curl sources from Then unpack source code and run
the command:
$ ./configure --prefix=/opt/curl --enable-ares
We use a custom prefix because we do not want to mix up our custom curl with the curl lib that could be already
installed in your system. Do not forget to install cares packages before configuring curl with ares:
$ apt-get install libc-ares-dev
If ./configure command has finished successfully, then run:
$ make
$ make install
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Now you have customized the curl library files at /opt/curl/lib.
To let your python script know that you want to use this custom curl lib, use the following feature:
$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/opt/curl/lib" python
You can manually check that you used a curl compiled with ares support:
>>> import pycurl
>>> pycurl.version
'libcurl/7.32.0 OpenSSL/1.0.1e zlib/1.2.7 c-ares/1.10.0 libidn/1.25'
You should see something like “c-ares/1.10.0” if everything was correct.
Supported Protocols
By default, pycurl supports a ton of protocols including SMTP, POP3, SSH, media streams, and FTP. If you do not
need all this crap, you can disable it at the configure stage. Here is example of what you can do:
./configure --without-libssh2 --disable-ipv6 --disable-ldap --disable-ldaps\
--without-librtmp --disable-rtsp --disable-ftp --disable-dict\
--disable-telnet --disable-tftp --disable-pop3 --disable-imap\
--disable-smtp --disable-gopher --without-winssl --without-darwinssl\
To see all available options, just run the command:
./configure --help
Multicurl and SOCKS proxy
This combination just does not work. Use HTTP proxies with multicurl.
1.1.19 Work With Network Response
Response Object
The result of doing a network request via Grab is a Response object.
You get a Response object as a result of calling to g.go, g.request and g.submit methods. You can also access the
response object of a recent network query via the g.response attribute:
>>> from grab import Grab
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x2cff9f0>
>>> g.response
<grab.response.Response object at 0x2cff9f0>
You can find a full list of response attributes in the Response API document. Here are the most important things you
should know:
body original body contents of HTTP response
code HTTP status of response
headers HTTP headers of response
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charset charset of the response
cookies cookies in the response
url the URL of the response document. In case of some automatically processed redirect, the url attribute
contains the final URL.
name_lookup_time time spent to resolve host name
connect_time time spent to connect to remote server
total_time total time spent to complete the request
download_size size of received data
upload_size size of uploaded data except the HTTP headers
Now, a real example:
>>> from grab import Grab
>>> g = Grab()
>>> g.go('')
<grab.response.Response object at 0x1ff99f0>
>>> g.response.body[:100]
'<!DOCTYPE html>\n<html lang="mul" dir="ltr">\n<head>\n<!-- Sysops: Please do not edit the main templ
>>> g.response.code
>>> g.response.headers['Content-Type']
'text/html; charset=utf-8'
>>> g.response.charset
>>> g.response.cookies
<grab.cookie.CookieManager object at 0x1f6b248>
>>> g.response.url
>>> g.response.name_lookup_time
>>> g.response.connect_time
>>> g.response.total_time
>>> g.response.download_size
>>> g.response.upload_size
Now let’s see some useful methods available in the response object:
unicode_body() this method returns the response body converted to unicode
copy() returns a clone of the response object
save(path) saves the response object to the given location
json treats the response content as json-serialized data and de-serializes it into a python object. Actually,
this is not a method, it is a property.
url_details() return the result of calling urlparse.urlsplit with response.url as an argument.
query_param(name) extracts the value of the key argument from the query string of response.url.
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1.2 Grab::Spider User Manual
Grab::Spider is a framework to build well-structured asyncronous web-site crawlers.
1.2.1 What is Grab::Spider?
The Spider is a framework that allow to describe web-site crawler as set of handlers. Each handler handles only one
specific type of web pages crawled on web-site e.g. home page, user profile page, search results page. Each handler
could spawn new requests which will be processed in turn by other handlers.
The Spider process network requests asynchronously. There is only one process that handles all network, business
logic and HTML-processing tasks. Network requests are performed by multicurl library. In short, when you create
new network request it is processed by multicurl and when the response is ready, then the corresponding handler from
your spider classs is called with result of networ request.
Each handler receives two arguments. First argument is a Grab object, that contains all data bout network request and
response. The second argument is Task object. Whenever you need to send network request you create Task object.
Let’s check out simple example. Let’s say we want to go to web-site, read titles of recent news, then for
each title find the image on and save found data to the file.
