Scraping Craigslist Listings with Scala

Oct 1, 2023 · 4 min read

This article explains how to scrape Craigslist apartment listings using Scala and the play-ws library. We'll go through each part of the code.

First add the dependency to build.sbt:

libraryDependencies += "com.typesafe.play" %% "play-ws" % "2.8.0"

Import play.api.libs.ws:_

import play.api.libs.ws._

Play-ws provides a WSClient for HTTP requests.

Set the URL to scrape:

val url = "<https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/apa>"

Make the request and get the response body:

val response = WS.url(url).get().futureValue
val html = response.body

Parse the HTML using xml.XML.loadString:

val xml = xml.XML.loadString(html)

If you check the source code of Craigslist listings you can see that the listings area code looks something like this…

You can see the code block that generates the listing…

<li class="cl-static-search-result" title="Situated in Sunnyvale!, Recycling Center, 1/BD">
            <a href="https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/apa/d/santa-clara-situated-in-sunnyvale/7666802370.html">
                <div class="title">Situated in Sunnyvale!, Recycling Center, 1/BD</div>

                <div class="details">
                    <div class="price">$2,150</div>
                    <div class="location">
                        sunnyvale
                    </div>
                </div>
            </a>
        </li>

its encapsulated in the cl-static-search-result class. We also need to get the title class div and the price and location class divs to get all the data

Find all listing nodes with xpath:

val listings = xml \\ "//li[contains(@class, 'cl-static-search-result')]"

Loop through listings and extract info:

for (listing <- listings) {

  val title = (listing \\ "div.title").text
  val price = (listing \\ "div.price").text
  val location = (listing \\ "div.location").text

  val link = (listing \\ "a").attr("href").getOrElse("")

  println(s"$title $price $location $link")

}

The full Scala code:

import play.api.libs.ws._

val url = "<https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/apa>"

val response = WS.url(url).get().futureValue
val html = response.body

val xml = xml.XML.loadString(html)

val listings = xml \\ "//li[contains(@class, 'cl-static-search-result')]"

for (listing <- listings) {

  val title = (listing \\ "div.title").text
  val price = (listing \\ "div.price").text
  val location = (listing \\ "div.location").text

  val link = (listing \\ "a").attr("href").getOrElse("")

  println(s"$title $price $location $link")

}

This walks through scraping Craigslist listings in Scala.

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