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Python Tips for Scrapy Beginners: A Very Basic Example to Start Crawling

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If you’re new to the world of web scraping and not sure where to begin, Scrapy is a great tool to start with. However, as a beginner, it can be overwhelming to start using this powerful Python framework. That’s why we’ve put together some helpful tips to get you started.

In this article, we’ll guide you through a very basic example that will help you learn how to crawl and extract data from a webpage using Scrapy. We’ll give you step-by-step instructions and code examples, making it easy to understand and follow along.

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a strong foundation in Scrapy and will be able to apply your newfound knowledge to other web scraping projects. Whether you’re looking to extract information for research purposes, build a database or create machine learning models from online data, Scrapy is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

If you’re ready to become a Scrapy pro in no time, be sure to read our Python Tips for Scrapy Beginners: A Very Basic Example to Start Crawling article in full. Follow along with the code examples and take your first step on your journey towards mastering the wonderful world of web scraping.

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“Scrapy Very Basic Example” ~ bbaz


Web scraping is a highly useful skill for data analysts and researchers, enabling them to gather valuable information from websites. Scrapy is a Python-based web scraping framework that has gained popularity due to its ease of use and powerful features. However, beginners often struggle with getting started in Scrapy. This article provides a basic example to help beginners understand how to extract data from a website using Scrapy.

The Basics of Scrapy

Scrapy is an open-source framework used for web crawling and data extraction. It works by sending HTTP requests to the website and then extracting structured data from the HTML responses. Scrapy has many built-in features such as handling cookies, form submissions, and managing user sessions. These features make Scrapy a popular choice for web scraping projects.

Setting up Scrapy

Before starting with Scrapy, you need to install it using pip. Once installed, you can create a new Scrapy project from the command line by running scrapy startproject project-name. This command creates a new folder with the default files needed for a Scrapy project.

Crawling a Website

The first step in web scraping using Scrapy is to identify the website or page you want to extract data from. You will need to analyze the structure of the page, including the HTML tags and CSS selectors, to create a proper crawling rule. You can then define the crawling rules in the spider file.

The Spider File

The spider file is where you define the crawling logic. This file contains the code that extracts the data and defines how the spider navigates through the website. The spider file extends the scrapy.Spider class and includes the starting URLs and parsing functions.

Extracting Data

The next step is to extract the data from the website. Scrapy can extract data using xpath selectors or CSS selectors. Xpath selectors are used to navigate the HTML tree and extract specific elements, while CSS selectors match HTML elements by their class or ID.

Using Xpath Selectors

To use xpath selectors, you can define the xpath expressions in your spider file. These expressions specify which parts of the HTML to extract. For example, to extract all links on a webpage, you can use the following xpath expression: //a/@href.

Using CSS Selectors

CSS selectors work similarly to xpath selectors but use a different syntax. To extract data using CSS selectors, you can use the response.css() method in your parsing function. For example, to extract all links on a webpage using a CSS selector, you can use the following code:


Storing Data

Once the data is extracted, you can store it in various formats such as CSV, JSON, or a database. Scrapy provides built-in support for exporting data to these formats, making it easy to integrate with other tools and applications.

Exporting to CSV

To export data to a CSV file, you can use the scrapy.exporters.CsvItemExporter class. This class takes a file object and the field names as input and writes the data in CSV format.

Exporting to JSON

To export data to a JSON file, you can use the scrapy.exporters.JsonItemExporter class. This class works similar to the CsvItemExporter class but writes the data in JSON format instead.

Comparison with Other Tools

Scrapy is not the only web scraping tool available. Other popular tools include Beautiful Soup, Selenium, and Requests. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the right tool depends on the project requirements and the user’s experience level.

Beautiful Soup

Beautiful Soup is a Python library used for parsing HTML and XML documents. Unlike Scrapy, it is not a full-fledged web scraping framework but provides easy-to-use functions for navigating and searching HTML trees. Beautiful Soup is a good option for simple scraping tasks, while Scrapy is better suited for complex projects.


Selenium is a web testing framework used for automating web applications. It can be used for web scraping by automating a web browser to navigate through the website and extract data. Selenium is a good option for scraping websites that heavily rely on JavaScript or for scraping dynamic content. However, using Selenium can be slower and more resource-intensive compared to Scrapy.


Requests is a Python library used for making HTTP requests. It can be used for scraping by sending HTTP requests to the website and then parsing the responses using BeautifulSoup or other parsing libraries. Requests is a good option for simple scraping tasks, but it lacks some of the advanced features provided by Scrapy such as handling cookies or managing sessions.


Scrapy is a powerful web scraping framework that provides a range of features for crawling and extracting data from websites. This article provided a basic example of how to use Scrapy and covered topics such as setting up Scrapy, defining crawling rules, and extracting data. We also compared Scrapy with other popular web scraping tools and discussed their pros and cons. By following the tips provided in this article, beginners can start their journey towards mastering web scraping using Scrapy.

Thank you for visiting our blog to learn about Python Tips for Scrapy Beginners. We hope that this article has provided you with valuable information on how to start crawling with Scrapy without any prior knowledge of the tool.

Scrapy is a powerful web crawling and data scraping tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re interested in gathering data for research projects, extracting information for your business, or simply honing your programming skills, Scrapy is an excellent tool to add to your toolkit.

If you’re new to Scrapy, don’t be intimidated! While it may seem overwhelming at first, with a bit of practice and patience, you too can become a Scrapy expert. We hope that this basic example has given you a good starting point and encouraged you to continue learning more.

People also ask about Python Tips for Scrapy Beginners: A Very Basic Example to Start Crawling:

  1. What is Scrapy and why is it used?
  2. Scrapy is an open-source web crawling framework that allows you to extract data from websites. It is often used for data mining, information processing, and automated testing.

  3. What are the benefits of using Scrapy?
  4. Scrapy offers several benefits, including:

  • Easy to use and learn
  • Efficient and fast web scraping
  • Allows for easy customization and scaling
  • Supports various data formats
  • What is a basic example of web scraping with Scrapy?
  • A basic example of web scraping with Scrapy would be to extract the title and URL of all the links on a webpage. This can be done by creating a spider and using the XPath selector to locate and extract the relevant data.

  • What are some important tips for Scrapy beginners?
  • Some important tips for Scrapy beginners include:

    • Start with small projects to get familiar with the framework
    • Read the documentation thoroughly
    • Use XPath selectors to locate and extract data
    • Test your code frequently to ensure it is working correctly
  • How can I debug my Scrapy code?
  • You can use the Scrapy shell to test and debug your code. This allows you to quickly test your XPath selectors and see the output of your code before running it in a spider.

  • Is Scrapy compatible with other Python libraries?
  • Yes, Scrapy is compatible with other Python libraries such as BeautifulSoup and Pandas. This allows you to easily manipulate and analyze the data you have extracted using Scrapy.