# coding: utf-8
import urllib
import csv
import logging
from grab.spider import Spider, Task
class ExampleSpider(Spider):
# List of initial tasks
# For each URL in this list the Task object will be created
initial_urls = ['']
def prepare(self):
# Prepare the file handler to save results.
# The method `prepare` is called one time before the
# spider has started working
self.result_file = csv.writer(open('result.txt', 'w'))
# This counter will be used to enumerate found images
# to simplify image file naming
self.result_counter = 0
def task_initial(self, grab, task):
print 'Habrahabr home page'
# This handler for the task named `initial i.e.
# for tasks that have been created from the
# `self.initial_urls` list
# As you see, inside handler you can work with Grab
# in usual way i.e. just if you have done network request
# manually
for elem in'//h1[@class="title"]'
# For each title link create new Task
# with name "habrapost"
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# Pay attention, that we create new tasks
# with yield call. Also you can use `add_task` method:
# self.add_task(Task('habrapost', url=...))
yield Task('habrapost', url=elem.get('href'))
def task_habrapost(self, grab, task):
print 'Habrahabr topic: %s' % task.url
# This handler receives results of tasks we
# created for each topic title found on home page
# First, save URL and title into dictionary
post = {
'url': task.url,
'title': grab.xpath_text('//h1/span[@class="post_title"]'),
# Next, create new network request to search engine to find
# the image related to the title.
# We pass info about the found publication in the arguments to
# the Task object. That allows us to pass information to next
# handler that will be called for found image.
query = urllib.quote_plus(post['title'].encode('utf-8'))
search_url = ''\
'?text=%s&rpt=image' % query
yield Task('image_search', url=search_url, post=post)
def task_image_search(self, grab, task):
print 'Images search result for %s' %['title']
# In this handler we have received result of image search.
# That is not image! This is just a list of found images.
# Now, we take URL of first image and spawn new network
# request to download the image.
# Also we pass the info about pulication, we need it be
# available in next handler.
image_url = grab.xpath_text('//div[@class="b-image"]/a/img/@src')
yield Task('image', url=image_url,
def task_image(self, grab, task):
print 'Image downloaded for %s' %['title']
# OK, this is last handler in our spider.
# We have received the content of image,
# we need to save it.
path = 'images/%s.jpg' % self.result_counter
# Increment image counter
self.result_counter += 1
if __name__ == '__main__':
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# Let's start spider with two network concurrent streams
bot = ExampleSpider(thread_number=2)
In this example, we have considered the simple spider. I hope you have got idea about how it works. See other parts
of Grab::Spider User Manual to get detailed description of spider features.
1.2.2 Task Object
Any Grab::Spider crawler is a set of handlers that process network responses. Each handler can spawn new network
requests or just process/save data. The spider add each new request to task queue and process this task when there
is free network stream. Each task is assigned a name that defines its type. Each type of task are handles by specific
handler. To find the handler the Spider takes name of the task and then looks for task_<name> method.
For example, to handle result of task named “contact_page” we need to define “task_contact_page” method:
self.add_task(Task('contact_page', url=''))
def task_contact_page(self, grab, task):
Constructor of Task Class
Constructor of Task Class accepts multiple arguments. At least you have to specify URL of requested document OR
the configured Grab object. Next, you see examples of different task creation. All three examples do the same:
# Using `url` argument
t = Task('wikipedia', url '')
# Using Grab intance
g = Grab()
t = Task('wikipedia', grab=g)
# Using configured state of Grab instance
g = Grab()
config = g.dump_config()
t = Task('wikipedia', grab_config=config)
Also you can specify these arguments:
priority , , , .
Task Object as Data Storage
If you pass the argument that is unknown then it will be saved in the Task object. That allows you to pass data between
network request/response.
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There is get method that return value of task attribute or None if that attribute have not been defined.
t = Task('bing', url='', disable_cache=True, foo='bar') # == "bar"
t.get('foo') # == "bar"
t.get('asdf') # == None
t.get('asdf', 'qwerty') # == "qwerty"
Cloning Task Object
Sometimes it is usefule to create copy of Task object. For example:
# task.clone()
# TODO: example
Setting Up Initial Tasks
When you call run method of your spider it starts working from initial tasks. There are few ways to setup initial tasks.
