Leveraging next_sibling in BeautifulSoup for Web Scraping

Oct 6, 2023 ยท 2 min read

When scraping web pages, it's common to extract an element, and then want to get the next element following it in the HTML. BeautifulSoup provides an easy way to do this using the .next_sibling attribute.

What is next_sibling?

The .next_sibling attribute returns the next tag immediately following the current tag at the same level of the parse tree.

For example:

<div>
  <p>First paragraph</p>
  <p>Second paragraph</p>
</div>
first_p = soup.find('p')
print(first_p.next_sibling)
# <p>Second paragraph</p>

It returns the next

tag.

Advantages of next_sibling

The main advantages of using .next_sibling are:

  • It clearly expresses intent to get the next element after this one.
  • It avoids complex list slicing or indexing to get the next item.
  • It works across multiple tag types, not just for siblings of the same name.
  • Example Usage

    Some common examples where .next_sibling is useful:

    Get text after a heading:

    h2 = soup.find('h2')
    print(h2.next_sibling.text)
    

    Loop through table rows:

    row = soup.find('tr')
    while row:
      print(row.text)
      row = row.next_sibling
    

    Extract field labels and values:

    label = soup.find('label')
    value = label.next_sibling.text
    

    Handling No Sibling

    If there is no next sibling, .next_sibling returns None:

    last_p = soup.find('p', class='last')
    print(last_p.next_sibling) # None
    

    So check for None to avoid errors if at the end.

    In summary, .next_sibling is a very useful tool for many common web scraping patterns. It pays to understand how to leverage it effectively when extracting related data.

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