BeautifulSoup is a handy Python library for parsing and extracting data from HTML and XML documents. With just a few lines of code, you can grab tables, lists, images, and text from a web page. However, BeautifulSoup has limitations you need to be aware of.
This causes problems when scraping single page apps and sites using frameworks like React or Angular. For example:
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
url = 'https://www.example-spa.com'
resp = requests.get(url)
soup = BeautifulSoup(resp.text, 'html.parser')
Battling Bot Protection with BeautifulSoup Alone
Many sites try to detect and block scraping bots with various bot mitigation techniques. These include:
Dealing with these requires specialized tools like puppeteer, proxies, and custom headers. BeautifulSoup alone cannot bypass most bot protections. You'll need a full-featured scraping framework.
CSS Selectors and Navigation Logic Gets Complex
While BeautifulSoup makes simple scrapes easy, real world sites often require chaining complex CSS selectors, parsing navigation logic, and handling rate limits. This can complicated quickly.
BeautifulSoup doesn't provide tools for managing state or navigation flows. You have to handle everything at the application level. This often leads to messy application code even for small scrapes.
A purpose-built scraping framework handles these complexities for you and keeps your business logic clean. For professional web scraping, consider alternatives like Scrapy, Puppeteer, or Playwright.