You can specify list of URLs in self.initial_urls. For each URl in this list the spider will create Task object with name
class ExampleSpider(Spider):
initial_urls = ['', '']
More flexible way to define initial tasks is to use task_generator method. Its interface is simple, you just have to yield
new Task objects.
There is common use case when you need to process big number of URLs from the file. With task_generator you can
iterate over lines of the file and yield new tasks. That will save memory used by the script because you will not read
whole file into the memory. Spider consumes only portion of tasks from task_generator. When there are free networks
resources the spiders consumes next portion of task. And so on.
class ExampleSpider(Spider):
def task_generator(self):
for line in open('var/urls.txt'):
yield Task('download', url=line.strip())
Explicit Ways to Add New Task
Adding Tasks With add_task method
You can use add_task method anywhere, even before the spider have started working:
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bot = ExampleSpider()
bot.add_task('google', url='')
Yield New Tasks
You can use yield statement to add new tasks in two places. First, in task_generator. Second, in any handler. Using
yield is completely equal to using add_task method. The yielding is just a bit more beautiful:
class ExampleSpider(Spider):
initial_urls = ['']
def task_initial(self, grab, task):
# Google page was fetched
# Now let's download yahoo page
yield Task('yahoo', url='')
def task_yahoo(self, grab, task):
Default Grab Instance
You can control the default config of Grab instances used in spider tasks. Define the create_grab_instance method in
your spider class:
class TestSpider(Spider):
def create_grab_instance(self, **kwargs):
g = super(TestSpider, self).create_grab_instance(**kwargs)
return g
Be aware, that this method allows you to control only those Grab instances that were created automatically. If you
create task with explicit grab instance it will not be affected by create_grab_instance_method:
class TestSpider(Spider):
def create_grab_instance(self, **kwargs):
g = Grab(**kwargs)
return g
def task_generator(self):
g = Grab(url='')
yield Task('page', grab=g)
# The grab instance in the yielded task
# will not be affected by `create_grab_instance` method.
Updating Any Grab Instance
With method update_grab_instance you can update any Grab instance, even those instances that you have passed
explicitly to the Task object. Be aware, that any option configured in this method overwrites the previously configured
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class TestSpider(Spider):
def update_grab_instance(self, grab):
def task_generator(self):
g = Grab(url='', timeout=5)
yield Task('page', grab=g)
# The effective timeout setting will be equal to 20!
1.2.3 Task Queue
Task Priorities
All new tasks are places into task queue. The Spider get tasks from task queue when there are free network streams.
Each task has priority. Lower number means higher priority. Task are processed in the order of their priorities: from
highest to lowest. If you do not specify the priority for the new task then it is assigned automatically. There are two
algorithms of assigning default task priorities:
random random priorities
const same priority for all tasks
By default random priorities are used. You can control the algorithm of default priorities with priority_mode argument:
bot = SomeSpider(priority_mode='const')
Tasks Queue Backends
You can choose the storage for the task queue. By default, Spider uses python PriorityQueue as storage. In other
words, the storage is memory. You can also used redis and mongo backends.
In-memory backend:
bot = SomeSpider()
bot.setup_queue() #
# OR (that is the same)
MongoDB backend:
bot = SomeSpider()
bot.setup_queue(backend='mongo', database='database-name')
All arguments except backend go to MongoDB connection constructor. You can setup database name, host name, port,
authorization arguments and other things.
Redis backend:
bot = SomeSpider()
bot.setup_queue(backend='redis', db=1, port=7777)
1.2.4 Spider Cache
There is cache built in the spider. It could be helpful on development stage. When you need to scrape same documents
for many times to check the results and to fix bugs. Also you can crawl whole web-site, put it into cache and then
work only with cache.
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Keep in mind that if the web-site is large, millions of web pages then working with cache could be slower than working
with live web-site. This is because of limited disk I/O where the cache storage is hosted.
Also keep in mind the the spider cache is very simple:
• it allows to cache only GET requests
• it does not allow to diffirentiate documents with same URL but different cookies/headers
• it does not support max-age and other cache headers
Spider Cache Backends
You can choose what storage to use for the cache. You can use mongodb, mysql and postgresql.
MongoDB example:
bot = ExampleSpider()
bot.setup_cache(backend='mongo', database='some-database')
In this example the spider is configured to use mongodb as cache storage. The name of database is “some-database”.
