I have created a monster and this post is about killing it off by scraping the contents of this blog into structured Python objects. Sometime later I will convert the HTML content to markdown and download the images and other resources locally.

I want to put the contents into a ZODB object database to get a feel for working with object database. A greated goal is to migrate the content a new blog engine. I don't want to go into why I felt I need to scrape it or why I want to migrate to another blog engine as it's depressing.

Moving on, I wanted to put the content into these classes

class Post():
    title = ''
    content = ''
    date = ''
    tags = []
    comments = []

class Comment():
    content = ''
    author = ''
    date = ''
    website = ''

The scraping code is not elegant but was quite fun to write as I could write it all from an interactive console session. I found BeautifulSoup was fantastic in making HTML into something that was easy to work with, although I would have liked to have used jQuery/CSS style selectors.

from BeautifulSoup import BeautifulSoup
from datetime import datetime
import urllib2
import re

def ParseComment(soup):
    comment = Comment()
    comment.author = soup.find('p',{"class":"author"}).first().string.strip
    content = soup.find('p',{"class":"content"})
    if content:
        comment.content = content.prettify()

    website = soup.find('p',{"class":"author"}).first()
    if website.has_key('href'):
        comment.website = soup.find('p',{"class":"author"}).first()['href']

    r = re.compile('\d*/\d*/\d* \d*.\d*')
    date = r.findall(soup.find('p',{"class":"date"}).renderContents())[0]
    comment.date = datetime.strptime(date,'%d/%m/%Y %H:%M')
    return comment

def ParsePost(postSoup):
    post = Post()
    post.title = postSoup.find('a',{"class":re.compile('posthead.*')}).string
    post.content = postSoup.find('div', {"class":"entry"})
    date = postSoup.find('div',{"class":"descr"}).contents[0][:-4]
    post.date = datetime.strptime(date,'%B %d, %Y %H:%M')
    post.author = postSoup.find('div',{"class":"descr"}).first().string
    post.tags = map(lambda x: x.string, postSoup('a',{"rel":"tag"}))
    comments = postSoup.find('div',{"id":"commentlist"})('div')
    post.comments = [ParseComment(commentSoup) for commentSoup in comments]
    return post

def DownloadPost(url):
    postHtml = urllib2.urlopen('http://blog.sharpthinking.com.au/' + url).read()
    postSoup = BeautifulSoup(postHtml)
    return ParsePost(postSoup);

def GetPosts():
    page = urllib2.urlopen("http://blog.sharpthinking.com.au/archive.aspx")
    soup = BeautifulSoup(page)
    postUrls = map(lambda x: x['href'], soup('a', href=re.compile('/post/.*')))
    return [DownloadPost(url) for url in postUrls[:-10]]

I'm sure there is better way, but this was better than any way I've used previously. Anyway I've done a lot of work untangling the mess I created.

>>> posts = GetPost()
>>> for post in posts[:5]:
...     print post.date, post.title
...

2010-03-17 22:16:00 OMG. It's a JavaScript Rhino
2010-03-12 13:53:00 Devevenings Presentation - IOC/Unit Testing/Mocking in ASP.NET MVC
2010-02-20 17:18:00 Revisiting Pygments in the browser with Silverlight, now with BackgroundWorker
2010-02-17 19:25:00 Revisiting Modal Binding an Interface, now with DictionaryAdapterFactory
2010-02-16 20:34:00 Modal Binding an Interface with DynamicProxy

I wanted to put the contents into the object database tonight, but I have pickled it to be revisited later.

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