Grab Data with templatemaker

Posted to Software  |  Nathan Yau

Adrian Holovaty released templatemaker yesterday. Adrian is probably best known as the guy, featured on YouTube, who played the MacGyver theme song. So clearly, he a man a many talents.

Anyways, templatemaker is a Python script to extract data from text, um, HTML. For example, you could pass a review page from a site like Yelp, or several pages, and the script will "learn" the template. Once a template is established, you can extract the stuff that changes (e.g. ratings, restaurant name). Here, in Adrian's words:

You can give templatemaker an arbitrary number of HTML files, and it will create the "template" that was used to create those files. ("Template," in this case, means a string with a number of "holes" in it, where the holes represent the parts of the page that change.) Once you've got the template, you can then give it any HTML file that uses that same template, and it will give you the raw data: "The value for hole 1 is 'July 6, 2007', the value for hole 2 is 'blue'," etc.

It's under the BSD license, so all the more reason to use it. I haven't used it yet, but looking forward to it.

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