The name of collection would be “cache”.
All arguments except backend, database and use_compression go to database connection constructor. You can setup
database name, host name, port, authorization arguments and other things.
Example of custom host name and port for mongodb connection:
.. code:: python
bot = SomeSpider() bot.setup_cache(backend=’mongo’, port=7777, host=’mongo.localhost’)
Cache Compression
By defalt cache compression is enabled. That means that all documents placed in the cache are compressed with gzip
libary. Compression decreases the disk space required to store the cache and increases the CPU load (a bit).
1.2.5 Spider Error Handling
Rules of Network Request Handling
• If request is completed succesfully then the corresponding handler is called
• If request is failed due the network error, then the task is submitted back to the task queue
• If the request is completed and the handler is called and failed due to any error inside the handler then the task
processing is aborted. This type of errors is not fatal. The handler error is logged and other requests and handlers
are processed in usual way.
Network Errors
Network error is:
• error occured in process of data transmition to or back from the server e.g. connection aborted, connection
timeout, server does not accep connection and so on
• data transmition has been completed but the HTTP sttus of received document differs from 2XX or from 404
1.2. Grab::Spider User Manual
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Yes, by default documents with 404 status code counts as valid! That makes sense to me :) If that is not you want then
you can configure custom rule to mark status as valid or failed. You have two ways.
First way is to use valid_status argument in Task constructor. With this argument you can only extend the default valid
status. This arguments accepts list of additional valid status codes:
t = Task('example', url='', valid_status=(500, 501, 502))
Second way is to redefine valid_response_code method. In this way you can implement any logic you want. Method
accepts two arguments: status code and task object. Method returns boolean value, True means that the status code is
class SomeSpider(Spider):
def valid_response_code(self, code, task):
return code in (200, 301, 302)
Handling of Failed Tasks
The task failed due to the network error is put back to tas queue. The number of tries is limited to the Spider.network_try_limit and is 10 by default. The try’s number is stored in the Task.network_try_count. If network_try_count reaches the network_try_limit the task is aborted.
When the task is abroted and there is method with name task_<task-name>_fallback then it is called and receives the
failed task as first argument.
Also, it happens that you need to put task back to task queue even it was not failed due to the network error. For
example, the response contains captcha challenge or other invalid data reasoned by the anti-scraping protection. You
can control number of such tries. Max tries number is configured by Spider.task_try_count. The try’s number is stored
in Task.task_try_count. Keep in mind, that you have to increse task_try_count explicitly when you put task back to
task queue.
def task_google(self, grab, task):
if captcha_found(grab):
yield Task('google', url=grab.config['url'],
task_try_count=task.task_try_count + 1)
def task_google_fallback(self, task):
print 'Google is not happy with you IP address'
Manual Processing of Failed Tasks
You can disable default mechanism of processing failed tasks and process failures manually. Use raw=True parameter
in Task contstructor. If the network request would fail then the grab object passed to the handler would contain
information about failure in two attributes: grab.response.error_code and grab.response.error_msg
See example:
class TestSpider(Spider):
def task_generator(self):
yield Task('page', url='', raw=True)
def task_page(self, grab, task):
if grab.response.error_code:
print('Request failed. Reason: %s' % grab.response.error_msg)
print('Request completed. HTTP code: %d' % grab.response.code)
Chapter 1. Table of Contents
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Error Statistics
After spider has completed the work or even in the process of working you can receive the information about number
of completed requests, failed requests, number of specific network errors with method Spider.render_stats.
1.3 API Reference
Using the API Reference you can get an overview of what modules, classes, and methods exist, what they do, what
they return, and what parameters they accept.
1.3.1 Module grab.base
Here is the heart of the library, the Grab class.
class grab.base.Grab(document_body=None, transport=’grab.transport.curl.CurlTransport’, **kwargs)
__init__(document_body=None, transport=’grab.transport.curl.CurlTransport’, **kwargs)
Create Grab instance
Reset all attributes which could be modified during previous request or which is not initialized yet if this
is the new Grab instance.
This methods is automatically called before each network request.
Create clone of Grab instance.
Cloned instance will have the same state: cookies, referrer, response document data
Parameters **kwargs – overrides settings of cloned grab instance
Copy the state of another Grab instance.
Use case: create backup of current state to the cloned instance and then restore the state from it.
Make clone of current config.
Configure grab instance with external config object.
Setting up Grab instance configuration.
go(url, **kwargs)
Go to url
url could be absolute or relative. If relative then t will be
appended to the absolute URL of previous request.
download(url, location, **kwargs)
Fetch document located at url and save to to location.
1.3. API Reference
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Perform network request.
You can specify grab settings in **kwargs. Any keyword argument will be passed to self.config.
Returns: Document objects.
fake_response(*args, **kwargs)
load_proxylist(*args, **kwargs)
Set random proxy from proxylist.
make_url_absolute(url, resolve_base=False)
Make url absolute using previous request url as base url.
Clear all remembered cookies.
load_cookies(*args, **kwargs)
dump_cookies(*args, **kwargs)
setup_with_proxyline(line, proxy_type=’http’)
alias of Grab
1.3.2 Module grab.error
Custom exception classes for Grab.
class grab.error.GrabError
All custom Grab exception should be children of that class.
class grab.error.GrabNetworkError
Raises in case of network error.
class grab.error.GrabTimeoutError
Raises when configured time is outed for the request.
In curl transport it is CURLE_OPERATION_TIMEDOUT (28)
class grab.error.DataNotFound
Raised when it is not possible to find requested data.
class grab.error.GrabMisuseError
Indicates incorrect usage of grab API.
class grab.error.GrabConnectionError
Raised when it is not possible to establish network connection.
In curl transport it is CURLE_COULDNT_CONNECT (7)
class grab.error.GrabAuthError
Raised when remote server denies authentication credentials.
In curl transport it is CURLE_COULDNT_CONNECT (67)
class grab.error.GrabTooManyRedirectsError
Raised when Grab reached max. allowd number of redirects for one request.
class grab.error.GrabDeprecationWarning
Raised when some deprecated feature is used.
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Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
class grab.error.GrabInvalidUrl
Raised when Grab have no idea how to handle the URL or when some error occurred while normalizing URL
e.g. IDN processing.
1.3.3 Module grab.cookie
This module contains some classes to work with cookies.
grab.cookie.create_cookie(name, value, domain, httponly=None, **kwargs)
Creates cookielib.Cookie instance
class grab.cookie.CookieManager(cookiejar=None)
Each Grab instance has cookies attribute that is instance of CookieManager class.
That class contains helpful methods to create, load, save cookies from/to different places.
set(name, value, domain, **kwargs)
Add new cookie or replace existing cookie with same parameters.
• name – name of cookie
• value – value of cookie
• kwargs – extra attributes of cookie
Implements dict interface, allows to get cookie value by its name.
Load cookies from the file.
Content of file should be a JSON-serialized list of dicts.
Dump all cookies to file.
Cookies are dumped as JSON-serialized dict of keys and values.
1.3. API Reference
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Chapter 1. Table of Contents
Indices and tables
• genindex
• modindex
• search
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Chapter 2. Indices and tables
Python Module Index
grab.base, 39
grab.cookie, 41
grab.error, 40
Grab Documentation, Release 0.6
Python Module Index
__getitem__() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
__init__() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
__init__() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
adopt() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
BaseGrab (in module grab.base), 40
change_proxy() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
clear() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
clear_cookies() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
clone() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
CookieManager (class in grab.cookie), 41
create_cookie() (in module grab.cookie), 41
GrabInvalidUrl (class in grab.error), 41
GrabMisuseError (class in grab.error), 40
GrabNetworkError (class in grab.error), 40
GrabTimeoutError (class in grab.error), 40
GrabTooManyRedirectsError (class in grab.error), 40
items() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
load_config() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
load_cookies() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
load_from_file() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method),
load_proxylist() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
make_url_absolute() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
DataNotFound (class in grab.error), 40
download() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
dump_config() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
dump_cookies() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
request() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
reset() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
fake_response() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
get_dict() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
go() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
Grab (class in grab.base), 39
grab.base (module), 39
grab.cookie (module), 41
grab.error (module), 40
GrabAuthError (class in grab.error), 40
GrabConnectionError (class in grab.error), 40
GrabDeprecationWarning (class in grab.error), 40
GrabError (class in grab.error), 40
save_to_file() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
set() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
setup() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
setup_transport() (grab.base.Grab method), 39
setup_with_proxyline() (grab.base.Grab method), 40
update() (grab.cookie.CookieManager method), 41
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